Oh winter, you soul-destroying beast of a season. When storms are raging outside there’s really only one thing to do. Well actually there’s two; jet off to the Caribbean and wave goody to a soggy English winter or - if, like me, your budget won’t permit the former - hibernate. While I love getting cosy at home as much as the next person, nothing beats an indulgent night at a hotel, closing the world out, battening down the hatches, calling up room service and having a bit of a pamper. I think I might have just found the perfect London hotel in which to do just that…
Nestled in the heart of Belgravia, amid sweeping terraces and stucco mansions, The Hari relaunched at the end of August (you may remember its former incarnation as Belgraves). Despite its slick and modern design it manages to feel welcomingly cosy the moment you step through the door, with a lobby littered with enticing sofas and a glass fireplace. With 85 rooms this independent hotel feels compact and refined, despite taking up most of a city block.
The Rooms at The Hari
After a stressful week at work, checking in on a Friday evening was a dream come true. I headed straight upstairs to the room, the utterly dreamy King Studio Suite; from the moment we met, it was love. From the perfectly sized curl-up-with-a-book velvet sofa, which fit snugly into the bay window, to the Nespresso machine ready for the morning, the pile of glossy magazines begging to be read and the fresh robes and slippers laid out for us, it was a room that screamed hibernation in every one of its 44 square metres.
The bar at The Hari
We did, however, first manage to nip down to the bar for a cocktail or two; I heartily recommend The Lady Is Not For Turning, with Bulleit bourbon, rosemary, lime juice and egg white. No big, brash, ballsy hotel bar here - the vibe is relaxed, refined, refreshing - think armchairs and sofas, bookshelves around every corner and soft lighting. Everything about this place screams chill time. We settled in one of the velvet-lined booths next to the bar and savoured our drinks, accompanied by some rather tasty onion rings and crispy squid before heading back upstairs to make the most of the night of R&R, though there’s also a rather lovely looking garden terrace open should a nightcap under the stars be more your thing.
I always find it’s the little touches that truly make an experience and The Hari was no exception; bikes are available for guests who want to explore the local area, each room comes with a pre-programmed mobile device, packed with things to do, places to see and local recommendations and in an adorable finishing touch, a lucky penny was left on the bed. Everything about the rooms and the hotel’s offering has been well thought through to ensure a truly memorable experience.
For me, it was the bathroom that sealed the deal. Coming from a rented flat with a slightly minging tub, the sheer indulgence of having a bubble bath in a spacious marble tub, set in a bay window overlooking the rooftops of Belgravia was worth its weight in gold; what a showstopper of a tub. Bubble bath complete, robe on, Veuve Cliquot popped, I settled down to watch Graham Norton with a face mask on - even though the rain was lashing at the windows, such a star of a suite made the outside world disappear.
Of course, no hotel stay is complete without breakfast and if there’s the option for breakfast in bed, who am I to resist? We ordered the night before, hung it on the door and hey presto - at 9.30 there was a knock at the door with a tray of eggs, coffee and juice (though I must say I was tempted by the peanut butter and jelly French toast with strawberries and cream…). Nothing beats a lazy breakfast with a spot of Saturday Kitchen - the absolutely perfect start to the weekend.
London has a lot of hotels, granted, but few have what The Hari does; it really does feel like a home from home. Quiet, elegant and polished, it’s almost anonymous - in a good way - a far cry from some of what this city has to offer. If you’re in for a cosy winter night somewhere, make it the top of your list.
The Hari London
20 Chesham Place
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