CHECKING IN: THE HALKIN
The Halkin hotel opened back in 1991 and was pretty much the first luxury boutique hotel in London. It also has the honour of being the first COMO Hotels property, a group which has now spread all over the world, from Bali to Bangkok and Miami to the Maldives.
The Halkin certainly has a quiet confidence about it, the kind that comes from being first. Located in an old Georgian townhouse in Belgravia, the property is as discreet as they come and you could easily walk past without noticing. The Halkin describes itself as a ‘home from home’, an often overused and inaccurate phrase, but here it genuinely does feel very homely, and a very luxurious one at that.
There are only 41 rooms, of a very good size for London, all decked out in a warm and stylish but not over-the-top way. Our room had lots of dark wood panels, soft lighting, a separate lounge area and the kind of huge comfy bed that is hard to get out of once you’re in. Indeed, much of the next morning was spent here, with room service breakfast, the papers, and Sunday Brunch on the giant flat screen TV on the opposite wall. We’re not ones to laze around ALL day though – the TV also had video yoga sessions and the hotel provides mats in every room, so we were soon stretching and downward dogging away. To cool down, the marble-covered en suite bathroom has everything you need, including a big deep bath and separate shower fully stocked with Como Shambhala products.
The Halkin’s restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak instruction, has an un-flashy elegance about it too. A sister restaurant to the three Michelin-star Arzak in San Sebastian, the restaurant got its own Michelin-star in 2014. We got stuck in to the tasting menu and loved the modern New Basque dishes, from the ham ‘test tubes’ starter to the beef fillet with green tomato, and Yellow Brick Road dessert, which leads you to a glass-domed sorbet and pistachio crumble via a golden path on the plate.
The Halkin has understated charm and luxury in spades – if we didn’t already live here, we’d be happy to make The Halkin our London home from home.
5-6 Halkin St, London, SW1X 7DJ