Many Britons have found themselves desperately craving a holiday this year. Amid the chaos of travel regulation changes, staycations have found themselves experiencing something of a renaissance. While the first images of staycations that spring to mind might be a whimsy coastal retreat or a caravan escapade fit for the whole family, there’s another type of UK holiday promising entertainment, culture and touch of opulence.
With England’s capital metropolis notably quieter than normal, this year could well be the perfect time to soak up the sights with limited crowds.
The good news is, though there may be less hustle and bustle than usual, the luxury on offer is not suffering a dip.
Particularly not for guests staying at Notting Hill’s Laslett Hotel.
Set across five elegant Ivory Victorian townhouses in one of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods, this boutique hotel provides a perfect mix of swanky living combined with the comforts of home.
Part of Tracy Lowy’s Living Room’s concept, it offers what she describes as “an alternative to London’s traditional hotels”.
From the street, black and white tiled steps leading up to the entryway immediately set this building apart from its neighbours.
Alongside it, a quaint terrace dotted with striped deckchairs typical of the Great British Seaside offering a place for visitors to bask in the sun.
Once inside, the eye-catching aesthetic continues. Chic and stylish, the Laslett takes energy from the local contemporary creative scene and transforms them into an interior which promises photo opportunities at every turn.
From classic orange Penguin books to David Bowie records displayed atop a vintage record player, even the smallest detail is considered. This unique style is thanks to Tom Bartlett, the founder of British architect and design studio Waldo Works.
Along with the design elements of the hotel, the name also lends itself from Noting Hill’s cultural heritage. The Laslett’s namesake, Rhaune Laslett, was the local activist behind Notting Hill Festival – which is now Notting Hill Carnival.
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It seems poignant that our stay at the hotel coincided with the eve of the Festival which was put on hold this summer.
Aside from the eye-catching intricacies of the hotel’s appearance, it is the staff that will next take your attention. Staff at The Laslett provide the elevated service one might expect in a high-end hotel, all the while making you feel as though you’re just one of the gang.
Guest comfort is clearly a priority, but in the age of a global pandemic, safety has not gone amiss either.
However, in true Laslett style, even the details of sanitisation are carefully put together so as to blend in seamlessly with the hotel surroundings.
Hand sanitiser sits in slick bottles beside framed, cursive instructions guiding guests to maintain hand hygiene. And the usual pungent alcoholic scent of sanitizer is masked by a delicate hint of lemongrass. When it comes to rooms, The Laslett is home to 51 bedrooms with five different levels for guests to select from.
These include the ‘Spare Room Single’, ‘Spare Room Double’, ‘Double Bedroom, ‘Master Bedroom Double’, and the room we got to experience the ‘Master Bedroom Suite’.
The selection of rooms makes for a stay which fits all manner of needs – whether you’re looking for an opulent weekend in the city, or, as one guest we met during our stay was, simply spending a few nights between moving into a new home.
Regardless of the room chosen though, The Laslett’s unique concept is prominent throughout.
Home to an exclusive collection of furniture, rooms boast elements designed solely with the hotel in mind.
From bespoke Imo benches for the end of guest beds, bedside tables and lobby sofas crafted by British designers including Pinch, to the ‘Gil’ lighting collection from Simon Day at Nocturne Workshop named after poet and musician Gil Scott Heron.
Rumbling tummies of all tastes can be eased by the “naughty” and “nice” bedside snack and beverage bar. And before snuggling down for a night of rest, a bedside selection of orange Penguin Classics are waiting to transport guests into a much-loved tale.
When visitors aren’t making the most of their bedroom, there are plenty of spots to unwind elsewhere in the hotel.
The lobby itself is described as “more neighbourhood hangout than hotel lobby,” By day eatery The Henderson bar serves not only as a cafe offering up locally made pastries from nearby Sally Clarke and a classic brunch menu, but also as a home office away from home for neighbourhood workers looking for a change of scenery.
A second adjoining space, known as ‘The Library’ offers a similar vibe, decorated with British art and design books, walls of art and pop-up ‘Little Shop of Curiosities’ by West London antique curator Jerome Dodd.
The ambience continues into the night, switching the space into a swanky bar complete with modern beats and dimmed lighting.
The Henderson serves up a modest yet well-rounded menu, some of the highlights of which include a charcuterie and cheese board, as well as a sumptuous Thai Green Curry and a Smoked Tofu Salad on a bed of cooked vegetables.
For those looking for a little extra ritz, there’s a monthly Oyster night on the last Thursday of every month.
The main draw of the evening offering, however, is the cocktail menu.
From traditional classics to libations served up with a Laslett twist, there’s a beverage to suit all tastes. One of the most memorable is a twist on the classic Aperol Spritz.
The Portobello Spritz, a zingy homage to the local landscape, adds a touch of lemon to this favourite summer sip.
The menu also pays homage to the Henderson Bar’s namesake, Russell ‘Russ’ Henderson, who was one of the driving forces behind the colourful Notting Hill carnival.
His portrait sits behind the bar, and the dedicated Henderson’s rum punch has become a house favourite.
Though there is so much to soak in at The Laslett, it continues to place itself as “an unfinished story” – just one part of the narrative of arts and culture that immerse Notting Hill. Guests themselves only serve to further bolster the Grade II buildings longstanding history.
Though a city staycation might not have been the holiday you had in mind, perhaps a stay at The Laslett could well be the opulent escape you need.
Rates begin from £195 per night.
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