‘You MUST check out the Henrietta!’ is what friends kept staying to me, knowing my penchant for quirkily beautifully boutique hotels.
But with just 18 rooms, booking a place at one of Covent Garden’s hottest spots can prove difficult.
Finally, I nabbed a booking at the Henrietta for a Sunday night and with great anticipation went to check the place out.
Unlike some of my favourite boutique spots in the city, the Henrietta – founded by the same people behind the much-revered Experimental Cocktail Club in collaboration Michelin star chef Ollie Dabbous – boasts a more modern edge. Think a scene from a Wes Anderson movie mixed with a sprinkling of retro chic.
On a Sunday afternoon, I ventured to the discreet Henrietta, just off Covent Garden’s main market square and pushed open the big black glossy door to find the dinky reception desk.
A quick whizz up the elevator to the second floor, took me to my place for the night, room number 8. There are four different categories of room, and number 8 falls in the ‘Henrietta’ category, with the space designed for ‘ultimate relaxation’.
On walking in to the room through the door adorned with a golden pineapple (my favourite fruit) I instantly saw what the buzz was about.
High attention to detail and top finishings kept me busy for quite some while.
A TV disguised as a mirror, a mini bar stocked with obscure, refined spirits, fluffy towel robes, heavy velvet blackout curtains and a large bathroom with a marble tub… I was like a kid in a sweet shop.
On bouncing into the enormous bed, it was difficult to get out given its softness. But eventually I plied myself from the huggable duvet to go and explore outside.
The Henrietta is on the doorstep of some of London’s top attractions, including the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden Market.
I decided to venture a little further to Trafalgar Square to visit the National Portrait Gallery before meeting a friend at one of London’s oldest wine bars, Gordon’s.
After working up quite an appetite I decided to head back to the Henrietta for an early night’s supper at the hotel’s top-rated restaurant.
HENRIETTA BAR AND RESTAURANT
The Henrietta restaurant boasts cosy contemporary interiors and a relaxed atmosphere with top-notch food to boot.
The French-inspired menu – crafted by culinary genius Ollie Dabbous – changes daily and the kitchen is open so diners can watch the chefs in action.
Bagging a corner seat close to the culinary stage, I settled in for what was to be a fine feast.
To start we tucked into a serving of fresh sourdough bread with a divine teardrop of hand-churned butter and creamy olive oil.
For starters, I veered for the first thing that caught my eye – a bowl of smoked eel, served with deliciously warming pear and radish broth.
Meanwhile, my companion went for the fragrant vegetable soup. We rounded things out by sharing a plate of charred mackerel and serving of perfectly pinked onglet, topped with a portion of golden fries. I was also swayed by a side plate of hispi cabbage with rapeseed dressing.
As the place is from the same people behind the Experimental Cocktail Club, expect highly-drinkable libations too.
To help wash our meal down, we opted for a punchy negroni and warming Pisco sour.
Unexpectedly were joined at dinner by a friend who is vegan. Despite there not being anything suitable on the concise menu, the chefs were more than happy to rustle up a tasty salad of tempura and fresh vegetables. They also emerged with a glass of vegan wine. Bonus!
The ambience was perfect, with just a few other diners booked in on the early Sunday evening.
We spent a good couple of hours grazing away, engrossed in conversation before putting in a final order for dessert.
At first we were going to skip sweets, but our friendly waitress twisted our arms with her mouth-watering description of the madeleines. The light and freshly-baked treats came served in a little bucket, with a moreish dollop of Chantilly cream for dunking.
Somehow we found room to squeeze some room for a spot of sweetness.
After dinner we hopped back in the lift to bed.
I indulged in a gin & tonic in the large tub while playing some of my favourite music on the Bluetooth speaker system.
After curling up in my robe and closing the black out velvet curtains, I drifted off to the land of nod.
I had to wake the next morning to catch an early flight from Heathrow. Given the Henrietta’s convenient location by Covent Garden’s Piccadilly Line I merely hopped on the tube following a swift check out.
Unfortunately I missed breakfast. But I’ve heard on the grapevine the Eggs Benedict are meant to be divine.
So, if like me, you find bagging one of the 18 rooms at this sublime spot tricky. The food and drink is well worth checking out in the meantime… If you manage to do both, it’s a double score!
The Henrietta is located at 14 – 15 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QH, London
To make a meal reservation or to book a room visit www.henriettahotel.com for more information.