There has been an explosion of hotel openings in London over recent times, but one of the tops additions to the capital has to be Nobu Hotel Portman Square.
This 254-room property makes you feel like a movie star from the moment you step in, with a friendly doorman greeting you, a lofty lobby area, soft lighting and a calming palette of magnolias intermixed with natural woods.
I checked in on a Thursday afternoon alongside a couple of well-dressed chaps from Italy.
My room had been upgraded to a suite on the 9th floor and a friendly staff member helped me up with my bags.
He informed me that the hotel reopened in May after being forced to close after the last lockdown. Currently, half the property has been finished and the other half is set to open before the end of the year.
If you’re familiar with the Nobu brand, you’ll feel right at home with this latest edition of his ever-growing portfolio.
The suites are well-sized given the central location – just a hop and a skip away from Selfridges – with a small living room complete with desk space and mini bar, the main bedroom, a large shower room and a smaller bathroom with a dinky tub.
Other perks of this room category include two small balconies off the living room and bedroom, Grown Alchemist bathroom products, fluffy robes and silky kimono-style robes if you feel like embracing the Japanese theme.
After settling into my room, taking a bath and doing a bit of work via the easy-to-connect wifi, I ventured downstairs to meet my friend for dinner.
As we walked past the downstairs bar we noticed a fashionista-packed party in full swing and agreed to check it out after our feast.
NOBU PORTMAN SQUARE RESTAURANT
The Nobu Hotel Portman Square restaurant is quite intimidating when it comes to space, with the canteen-style dining room able to seat 192 chopstick-wielding guests.
We took a pew on a corner couch table, which served up a full view of the open plan kitchen and the bar.
This spot has a more vibrant feel than some of the other Nobu locations I’ve visited with funky beats playing causing some diners to dance.
If you’ve never been to a Nobu outpost, then one of the things I recommend is dipping into the omasake tasting menu.
This takes you on a seven-course voyage through some of the master chef’s most popular dishes. Before we set into the feast, we ordered a couple of drinks from the cocktail menu with the Ayacucho Martini (a complex yet clean mix of Macchu Pisco, clear grape juice, apricot brandy liqueur and bitters) catching our eye.
In true Nobu fashion, the attention to detail at this venue is spot on and our Peruvian-inspired cocktails even came with little coloured pieces of string tied around the bottom of the martini glasses and with three perfectly plump grapes on a cute skewer as a nod to the grape-based pisco liquor.
Once we had whet our whistles, the melt-in-the-mouth dishes started to roll out of the kitchen at a perfectly timed pace.
Our run of dishes ran as follows; Yellowtail Jalapeño, Tuna Tataki with Tosazu, Soft Shell Crab Maki and Tuna Nigiri, Black Cod Miso (of course!), Beef Toban Yaki, Miso Soup and a deliciously moreish Whiskey Cappuccino.
After feeling amply satisfied we ventured back to the downstairs bar, which had a great atmosphere with a DJ spinning the decks and the remnants of a fashion party still in full flow.
Nobu Hotel Portman Square definitely makes for a top post dining afterparty spot and we continued with a few more glasses of Veuve Clicquot champagne back in the suite.
Friends admired the views as we sipped on bubbles and ate the remainder of the mochi balls which had come with the room.
That night I slept like a dream in the soft and spacious bed. The air conditioning in the room was also faultless.
NOBU HOTEL PORTMAN SQUARE – REFORMER PILATES
The next morning I booked into a pilates class to jump-start my batteries. Nobu Hotel Portman Square has an impressive fitness setup, with a spacious gym decked out with the latest Technogym machinery, a few private studios and one outfitted with reformer pilates gear.
There were four of us in the 8:30am class, with a couple of people being regular students. Be prepared for an ab and butt-tastic class with an instructor that won’t take any groans or moans as an excuse.
I came out of the hour-long class feeling pretty beaten up but ready to seize the day.
After zooming back up to my room for a soak in the bath, complete with some Himalayan sea salts from upscale spa brand Mauli Rituals, I ventured downstairs to breakfast.
The breakfast area is just off the main lobby area, with plush velvet seats framing a photogenic central bar.
The morning menu features a nice concise mix of hearty and healthy options, with everything from juice shots to a full fry up on offer.
Still feeling slightly delicate from the night before and in need of a bit of a health-kick, I opted for a fiery ginger shot, a punchy Americano and a bowl of granola and yoghurt which struck the perfect balance of creamy and crunchiness.
Come midday I checked out of the Hotel Nobu Portman Square feeling a little disheartened. You quickly become enveloped in a bubble of luxury and indulgence which makes it hard to prize yourself free.
Lo and behold I was back in the sultry main bar the next night with a friend. The Nobu Hotel Portman Square is a spot to share and enjoy with others, rather like a fine wine that only promises to improve and evolve over time.
I can’t wait to keep dipping into this quaffable blend, with many elements to excite the senses…