On the day of my stay at The Halkin by COMO, some sporting event (I must confess my ignorance as to which one) had brought traffic to a standstill at Hyde Park Corner and flooded the pavement with tourists and frustrated business people. While the hotel is ideally situated to give easy access to all London’s hustle and bustle, it was a delight to turn into the pretty, tree-lined Halkin Street and find myself in an oasis of calm.
In chic Belgravia, amongst handsome buildings that house embassies and high-end shops, the Georgian façade of The Halkin by COMO fits right in. The red bricks surround a discreet stone entrance, ideal for a small, but perfectly formed, boutique hotel with only 41 rooms. I checked in, admiring the cool simplicity of the lobby and casting curious glances at a wooden screen behind which lay the acclaimed restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. After ascending in the lift, it took me a moment to locate the room. The curving corridor wall was made of black wood and the doors were inset, resulting in an impressive ‘wow factor’ but no clear indication of what was and was not an entrance to a room!
Once inside the room, the high design continued, with a wood-panelled wardrobe and TV unit, soothing cream carpets and matching furniture. The Milan-based architectural studio, Labratorio Associati used blue, slate, russet, sand and aquamarine to convey themes of air, earth, fire, water and sky throughout. Some contemporary design hotels can be a bit bland, but there was enough colour to make the room feel very homely and some little touches to the decoration to give character, like paintings and statuettes.
As well as all the usual features like an iPod dock, flatscreen TV, and well stocked mini-bar (that included a mini bottle of Krug!) there were some nifty design features to make the room even more luxurious, like the sliding recliner on the sofa. Another feature was an independent volume dial in the bathroom, allowing you to adjust the music or television from the main room as it is piped through to the bathroom, whether you want to listen to some music in the bathtub or prepare for your day with the news headlines. The bathroom itself is something to behold, dark marbled surfaces and bright lights over the his and hers sinks, as well as an ample bathtub and separate shower.
The Halkin by COMO is currently offering a package called ‘The Ametsa Experience’, which includes an overnight stay, a welcome drink on arrival, a tasting menu for two at Ametsa with Arzak Instuction and breakfast before a guaranteed late checkout up to 3pm the following day. This conveniently allows you to experience all the best that the hotel has to offer and, after my dining guest, Charlotte, had arrived, we made our way to The Halkin Bar for our welcome drink.
The bar, just off the lobby, is full of opulent purple and gold, but retains a stately air. Our bartender Filip immediately provided us with a cocktail menu that was a combination of classic and creative drinks, then proceeded to give us some recommendations based on our preferences (potent, inventive, not too sweet or too fruity). Charlotte’s choice, a Golden Triangle, drew on the flavours of south-east Asia and was light and refreshing, with the straw cunningly hidden inside a stick of lemongrass. I chose an Old Cuban with champagne and smoky dark rum, with just enough mint to set my tastebuds tingling before we moved to the restaurant, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, for dinner.
Heading back to a bedroom in the same hotel as the restaurant is always a pleasure after a big meal and The Halkin by COMO facilitates this with its culinary package. I can vouch for the fact that this combination leaves nothing to be desired; sinking into soft pillows on big beds after a delicious dinner was sheer heaven and it was all the better to wake up with the promise of breakfast still to come.
We chose to breakfast at Ametsa but you can, of course, have breakfast delivered to your room, as well as the extensive room service menu (from 11am to 11pm) that even includes the tapas menu from the restaurant. My breakfast was a colourful eggs Florentine while Charlotte had French toast; both dishes showing clearly that as much care and attention is paid to food in the morning as at dinner.
The Halkin by COMO is a small hotel, but that means that each guest receives the full attention of the staff, who are able to provide personalised shopping itineraries, arrange car hire or chauffeur services and book travel or theatre tickets, putting the whole of London within easy reach for exploring. Of course, with ‘The Ametsa Experience’ package, there’s really no reason to leave the hotel at all.
The Halkin by COMO
The Ametsa Experience package at The Halkin by COMO, costs from £399 per person, including a night’s accommodation, a cocktail at The Halkin’s bar, a guaranteed dinner reservation on the Tasting Menu at Ametsa by Arzak Instruction, à la carte breakfast the next day and a late check-out (as late as 3pm).