With its striking and enchanting floral façade, you could be forgiven for thinking you were stepping inside a florist not one of London’s trendiest boutique hotels.
The Henrietta Hotel is an 18 room hotel in London’s Theatreland and what it might lack in size more than makes up for in character and elegance. Part of The Experimental Group, one of France’s hippest brands to hit the hospitality scene, The Henrietta Hotel oozes sex appeal with its clean slick lines and an abundance of quirky character. Designed by the same talented interior designer who’s designed many of the Experimental Group hotels and bars, the similarities are unmistakable. Dorothée Meilichzon is a true visionary in the world of hospitality design and her familiar touches are firmly stamped on the Henrietta Hotel.
The Henrietta Hotel is perfectly located in the middle of London’s vibrant Theatreland just minutes from Covent Garden Piazza. Normally a fairly quiet side street, Henrietta Street is now vibrant and full of life as many restaurants take advantage of the space afforded to them since the pedestrianisaton of this quintessential London Street. Al fresco dining is now the scene and that includes the Henrietta Hotel who have a fair amount of outdoor seating; the perfect place to while away an afternoon. It’s all about being Covid safe with the pandemic sweeping its way around London and the rest of the country and world. With that in mind, the seating is a safe two meters apart both inside and outside the hotel.
A Brief History
The Henrietta Hotel is a former townhouse. The street itself was for many decades occupied by tradesmen and later members of the nobility. Did you know that Jane Austin’s brother lived at number 10 Henrietta Street, the esteemed author visited her brother several times here. By the 1870’s the street was mainly home to publishers including Williams & Norgate who occupied the site of the hotel at Number 14. Later from the late 1920’s, it was home to publisher Victor Gollancz who welcomed many notable authors including Daphne du Maurier through its grand front door.
The Henrietta retains many of its original Victorian features as do many of the establishments on the street, but it’s been transformed into a swish boutique hotel with stylish retro touches and French elegance thanks to designer Dorothée Meilichzon. There is private area located on the mezzanine level above the hotel’s bistro which has its own bar, media facilities and a stunning glass roof top. It’s the perfect place for a party or event. The Experimental Group are known for their hip, trendy and vibrant bars and the Henrietta is no exception.
Three childhood friends from France with a big dream have created a range of ultra cool and chic boutique hotels and bars not just in Paris and London but Venice, New York and a stylish chalet retreat in Verbier. I’m pretty sure this talented threesome will be adding to their portfolio. The hotel will welcome a new restaurant soon saying goodbye to their casual bistro and its place, a stylish Italian eaterie called Da Henrietta; its opening coinciding with the end of lockdown restrictions. It will be run by Italian Supper Club founders Silvio Pezzana and Toto Dell’Aringa. It promises to take you on a journey along the Italian West Coast with a menu inspired by “the rich cuisine of Liguria, Toscana, Lazio, Basilicata, Campania and Calabria” – I’m definitely looking forward to dining here on my next visit to the Henrietta Hotel.
Though the hotel is small with only 18 rooms, I think that just adds to its charm. We chose to stay in the executive Henrietta Room but there are rooms in the standard category like the Covent Garden rooms while the Grand Covent Garden rooms occupy the deluxe. With only one, the hotel’s crowning glory is the incredibly special Grand London Eye Suite with panoramic views over London’s roof tops and the London Eye.
There is no doubt that you’re in a hotel designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, it’s evident the moment you step inside the Henrietta. There are the same subtle touches familiar in everything that she has designed whether it’s hotels, restaurants or wine bars. Urban chic is how I would describe not just the Henrietta Hotel but the Experimental Group as a whole.
Entering our beautiful room, we’re taken back to the Hotel des Grands Boulevards in Paris, the similarities are endless but also quite different and that’s a skill to achieve. Going back to the Hotel des Grands Boulevards is on my priority list because it’s just the most charming boutique hotel in one of Paris’ most elegant districts. Our room had a beautiful calm, warm and romantic feel which was very much helped by the relaxing mellow jazz on the radio set to Smooth Chill. This is surely the best way to welcome guests!
The Henrietta Room is playful and fun, full of character and style with retro touches and colours. There are the same subtle sexy curves that are unique to Dorothée’s designs evident in the sleek curve of the headboard, the archway leading to the bathroom, the shape of the doors and curves of the light fittings which are super stylish and contemporary in burnished gold.
The headboard is oh so 1970’s, very distinct with what seems to be three headboards blending effortlessly into one. There are hues of pastel green, creamy grey and baby pink including the bathroom and a plush sky-blue velvet sofa at the foot of the bed.
The bed itself is clothed in crisp white cotton sheets with large light-as-feather pillows like little puffs of clouds; I know we’re going to have a very restful sleep in the evening. The sleek mahogany desk has that all-important tech we just can’t live without such as USB ports, local and international sockets and they’re all discreetly placed below the desk, how clever is that.
A stunning retro radio and telephone just like at the Grands Boulevards sits on the table and of course, the highly recommended Experimental Cocktail Club recipe books which you can buy. I particularly love the cute pencil and writing pad embossed with the hotel logo and there’s a complimentary half bottle of red wine waiting for us.
The bathroom is enormous, much larger than many hotel bathrooms with even more vintage touches.
The huge luxurious bath is finished in elegant marble with white diamond-style design tiles however for me, the floor is most definitely the feature of the bathroom in striking geometric monochrome ceramic tiles.
What I love so much about this hotel brand are the bath products which come in a cute fabric bag and if that’s not enough, high-end toiletries in a mini glass cloche including Ren bath oil, body lotion, shower gel and mouthwash. Of course, there are his and hers fluffy soft bath robes and slippers.
The room has all the amenities you’d expect such as a luggage rack, hairdryer, safe, high speed internet and a really cool Nespresso coffee machine plus tea making facilities.
There’s a fully stocked mini bar with an inviting selection of drinks which I found very tempting but decided to hold off until later. Dry cleaning and laundry facilities are available, and the hotel has a concierge and airport transfers; everything you need to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Adaptors and chargers are available on request just in case you forget to bring some with you, what more could you possibly want in a hotel room.
Rather than eat at the hotel’s bistro, we instead made reservations at Frenchie Covent Garden which happens to be, very conveniently placed next door to the hotel. It’s a restaurant that I’ve long wanted to visit having eaten at their sister branch in Paris. Before that, I made the most of my special birthday stay relaxing to the soothing tones of jazz music with a rich aromatic coffee and later before dinner, delicious cocktails at the Experimental Bar.
The tasting menu at Frenchie Covent Garden is available for £80 per person (menus are seasonal) add £60 for wine pairing. The food was incredible and the service friendly and attentive without being overbearing. We were very well looked after by everyone, Frenchie is a restaurant I thoroughly recommend both here and in Paris.
There would normally be a hot and cold breakfast buffet however because of the pandemic and for safety reasons, this part of the hotel was closed. Instead, we were offered croissants and other pastries with jam, tea, coffee and juice and something I have so far not seen in a hotel breakfast; chia “pudding”. Chia are nutritious tiny black unprocessed grains similar looking to poppy seeds but rather ingeniously double in size when mixed with liquid. I like to prepare mine the night before by soaking them in almond or coconut milk and serving the next day with granola and fruit.
Our coconut chia breakfast was served in pretty glazed stoneware pots and came with a side of wholesome nutty granola. My husband wasn’t a fan, but I absolutely loved it, it’s my breakfast staple especially topped with my own homemade granola. I could see that the waiter was little bit embarrassed for the limited breakfast choice but my husband and I both understood that the safety of the hotels’ guests is paramount to the Henrietta and all hotels during this pandemic.
The Henrietta Hotel surpassed my expectations. Having stayed at an Experimental hotel before, I knew we’d be in for a treat and the Henrietta definitely has the same trendy vibe as the Hotel des Grands Boulevards in Paris. Staff are super friendly and hospitable and are available whenever you want for whatever you want. The Experimental Bar and restaurant can be pre-booked, you don’t even have to stay at the hotel if you want to enjoy dinner at their restaurant or have a drink at the bar. The new Italian restaurant opening soon is an exciting addition to the hotel. I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather stay in Covent Garden. It would be an absolute treat especially after a night at the theatre or Opera just 5 minutes walking distance from the hotel. Where better to lay your head and rest your weary feet after exploring Covent Garden than a stay at The Henrietta Hotel.
Rooms start at £305 but discounts are available if booked early and pre-paid.
Our Henrietta Room was a special rate of £290 including breakfast.
The hotel has an extension of a new building with a larger variety of rooms including the new Saint Paul Executive and Junior Suites and an intriguing sounding Superior Floral Room. Please check the website for further information.
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Rooms start at £305 but discounts are available if booked early and pre-paid.
The Henrietta Hotel
14-15 Henrietta Street
London WC2E 8QH
0203 794 5313