We are usually lucky enough to lean on family goodwill in London, eliminating the need for a hotel when we visit the U.K.’s capital city. Yet on a recent visit—and it being Christmas Eve—there was naturally no room at the family inn. Some internet sleuthing uncovered The Laslett in Notting Hill – a year-old modern boutique hotel, just steps from a tube station and located in a row of imposing townhouses.
Notting Hill brings back a flood of memories whenever I visit. There’s the movie of course, with Notting Hill playing the fetching backdrop to Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts’ shenanigans. It was home to an ex-boyfriend of mine and I spent many a tortured hour pacing the streets here in the mid-90s with Everything But The Girl’s: Missing, the soundtrack running through my head. And of course, it’s the site of the annual carnival, weekly Portobello market, many antique stores and fabulous shopping.
After considering booking through a travel web site, I opted to book directly with the hotel, based on a special offer they were running which included a free black and white print by a photographer whose work is displayed in the hotel rooms, and a lovely bottle of Neal’s Yard bath oil (yes, I am a sucker for a freebie).
The Laslett itself is modest in size, but big in personality with a hip and trendy interior decor. Clean, white and bright—with a wonderful selection of curated artifacts and artwork adorning the wall—the lobby isn’t big, but it’s certainly a place you’ll want to hang out, even if only for breakfast or a quick cocktail. The staff were friendly, happily helped us with our bags, and wore their Christmas antlers with resigned good humor.
Our room was located on the top floor – which meant lower ceilings (these were the servants’ quarters after all, back in the day). I’d recommend asking for a room on a lower floor if you intend to go. But the bathroom was well-appointed and beautifully decorated, and the bed was crisply made, with old Penguin books on hand—should sleep escape you—and a good array of electrical and USB outlets right by the bed.
Paying for breakfast in advance is cheaper, and so we signed up knowing that Christmas morning warranted a bit of a binge (one, which in fact, lasted an entire week). The breakfast was the one dull spot on our shiny stay. The buffet was solid: fresh cheeses and cured meats; cereals, juices and breads. They have a great espresso machine and gladly whipped up a decaf almond milk latte for me. However, the cooked breakfasts weren’t fab, with the poached eggs cooked to solidity and taking a while to arrive. Requests for butter also had to be made several times. The staff seemed stretched a little thin.
No matter, the location is amazing and we were able to start off Christmas morning with a brisk walk/jog to nearby Holland Park – which is a lovely public park – something London is so very good at.
The crying of the peacocks, the peaceful Japanese garden and the lovely old house, were all highly enjoyable. I have recollections of this being an idyllic place to visit in the summer.
Prices for a double room with a king bed start around $250 USD.
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