The Best Boutique Hotels: A PAOLITA Edit

We take you through our favourite boutique hotel visits, from half term retreats to weekend escapes in the city.

From the alluring and seductive The Mandrake in the heart of Fitzrovia to the Countryside retreat offered by Daylesford’s country Cottages, we take you through our edit of boutique hotel stays sure to enlighten your senses and refresh your mind.

The Mandrake

The Mandrake offers an “immersive” experience unlike any other boutique hotel in the city. Named after a plant whose root is reputed to have hallucinogenic qualities it certainly delivers on its alluring and hypnotic feel sure to tantalise your senses. With its intriguing design, breathtaking terrace, Artist In Residence programme, and impressive private Art collection, this is certainly one of the most exciting establishments in the city.

On entering the hotel guests are lulled into a dreamy dark tunnel where they are met by an enthralling installation by Magnhild Kennedy who creates ‘wearable sculptures’ from found materials- ranging anywhere from pearls, plastic trinkets and old teatowels. The installation is a fantastic example of The Mandrake’s exciting Artist in Residence (AiR) programme. The programme, fittingly, explores narratives of dark and light and sets the tone that this is more than just a ‘luxury hotel’, but a creative sanctuary whereby arts and culture are central to the spirit of the hotel; a place where creatives of all backgrounds are encouraged to indulge in an eccentric, enchanting hedonism.

The rest of the hotel boasts an eccentric private art collection curated by Lebanese-born owner Rami Fustock where Salvador Dali, Jeff Koons, Francesco Goya and Thomas Hooper are amongst the many, many artists you will encounter. Though the excitement does not end there. These plush, purplish interiors are contrasted by the breathtaking Jurema Terrace, draped in overflowing jasmine vines, the space leaves one feeling as though they are more likely to be somewhere in Bali than the heart of Fitzrovia.

If the design alone wasn’t enough, the food and drink here is also a win. YOPO chef George Scott-Toft takes english ingredients with a Latin-American twist to create a menu of intelligent, complex flavours with unusual pairings which work exquisitely well. Try everything, there’s not one mediocre dish on this menu.

If you’re just stopping by for a tipple, the dark and twisty Waeksa bar’s ethnobotanical cocktails are equally as enthralling. Bar staff can curate a personalised cocktail according to your tastes as easily as mixing a martini and, of course, all of your classics are met with a twist in which pine kernels and betel nut milk appear. A bonus being the fantastic service that feels both personable and luxe.

To top off your experience why not opt for the vast range of holistic treatments. Expect nothing as mundane as a manicure or massage here, they do things differently. Instead, indulge in their spiritual therapies, which claim to take you “beyond yourself to awaken the soul.”

From, intimate sound healing sessions hosted in the breathtaking penthouse to bespoke shamanic ceremonies and rituals on the Jurema Terrace– there is something for everyone.

Needless to say, from the eccentric design, to the buzzing atmosphere, great food and intuitive spa treatments, once you’ve tried The Mandrake once, you’ll keep being drawn back.

Zetter Townhouse Marylebone

The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone is the second hotel in the Zetter Group’s ‘Townhouse’ boutique hotel family, which is independently owned. On Seymour Street in London’s renowned Marylebone, a beautiful 24-bedroom Georgian townhouse and cocktail club boasts an excellent location.

This delightfully eccentric hotel is brimming with trinkets, curios, and sepia photographs. Like its Clerkenwell sibling, this townhouse has garnered loving enthusiasts for its full-on Victoriana aesthetic and renowned cocktail lounge with delectable classics and its own originals. Interiors exude warmth and cosiness and British opulence, while rooms hide treats like luminescent dressing tables and outside bathtubs.

Driven by passion and elegance, Zetter exudes timeless opulence. Moments away from our New Quebec St store, and a stone throw from Hyde Park, Zetter Townhouse Marylebone makes the ideal choice for a family-friendly city break with excitement surrounding it on every corner.

The Seymour’s Parlour drinks are well-known around the city for being among the most creative and exciting in the capital. The unusual mix of watermelon bourbon, sherry, catnip-infused sweet vermouth, and burnt sugar in Poker Face works beautifully. There’s also a rotating drink of the week, which allows the bartenders to express themselves.
Bao buns loaded with pork belly, truffled sausage rolls, and crisp crudités with bagna cauda are among the satisfying treats on the accompanying short snack menu. Here you may also opt for a substantial afternoon tea.

Nobu Hotel, Portman Square

In 1988, Robert DeNiro dined at Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous Los Angeles restaurant, where he ordered a specific type of Black Cod with Miso. Four years later, the two opened Nobu New York, and their brainchild has maintained a global presence ever since. From a rocky start with the opening date delayed multiple times due to the pandemic, Nobu Portman is officially open and utterly stunning. Championing its signature minimalistic design, the hotel offers exquisite Japanese cuisine, overnight stays in the most soothing of rooms, a traditional spa showcasing an array of bespoke and luxury treatments, and a state-of-the-art Pilates studio for wellness lovers near and far. A bonus that this gorgeous hotel, like Zetter, is moments away from our New Quebec St store, you might even be able to spot us out of your bedroom window…

From the lounge, to the restaurant to the terrace, it’s no secret that Nobu hosts some of the most exquisite sushi in the city.

The tranquil terrace space in the heart of Marylebone, allows guests to enjoy all the ambience of Portman Square whilst sampling Nobu’s world-renowned signature dishes – such as Rock Shrimp Tempura, Miso Black Cod and Yellowtail Sashimi with thinly sliced jalapeño peppers – as well as offerings unique to Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, including locally-inspired dishes and exclusive sakes as well as incredible wines, cocktails and drinks – all alfresco.

Meanwhile the Nobu bar allows a space to sit back and sip in style – enjoy classic cocktails with a local twist in comfort and sheer elegance.

Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons

Set in a 15th-century manor surrounded by countryside, this plush hotel off the A329 road is 11 miles from the city centre and 13 miles from the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Posh rooms with French country-style furnishings offering complimentary breakfast and family-friendly stay.

The Oxfordshire Manor House, built in the 15th century, is a temple of fine dining. Each of its guestrooms are inspired by chef-patron Raymond Blanc’s trav, and all are distinctively themed.

Being the only British restaurant to score 2 Michelin stars for more than three decades, the hotel’s French restaurant headed by chef Raymond Blanc is not one to miss. Expect seasonal dishes and an exquisite menu full of delightful French flavourings in an immaculate setting, with vegetables straight from the grounds.

Perfect for a family getaway, the hotel comes equipped with a cooking school, landscaped gardens (along with gardening courses) and lawn games for the whole family to enjoy.