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The Portobello Hotel

London, United Kingdom

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PROPERTY FEATURES

The Premises 

After being prepped for a renaissance, the Portobello Hotel appears prim and proper – set in two Victorian townhouses in Notting Hill – but past rock ’n’ roll exploits echo through its colourful, Belle Epoque-aping rooms. Like its boho district, this bolthole asserts its personality in an eccentric manner, with wall-to-wall frescoes, lavish beds and an HR Giger-esque Victorian bath tub that's witnessed many celeb shenanigans. Inspired by the vintage trappings? Acquire your own at Portobello Market just a short stroll away.

The Portobello Hotel

22 Stanley Gardens London, W11 2NGUnited Kingdom

Reception

SMITH EXTRA

Compliments of the House 

A free room upgrade (subject to availability) and a bottle of Green & Spring hand sanitiser

At the Hotel 

CHECK-OUT: 11am. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
The room rate does not include the Continental breakfast (£14.50 a person): a spread of yoghurt, fruit, cheeses, cereals and toast with a pastry.

FACILITIES

Lounge, concierge, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Nespresso coffee machine, minibar, magazines, bottled water, full-size Green & Spring bath products.

PACKING TIPS

A fold-up bag for your market finds, and a willfully idiosyncratic vintage ensemble so you’ll fit in with the locals. If arriving during the Notting Hill Carnival, bring something elaborately feathered and an air-horn.

ALSO

The hotel has a lift to all floors. Staff are very obliging when it comes to requests; in-room spa treatments, personal trainers and more are no problem, and guests can use the nearby Body Works West gym for a reduced fee of £20 a day.
On entering your room snoop around to hunt down the antiques exported from Portobello Market – tin trays, cut-crystal glasses and fabric swatches – then raid your room’s Willy Wonka-esque minibar: Corn Again gourmet popcorn, cranberry and almond nougat, Awfully Posh pork crackling and Moët & Chandon champagne are among the goodies.

Rooms 

The famed Exceptional Room with the gauzily veiled, circular bed (slumbered in by Johnny Depp and Kate Moss) lives up to its name. The Victorian bathing contraption with a steampunk-style rib cage of golden taps and pipes sits amid aesthetically tarnished mirrors; ceilings are gilded and the walls papered with Audubon-style bird illustrations. The huge bay windows overlook the private gardens next door. If the Exceptional Room is booked – as it frequently is – the mural-toting Good Rooms are almost as dramatic.

Food & Drink 

Unforgettable Features 

Only breakfast is served at the hotel. The sitting room comprises of three window-side tables and two sofas. This inviting artwork-clad space with garden views, mismatched chintz upholstery and Persian rugs is a delightful spot to breakfast in. The Continental breakfast is £14.50 a person, and warm à la carte items – full English breakfast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and porridge – are offered for a very reasonable extra charge; a small menu with paninis and snacks is served here throughout the day, too.

Liquid Bliss 

Help yourself to wine, beer and spirits from the grand dresser honesty bar in the sitting room; pour yourself a Portobello Road G&T, choose from a selection of wines, or whip up a L'Hotel or Cowley cocktail (instructions and ingredients are provided for you). Just jot down your tally when you're done (magicking away bottles of champagne to fill your bath tub may be considered a faux pas). Coffee and tea are available throughout the day, too.
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Experience the Extraordinary 

Less stiff-upper-lip than its Chelsea neighbour and home to London’s bougie (and above) bohemians, Notting Hill is much more fascinating than any Richard Curtis film à clef can portray. By turns leafy and lively, this borough of rainbow-hued townhouses and multi-coloured market awnings resists high-street homogenisation; Portobello Market takes place throughout the week (except Sunday), but Saturday from 9am to 7pm is when antique stalls offer weird and wonderful wares. Amble down to 22 Portobello Road to George Orwell’s former abode (yes, the surveillance cameras outside are a myth), dig out vintage treasures at the Retro Home & Clothing Exchange (+44 (0)20 7243 6688) on Pembridge Road or rifle through rare records at Honest Jon’s. See if you can spot Wills and Kate picking up their weekly shop when you visit Kensington Palace and Gardens and then nose around their ancestors’ stately pile. To the east you can procure a pedalo on the Serpentine Lake or take a moment of reflection in the Serpentine Gallery’s annual pavilion. Holland Park, a 15-minute stroll from the hotel is also a fine picnicking spot; make a pit stop at Mr Christian’s in Elgin Crescent to pick up freshly made salads and quiches, charcuterie and divine cakes. Book a room early on to be enviably close to the London Notting Hill Carnival parade route. In August watch feathered headdresses shake to reggae beats and marvel at the riotously coloured, increasingly daring costumes – then after you’ve danced your feet sore, sidestep the crowds and abscond to the serenity of your room.

Transportation 

The Portobello Hotel is a stately Victorian confection in a row of cream-and-white townhouses, surrounded by manicured private gardens. Portobello Market is a two-minute walk from the hotel; Kensington Palace is a 20-minute walk.

Planes 

International hub Heathrow Airport (www.heathrowairport.com) is a 30-minute taxi ride from the hotel; London Gatwick (www.gatwickairport.com) or Stansted (www.stanstedairport.com) are an hour’s drive away.

Trains 

The Gatwick Express (www.gatwickexpress.com) arrives at Victoria, just a short ride on the Circle Line from Notting Hill Gate Tube station; the Heathrow Express (www.heathrowexpress.com) arrives at Paddington, two Tube stops away on the Circle or District line. Notting Hill Gate, Ladbroke Grove and Holland Park Tube stations are all within 10 minutes' walk from the hotel.

Automobiles 

A (fairly) zippy tube system, plenty of cherry-red buses to hop on and pretty streets for promenading along make a car somewhat redundant, not to mention London’s notoriously frustrating road system. However, the brave do drive in London; if you must, acquire a set of wheels at Heathrow or Gatwick’s Avis car-hire booth. Q Park on Queensway (www.q-park.co.uk) is just a 15-minute walk away, but 24-hour parking is a pricy £26 a day.

Location

22 Stanley Gardens London, W11 2NGUnited Kingdom

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