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Friday 30 March 2012

Sluttery Travels: Hazlitt's, London

Down a side street in Soho, hides a secret. A little old-fashioned townhouse that wants to hide you away and make you forget about outside. Hazlitt's isn't a typical hotel. I walked past it twice (although the second time I was distracted by a cute boy with an even cuter puppy). Hazlitt's might be small with just 13 rooms but it's got everything I want in a hotel - huge beds, history and charm, friendly staff and a well stocked bar. Once you've got the basics right in a nice pile of bricks, I'm all yours.

There's actually no bar to speak of. There's a library, and there's a shelf of booze (that could have benefited from a cocktail shaker and a few nifty bar tools). It's an honestly bar and you scribble down what you drink with your room number and then you curl up by the fire. I promise I was very honest - booze prices throughout the hotel are surprisingly reasonable. Just £3.50 for a beer and £6 for a double. I'm blaming Hazlitt's for my hangover. And the bottle of Talisker 10 hidden at the back of the shelf.

I've never stayed in a suite before. I'm not stupid rich and I'm not a film star doing a press junket. I have no need for suites. But goodness, I like them. I spent a lot of time running about the place just because I could. The bathroom was on a DIFFERENT FLOOR. You could have put 20 people in the bathroom and had a perfectly comfortable, if slightly strange, party.

The rooms are filled with antiques and so carefully decorated. It's not easy to make a dark room backing on a Soho alley fill with light. Yet they do it. That's some snazzy design. I wanted to steal the writing desk (it wouldn't fit in my pocket). It was a gorgeous room with a squishy bed that had I not drunk too much minibar red wine would given me an excellent night's sleep.

I adored Hazlitt's and found seven hiding places so I could live there forever. The downsides for me were small. I'd have loved a few more TV channels. If I'm paying hundreds for a room I should have more than 11 to choose from. (Read: I want to watch America's Next Top model when I'm on holiday and I don't have LivingTV at home). And I want to be able to make a cup of tea. It's the first thing I do when I settle into a hotel room and I hate not having a kettle. One last niggle - breakfast was very lovely, but in no world should a bacon sandwich cost £11.95. Checkout was at 12, though. I do love a late checkout.

All of the rooms at Hazlitt's are beautiful, and prices start at £179 for a double via Mr & Mrs Smith who arrange little extras for their members like a bottle of bubbly on arrival. The Teresa Cornleys suite they very generously put me up in would have set me back a cool £550 so I don't think I'll be popping back every weekend, but it's a gorgeous hotel and there could not be a better location to explore, even if you know London already. If you've got something very special to celebrate, you should celebrate it here.


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