I travel a lot but I never go on holiday. This is a balance that I am keen to reset, downtime is so important to reset a frazzled brain. Travel for work is wonderful but it is always work. From first light to when I switch off the lamp at my bedside, I am on. Looking for every photo opportunity, taking notes, looking for that little something different that maybe others don’t see. Every meal is an analysis, for quality, for difference. Every flavour good or bad, is a string of adjectives, a story possibility. Of course I enjoy it, but switching off is a joy and it is all too rare. At times it feels impossible.
I relish small breaks, even if they are just a few hours. Hopping on a train to the coast for the night, even just for the day, can be the refresh that I desire. I love a London staycation but it has been a little while since I did one. London is packed with hotels big and small, boutique and business. My style leans towards contemporary, quirky, boutique, always comfortable, and the food must be good because preferably if I am there for just one night, I don’t want to leave. The luxury of having a little too much wine at dinner and then ambling towards the lift to roll into bed is all part of the perfect staycation. It is high time that I did more. Let’s start with The Zetter.
The Zetter – A Contemporary Eco Friendly Boutique Hotel in Clerkenwell
I have loved the Zetter since it opened in 2004. The decor is gorgeous, contemporary and a little quirky. They care about the environment, The Zetter was designed to be energy efficient, sustainably sourced and environmentally sensitive building materials were used in construction. A Green Team manage this monthly, ensuring standards are maintained and new initiatives are implemented.
The hotel restaurant launched with Bruno Loubet at the helm in 2009. I loved it and went many times. It was a favourite to bring visiting friends when they were in town. The bar along side is relaxed and perfect for a catch up with a friend for a more relaxed night. A good date place too, assuming you have passed the early dates where you are willing to bring them to quiet more romantic places (you know what I mean!).
Staying in a Rooftop Suite at The Zetter
For my staycation I stayed in a Rooftop Suite with a friend. Our plan was to chill, enjoy wine and dinner and wake up feeling as refreshed as possible (wine permitting!). Our room was lovely, very comfortable with lots of lovely details, a well stocked mini bar with good snacks, unlimited still and sparkling water on the house, some interesting books and magazines, and even backgammon. If I had more time I would happily write at that desk for days. The bathroom had a bath, shower and lovely Ren products. I always gauge a hotel by the towel quality and the sheets, both passed muster comfortably here. The jewel in the crown is the enormous terrace. With a table and two chairs, a sofa and two armchairs, and lots of space in between, this was the perfect place for us to start with a glass of wine before dinner.
Food and Wine at The Zetter Club
Dinner was at Club Zetter. Bruno Loubet has moved on and is relocating back to Australia. Steered now by chef Ben Boeynaems, we enjoyed a lovely dinner, highlights of which were the ham, artichoke and egg salad; the beetroot salad with goat’s curd and apple and I loved the Dingley Dell pork chop with crackling. Very good bread and petit fours too, the details are well attended to.
Wine is a selling point here, particularly for me with a very good selection of wine on tap. A terrific crisp Albarino, a perfect match for our starters, moving on to a deeper Cahors for main course. Wine on tap is environmentally friendly and good value for money, always buy some if you see it (ditto box or bag wine: trust me! when the wine is good, and in a box or bag, it is terrific value for money). The quality of the wine is in no way compromised, if anything it is more vibrant. The Zetter also use coravin, a system developed by a surgeon to extract wines gently through a syringe that goes through the cork, but doesn’t require removing it. Thus they can offer a variety of wines by the glass, and some higher end ones.
Breakfast in Bed at The Zetter
Breakfast in bed is always a treat and a must when on staycation. I had the Full English with poached eggs, delicious. Great sausages particularly and a lovely smushy slice of black pudding. My friend enjoyed her florentine.
Two of my friends stayed here with their respective wedding parties the night before their weddings. I can totally see why. The Zetter is a special spot, a gorgeous central hotel with very good food & drink options. Located in Clerkenwell it is also near some of my favourite London restaurants (Morito, St John, The Quality Chop House, The Clove Club and Lyle’s). It is close to Shoreditch and King’s Cross as well as being a short dash from Soho, if that is where your heart lies.
Until next time!
The Zetter, London
With thanks to The Zetter for hosting me. Rooftop Suites at The Zetter are from £290 per night. To book, please call 0207 324 4567, or visit www.thezetter.com. This is based on double occupancy and includes all taxes and fees.