Inside the Chelsea Townhouse, the new London hotel that looks like it’s stepping into a Henry James novel
Just moments from Sloane Square and Kings Road, The Chelsea Townhouse is a carefully curated celebration of the best that South West London has to offer – so it’s no wonder this brand new opening is the place to be. Vogue magazine The team checked in this week for Vogue World: London. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the city’s busiest new hotel.
Following the launch of The Mayfair Townhouse and 11 Cadogan Gardens, Iconic Luxury Hotels has transformed The Draycott – a long-established, much-loved establishment known for its homemade shortbread and leather-wrapped Wodehouse collection – into The Chelsea Townhouse, which sees history, culture, and SW3 style written writ large across three homes Detached Victorian style apartment connected by hidden passages and secret passages. The cozy attic rooms below the eaves are the kind where you can imagine writing a novel from beginning to end with a Conway Stuart pen, enhanced by glasses of Earl Gray and toast brought to you on a sterling silver tray. Meanwhile, on the ground floor, the suites overlook Cadogan Gardens – a garden so beautiful, you can imagine Henry James’s characters taking in the air on the grass.
What is aesthetic?
London has seen a flood of hotel openings over the past few years, many of them state-of-the-art, yes, but also somewhat soulless. By contrast, the Chelsea Townhouse is the kind of place that can only be found in the British capital; A stay here is less like checking into a hotel, and more like visiting a wealthy friend with a green thumb, a collector’s eye, and a top-notch wine cellar. The decor is classic and refined, with a botanical theme running throughout; In the Berkshire landscapes and portraits of Lady Astor, there are watercolor illustrations of crocuses and lilies, while the rooms are filled with ferns in a nod to Victorian cursing. Gone are the dust ruffles, patterned curtains, and elegant wallpaper at The Draycott, refocusing visitors’ attention on the marble fireplaces, intricate cornices, and antique chandeliers, which refract the light that streams through the oversized windows and French doors.
What’s for dinner?
Instead of a restaurant, meals at The Chelsea Townhouse are served in the downstairs saloon, arriving on the ground floor via a delightfully stupid waiter. Guests are invited to take a crab bake or pear tart anywhere, adding to the upscale house party atmosphere. In the warmer months, you can (and should) have lunch under the shade of London’s Cadogan Gardens and stroll among 300-year-old mulberry trees with a gin and tonic in hand, while you’ll struggle to find a restaurant. A more cozy place to grab a post-prandial meal in winter than the Chelsea Townhouse Library, kept warm by a roaring log fire and lined with books by the likes of Walter Scott and Evelyn Waugh. If you can get away from the hotel, it’s worth heading near Pavilion Road, which is home to 11 Cadogan Garden’s Hans’ Bar & Grill as well as dozens of other restaurants; Ask the Chelsea Townhouse staff, all Zagat tour guides, for their recommendations for SW3 and beyond.
Where to visit
Stand outside the Queen Anne-style facade of The Chelsea Townhouse, and the only noises you can hear are birdsong and the occasional laugh from students at nearby Hill House School, whose alumni include King Charles III. However, you’re within easy reach of Sloane Square and King’s Road here, meaning the likes of the Royal Court and Saatchi Gallery are on your doorstep. If the rooms at The Chelsea Townhouse – individually named after botanists and gardeners such as Humphry Repton and William of Salisbury – interest you, visit the Chelsea Physic Garden, founded by the worshiping Society of London Apothecaries in 1673, to learn more about the ways in which they shaped Neighborhood gardening. Today, the four-acre Physic Garden along the banks of the River Thames is home to more than 5,000 plant species, not to mention a very beautiful place to spend an afternoon.
How to relax:
It’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than stretching out in Cadogan Gardens with a cup of tea, but if you’re after a spa treatment, head to one of the Iconic Luxury Hotels in the English countryside, home to some of the best spas in the kingdom. United. From this month, spa experience days are available at Cliveden House in Berkshire, whose gorgeous outdoor pool is said to be where the Profumo affair began. Read about the property’s history in owner Natalie Livingston’s thoroughly entertaining read, Cliveden’s mistressesthen indulge in a massage with the Cliveden Body Collection, whose scents nod to the home’s previous Grade I-listed scents, including a “refreshing and invigorating blend” of rosehip, evening primrose and calendula inspired by Nancy Astor.
Why go now?
The Chelsea Townhouse is the kind of hotel that is destined to become a place people return to again and again; Get in now while you still can.
(tags for translation) London hotels