Your Key to the City – Alixandra Mellor – Fitzrovia
September 6, 2017
YOUR KEY TO LONDON
ALIXANDRA’S FAVOURITE LOCAL RESTAURANTS:
It is always nice to be able to recommend a restaurant that my guests can easily walk to. London is a busy city and by the time most people eat dinner they are exhausted and don’t want to be trekking around the city searching for their restaurant. My favourite restaurants within a 10 minute walk from Charlotte Street are below.
SOCIAL EATING HOUSE
58 Poland Street
I highly recommend all of Jason Atherton’s restaurants, but this is my favourite. The location on Poland Street is not only home to the stand out restaurant, but to the hidden bar upstairs, The Blind Pig. Perfect for both lunch and dinner or just cocktails and snacks, Social Eating House is the place to go!
22 Charlotte Street
Charlotte Street is somewhat of a hidden treasure in London, not a lot of people realise how many wonderful restaurants it is home to. One of my favourites is The Ninth, the latest venture from renowned chef Jun Tanaka. The flavours, the presentation, the atmosphere, it ticks all the boxes. Going along with the popular concept of small sharing plates, you can order several dishes for the table which allow you to try more than just a starter and main course each. You need to try this restaurant, and order one of everything, you won’t be disappointed.
16 Neal’s Yard
From the team behind The Palomar is the no tables, no reservations, The Barbary. The goat goulash is to die for, scratch that, the whole menu is to die for. As long as you don’t mind waiting for the next stool to become available, this is a must visit. It is more than just food; it is the experience of sitting at the counter while the chef’s work just inches away and chatting with your neighbours, finding out what they are eating so you can order it too.
THE RED FORT
77 Dean Street
The Red Fort is an elegant haven in the midst of rowdy Soho. From the poppadum’s with chutney to the mango dessert, every bite is a burst of spices perfectly balanced with each other. Perfect for pre-theatre, a date or a business dinner, this is a friendly welcoming Indian restaurant that is also home to a funky cocktail bar downstairs.
37 Charlotte Street
While there are other locations in London, the flagship restaurant on Charlotte Street is my personal favourite. Encased in floor to ceiling windows with the Robata grill in the middle it is not only a stunning venue, but the food is outstanding. This location is also home to the Shochu Lounge which is the dark and trendy basement bar. There is nothing better than sitting at the Robata counter watching the chef’s at work while you enjoy a cocktail, just make sure to book in advance!
CHARLOTTE STREET HOTEL
A BOUTIQUE HOTEL INSPIRED BY BLOOMSBURY’S ARTISTIC PAST
Charlotte Street Hotel is situated in Bloomsbury in a building which was previously a dental warehouse. It was transformed by Firmdale Hotels over an eighteen month period with every aspect of the hotel’s interior design being completed by Kit Kemp. The hotel comprises 52 individually designed bedrooms and suites, a spacious lobby, two drawing rooms, a bar & brasserie, three private meeting & dining rooms, a gym and private state-of-the-art screening room.
Firmdale Hotels is privately owned by husband and wife Tim and Kit Kemp and comprises eight award winning luxury properties in central London and two in New York. They include The Soho Hotel, Ham Yard Hotel, Charlotte Street Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel and Haymarket Hotel in London’s West End, Dorset Square Hotel in Marylebone, Knightsbridge Hotel near Harrods, Number Sixteen in South Kensington and Crosby Street Hotel in New York’s SoHo. The latest hotel to open was The Whitby, New York in early 2017.
KIT KEMP – DESIGN FOR CHARLOTTE STREET HOTEL
Making specific reference to the Bloomsbury Group, Kit Kemp has designed the interior for the hotel, introducing quality British contemporary art and design. There are pieces of hand painted furniture specially designed for the hotel and a collection of original art by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry and Henry Lamb. The wallpaper used in Oscar has also been printed with details from a Hogarth press woodprint.
Comfort is always key in a Firmdale bedroom – large, elegant headboards in exciting prints provide a great contrast to beds dressed in crisp white linen, teamed with full-length curtains, some shutters, sofas, chairs and rugs in a mélange of colour and pattern. Keen attention to detail makes each room a pleasure to stay in – “I always try to make it comfortable to watch the television from the bed or a comfortable chair, there is always a good reading light by a comfortable chair, a really good desk that you can work at and plug in what you need to, and an end of bed footstool to put on your shoes. I want people to feel good when they stay with us.”
The art collection is a main feature in this hotel and nowhere is it more present than in the lobby which is home to a bronze sculpture by Botero and two abstract landscapes by Welsh painter Roger Cecil. In the drawing room there is a beautiful still life of flowers by Roger Fry, Henry Lamb line drawings and a charmingly child-like flower painting by Winifred Nicholson. The murals painted in the style of 1916 frescoes entitled “Scenes of Contemporary London Life” by Roger Fry and his Omega Workshop. Kit has taken this idea and commissioned a work with the scenes of 21st century London as inspiration.
The Bloomsbury theme is carried into the bedrooms which are all decorated in a different style each with its own special piece of Bloomsbury artwork or hand-made furniture. Antique furniture sits alongside modern – much of which has been designed by Kit Kemp.
“Oscar” is the hotel’s brasserie and is best known for its lively atmosphere and open plan kitchen. The artist Alexander Hollweg created a modern-day mural for the walls. It’s depicts everyday scenes of modern life, inspired by a photograph of an original mural by Duncan Grant of very elegant ladies coming out of a London Underground station, which Kit Kemp came across in a 1912 issue of Illustrated London News. Details in the mural include the London Eye, people on mobile phones, at the cinema, and Tim Kemp playing chess, all created in the style and colour palette of the Bloomsbury Set.
Each of the 52 bedrooms and suites are individually designed and equipped with facilities expected by today’s modern traveller. These include a CD/DVD player, two line telephone with voice mail, high speed wireless internet access, personal safe and writing desk. Bathrooms are luxuriously designed in granite, mahogany and glass, with walk-in showers, double basins and exclusive bespoke bath products, Rik Rak, created by Kit Kemp.
The top floor is occupied by a vast, stylish and luxurious open plan suite which benefits from views across the London skyline. The spacious bathroom is beautifully designed in granite and oak with an oversize walk-in shower/steam room, 2 basins and flat screen TV. There are three, One Bedroom Suites each with views overlooking Charlotte Street and the London rooftops. Each features a stylish drawing room and separate bedroom with king size bed. The bathrooms are beautifully designed in granite and oak with double basins, an oversized walk-in shower/steam room and flat screen TV.
Charlotte Street Hotel has several impressive private event rooms. There is a 67 seat state of- the-art screening room which has been designed to the highest professional standard. It is beautifully styled with red leather seats and pinstripe grey flannel walls. Two individually designed private rooms are adjacent. They are flexible in their format and can easily be transformed from a luxurious drawing room, to a corporate boardroom or sumptuous private dining room. There is another private room situated on the hotel’s ground floor. It is light and bright with windows and doors opening onto Charlotte Street.
Alixandra Mellor – Head Concierge
I grew up in Northern Canada and moved to London in 2007 when I was 23 to work as a Receptionist at the InterContinental Park Lane. I quickly realised that I was spending far more time at the Concierge desk than Reception, so I was transferred into the role of Concierge Coordinator in 2008. I have worked at some amazing hotels such as The Berkeley, The Marylebone, and was the first female concierge at The Lanesborough. I was Assistant Head Concierge at Charlotte Street for 3.5 years and have recently been promoted to Head Concierge. I joined the Golden Keys in 2014 and quickly became Committee Assistant. In 2016 I took over the Associate Liaison Officer role, moving onto Associate Recruitment Officer in 2017 which is the position I currently hold. My favourite thing about London is the food; I am a huge foodie and will try just about anything once. I am also a theatre lover and try to see as many shows as I can, quite often seeing my favourites more than once. London is somewhere everyone needs to visit at least once, it is vibrant and fun, with a British charm, I have been here ten years now and still experience new things on a daily basis.