Wednesday, 11 May 2011 12:00 AM
In an unassuming Georgian townhouse, behind a plain turquoise door, lies one of London's hippest and newest boutique hotels.
The Zetter Townhouse, located in Clerkenwell, is so different from its sister hotel across the road, it might as well be from another family altogether. While the Zetter Hotel is all about technology and sleek lines, the Zetter Townhouse is something you'd expect your eccentric aunt to live in.
When you enter the cocktail lounge, through the nondescript turquoise door, you feel like you have entered into a Victorian parlour. All the chairs are miss-matched, a stag's head hangs on the wall and two stuffed pheasants sit on top of the dresser. Even the staff look as if they have just stepped out of a Victorian costume drama or a Dickens novel. The bar guys are dressed exactly how I'd imagined the Artful Dodger, from Dickens' Oliver Twist, to look.
The hotel is the brainchild of Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan, who opened the Zetter Hotel in 2004 to high acclaim. Now with their new venture they have teamed up with the award-winning Tony Conigliaro and Camille Hobby Limon, who run the infamous 69 Colebrooke Row cocktail bar. Conigliaro, who is a pioneering drinks-maker, has come up with a menu that harks back to Clerkenwell's Dickensian past – with great cocktails such as the Twinkle (my personal favorite): a champagne-based drink with elderflower cordial.
The owners, Sainsbury and Benyan, are not just passionate about hotels; they are also passionate about table tennis and as so have come up with a games room, which has, of course, a table tennis table inside and are encouraging their guests to have ping pong parties.
They are so passionate about the sport they have even started a table tennis club – the Whiff Waff Club. The club meets on Monday evenings and anyone is welcome to join and the night's winner goes home with a small prize and of course all the glory.
The Zetter Townhouse's 13 rooms are just as eccentric as the cocktail bar, but even with its Victorian influences, Sainsbury and Benyen have not forgotten that we are living in the 21st century.
Rooms come with an iPod dock, free WiFi, a vintage radio, 200 thread-count linen and hot water bottles with hand-knitted covers. My favorite room is the townhouse deluxe with the indulgent marble bath next to the bed. The rooms and bar have all been designed by Russell Sage – who has given the hotel an air of playfulness; you feel like being a little naughty when you enter The Zetter Townhouse.
by Cat Hughes
Rooms start from £185
For more information visit the Zetter Townhouse Hotel website.
Follow us @travelbite