Pimlico Road. Pimlico. Pimlico? Why do I think I know this name before even being there? Note to self: Google this later.
After a brief 90-minute flight from Copenhagen, this designer is looking forward to a bit of luxury and serenity in this boutique Belgravia hotel called the Orange. Having not read or heard anything about this stylish stay before, I wonder what the name is inspired from, hoping it’s not a reference to a pale tangerine wall colour and Georgian-style interiors. I am thinking that a posh London lifestyle retreat in a solidly proper neighbourhood would be ideal…
I have to admit that it sounds good. ‘The Orange’ – it kind of just rolls of the tongue – ‘I’ll be staying at the Orange in London.’ Nice. Now, if it happened to be in Florida the name would suggest a Sunkist-themed resort hotel, heaven forbid one should exist. But at the Orange Public House & Hotel this is stereotypical London pied-à-terre stuff. Truth be told, it is more public house than hotel; the facilities are… well, there are none to my knowledge… unless you count a private dining room, the bars and a patio. But if you want to have a slice of local London luxury and feel like the owner of your own pub, then you’ll be right at home at the Orange. And you could easily go an entire day without ever going more than a few metres from the building: lounging in one of the hotel’s pleasingly simple but thoughtfully finished bedrooms, dining in the gastropub or restaurant, whiling away some time on a bench in Orange Square.
Our room is one of only four that are simply appointed with cottage-like attire, borderline restoration hardware with soft hues of earth tones, whitewash woods, a great bed and clean and stylish Carrera marble bathroom. Vaulted ceilings had us feeling as though we’re staying at an inn on a romantic roadtrip rather than a fleeting work visit to London.
Check-in is a challenge but kind of fun. Don’t expect a concierge or reception; instead bustling waiters direct you to the upper-floor bar where someone will greet you. Not your typical experience but if you don’t mind lugging your bags through a packed bistro pub it’s enjoyably unique.
Dinner is booked for 9pm and by the time we walk down the flight of stairs, we hit a packed dining room. The rooms are surprisingly quiet on the inside, away from the clatter of restaurant service. Having worked in and owned restaurants it is a welcome solace to be in the action of a hip resto-pub yet have your oasis just up the stairs. It also makes for some tempting late-night drinking and stumbling upwards…
Our cute Canadian server, only a few months new to the UK, is of course polite and friendly, with eye make-up that would make Vivienne proud, more Shoreditch than this west side of town. It’s funny how Canadians seem to find each other around the world. I travel often and always tend to connect fellow Canadians with each other. It’s like a subtle clan of nice, polite people. We fit right in as the crowd is stylish but far from pretentious and you definitely feel ‘in the know’ staying here.
The Scottish salmon tartare is fresh, citrusy and simple with avocado, and the pizza holds its own with a crispy crust. Beef cheeks steal the show and are braised, rich and creamy, while the lamb with artichokes is creative and perfectly cooked with an awesome mint sauce. It’s a late night, early in the week so our bottle of malbec takes into the evening and we close the second-floor dining room. Good thing our total commute time from table to bed is about 12 steps, taking a sum total of 15 seconds.
The central London location is great with a quick two-minute walk to Sloane Square: and if the sun is shining you’ll be sure to spot a few Sloanies pushing baby carriages. One of my favorite streets in London, the King’s Road starts at the square and meanders west with great shopping. I highly recommend stopping into one of my favorite haunts: the shop and café at Bluebird at 350 King’s Road. Its courtyard is a great place to start the day before heading off to wander SW1. And of course Tate Britain and its collection of British art from centuries past until today is a worthy diversion.
On the corner of one of London’s leafiest, shadiest squares, the Orange occupies a prime spot in Belgravia for dining adventures, museum exploration or some serious shopping. A quaint find amid London’s mayhem, the Orange has a simple and romantic local feel to it that allows one to seamlessly blend in with the capital. Our only advice? Maybe bring earplugs and your own umbrella. Well, this is London. Oh. And why was Pimlico ringing bells for me? No, no, not because Sir Winston Churchill lived around here in Eccleston Square, a stroll from the Houses of Parliament. Google’s reminder to this horseracing fan: Pimlico is the racetrack in Baltimore that hosts the Preakness. Relevance? None. But who doesn’t like a random factoid? My money’s on Churchill having approved of this nugget of trivia.