The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone is instantly homey, with its chocolate-brown leather seats, wine-hued oriental rugs and open fireplace; decor is an homage to Sir John Soane’s Museum. Bedrooms, too, are richly coloured, and the menu in Seymour’s Parlour is equal parts mouth watering and thirst quenching.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability; a 2pm check-out can be guaranteed for £40. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible subject to availability.
Double rooms from £175.20, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates generally exclude Continental breakfast, which is £15.50.
Your in-room minibar is stuffed with house-made pre-mixed cocktail bottles, a cocktail-shaker set and a selection of locally produced crisps, crackers, nuts, marshmallows and chocolates.
At the hotel
Free WiFi. In rooms: minibar and cocktail-shaker kit, free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making facilities, hot-water bottle with hand-knitted cover, robes and slippers, Ren bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Studio overlooks a quiet mews street and has a palatial carved wooden bed and seriously high ceilings. On the top floor, Lear’s Loft comes complete with a private terrace and alfresco claw-footed bath tub that the exhibitionist in us adores – wicked Uncle Seymour’s influence, perhaps…
Deeply coloured and understatedly elegant pieces to wear and something by Oscar Wilde or DH Lawrence to read.
The orderly architectural collection of friezes, busts and other Grand Tour trinkets are an homage to Sir John Soane’s Museum off Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Keep an eye open for nods to Uncle Seymour’s pet parrot in the decor, too.
The hotel happily accepts children of all ages. There’s a kids’ check-in with in-room balloons, pint-sized robes and books. A cot (free; suitable for under-2s) or an extra bed (also free; suitable for children aged 2–16) can be added to Deluxe Rooms.
Although it’s more of an adult-geared stay, the hotel happily accepts children from the age of one to 12. There’s a special kids’ check-in with in-room balloons, pint-sized robes and books. Travel cots and cribs can be provided for the four years and younger set, and some of the rooms have sofa beds. The hotel also has baby listening monitors to borrow, should you want to nip downstairs for a bite to eat while your tiny Smith is sleeping. Although there’s no dedicated menu, ask nicely and the kitchen can whip up most small-palate favourites.
In-room detection and double-glazed windows conserve electricity, an Eau de Vie filtration system cuts out bottled-water waste and everything that can be is recycled. The hotel aims to stick with locally sourced, organic and seasonal food, too.
Grab a table for two by the window to watch the passers-by, snag a fireplace-frontal sofa to really settle in, or make your way to an alcove seat for side-by-side tête-à-tête.
Casual by day – think jeans, draped shawl cardigans and well-heeled boots – and jazzier by night. Take inspiration from the suspender-clad barmen and go all out vintage, perhaps,or stick to simple designer sleek.
Cockle-warming in the day and swinging in the evening, Seymour’s Parlour is a place in which you could spend some serious time. It's more a cocktail lounge than a restaurant, and the food is designed to go with cocktails; you’ll find mostly light bites, snacks and sharing platters on the menu. Start with the crowd-pleasing courgette crisps and end with the grown-up chocolate fudge. Seymour's Parlour aims to be locavore when possible, and the menu changes seasonally. Take part in the most English of traditions, afternoon tea. Choose between Aunt Wilhelmina's tea with a selection of traditional finger sandwiches, and Uncle Seymour's with more substantial snacks like devilled eggs, sausage rolls and mini croque-monsiuers; both come with scones, jam and clotted cream, and a variety of cakes. Breakfast is also served there; try the lightly spicy potted eggs with baked beans, or the indulgent croissant croque monsieur. The coffee is sweet and smooth and not to be missed.
There's no delineation between bar and restaurant; Seymour's Parlour is all one inviting cocktail lounge. Mixology heavyweights Matt Whiley (The Talented Mr. Fox) and Rich Woods (The Cocktail Guy) dreamed up the bespoke cocktail menu, carefully concocted with ingredients known for their therapeutic benefits, like St John's Wort and Vetiver). Try the Poker Face made with catnip-infused sweet Vermouth, said to relieve anxiety and keep you cool under pressure or, for a more illicit rendezvous, the Aphrodisiac Spritz with sandalwood vodka. Not one of those crowded standing room joints, Seymour’s Parlour is table-service only and in high demand, with tables available in two-hour slots.
Ask for your final Ibble Dibble by 10.15pm on a Sunday, 11.15pm Monday to Wednesday, and by 12.15am Thursday to Saturday. Breakfast is served from 7am (8am on the weekend) to 11am.
The menu from Seymour’s Parlour is available to order to your room 24 hours a day.
The hotel can also arrange transfers, which usually take around 10 minutes from Paddington station; trains arrive there from Cardiff, Reading, Bristol, Bath, Oxford, Exeter and Heathrow Airport .
Driving in London is maddening, slow and will incur a congestion-zone fee, and the hotel has no parking facilities. We wouldn’t recommend driving yourself, especially when taxis are so abundant.
Marble Arch and Bond Street tube stations are each about a five-minute walk.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is wonderfully central and somehow still amazingly peaceful. Oxford Street is only two lanes away and Selfridges' flagship shop is practically on your doorstep; luckily there’s ample wardrobe space in the townhouse’s rooms. Walk a few minutes west and you’ll bump into sprawling Hyde Park. From there, it’s a pleasant stroll to wave to the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The super-central location and excellent transport links mean that all of London is easily accessible, so whether you’re after green space and views from Primrose Hill, tales of Elizabethan history at the Tower of London, or graffiti and trendy baked goods in the East End, nothings more than a half-hour’s journey from your inviting bed.
To brunch like West London champions, make your way to the Providores and Tapa Room. The French toast is stuffed with banana, pecans, grilled smoked streaky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup and the Turkish eggs are served on a bed of whipped yoghurt with hot chilli butter and sourdough toast. For modern European food and wine pairings, head to 28º–50º Wine Workshop & Kitchen on Maddox Street, which also hosts wine-tasting events. The staff at 35 New Cavendish Street, a 10-minute walk away from the hotel, are unflaggingly pleasant; and the brasserie-style menu is extremely tempting. Arrive hungry: fat prawns, still tangy with sea salt, croque monsieur with a scandalous helping of gruyère, and a surprisingly elegant hundred-layer lasagna await.
At La Fromagerie they’re serious about their coffee: they serve Italian Le Piantagioni and the sweeter French Belleville Brûlerie. If tea’s more your speed, try the brews originating from Milly-la-Florêt or Robert Wilson's Sri Lankan estates. Workshop Coffee's Bond Street outpost has green-marble countertops and a rotating signature drink; you can also find their coffees at the Laslett. Fischer’s Viennese café is good for a leisurely kaffee-und-kuchen break; for the best cinnamon buns around, hit up Nordic Bakery. Or if you’re in need of serious mid-shopping sustenance, snag a lunchtime hot-roast sandwich at the Ginger Pig’s first brick-and-mortar spot on Moxton Street.
We’re a little bit enamoured with Pollen Street Social’s cocktail menu, created by Jason Atherton, the man behind Berners Tavern. Test your cocktail-shaking skills with a molecular mixology masterclass at Purl, or simply settle into it speakeasy-styled lounge and sample all the artisitic apertifs you can handle. You’ll need the password to gain entry. For those who like their liquor undiluted, Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop holds guided whisky tasting events.
As we walked into the Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone, we felt like we were stepping back in time (but in the best possible way). Entering via the dimly lit, snug-like cocktail bar at the front of this unassuming Georgian townhouse, we immediately wanted to disregard all modern technology and cosy up on the low sofas, with one of cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro’s wildly imaginative drinks in our hands.
Being so close to bustling Oxford Street, I was dubious that we would be able to get a quiet night’s sleep, but during our stay there were no signs of revellers, clinking glasses or even our fellow guests – bliss. The hotel’s rooms are all impossibly chic, while retaining that old-school British cosiness that, frankly – in a world of pared-back Scandi chic and minimalism – we all want a bit more of: dark-wood antique beds, bold velvet chairs and traditional deep-pile carpets, the rooms are the ultimate in comfort. I was particularly pleased with the ample wardrobe space; my husband with the size of the shower (it’s the simple things that make all the difference).
The bathroom was spacious; the shower had the perfect pressure; the bed felt more expansive than its already generous size, and I never wanted to leave it. If anything, I was slightly disappointed that for what’s billed as a double room, the bed is comprised of two twins smushed together – but this in no way dampened our stay.
With its antique charm and quirky comforts, it's quite hard to believe this hotel is a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. I, for one, was ecstatic to be in such close proximity to Selfridges’ Food Hall, but for a bit of culture, the Wallace Collection is unmissable, housing works from Jan Steen to Rembrandt (favourites of mine). We were astounded that, as Londoners, we hadn’t visited before, but like the Zetter Marylebone, it’s one of London’s hidden gems.
A Continental breakfast is served at the hotel, as well as a decent snack menu (anywhere with Scotch eggs and sausage rolls on its menu is a winner with us), but if you need something more substantial, the Zetter’s location is as good as it gets for restaurants – we enjoyed an excellent roast from gastropub (and fellow Smith stay) the Grazing Goat just around the corner, and tapas plates at Donostia were all delicious – Basque cuisine with a really buzzing atmosphere is a winning combination. Wandering through the hotel, on the way back to our room, we realised it would’ve been criminal not to try one of the infamous cocktails from Seymour's Parlour. The bespoke menu (concocted by star mixologist Tony Conigliaro and super-chef Bruno Loubet), objets d’art and subdued atmosphere make you feel like you’re in a centuries-old private member’s club, and the Kubla Khan cocktails definitely made us feel sleepily content.
There’s something about Marylebone that makes you feel like a local, rather than one of the tourists joining the perennial queue outside Madame Tussauds close by. This part of the city has a village-y quality, and we felt incredibly smug popping to Marylebone High Street for brunch (well, one simply must when there’s a Daylesford café close by, and a pineapple-relish-slathered chorizo burger on offer at the Providores) and a spot of high-end shopping in Matches, Toast, Paul Smith… The usual rabble. It’s all just five minutes’ walk away from our new hideaway. For its lucky guests, this outpost of the Zetter Townhouse is more than a hotel, it's home for the nights you stay there, and the staff really make you feel that way, too. For us, it’s our new favourite London haunt.
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