Gin: the ruin to your mother. It’s your actual best friend. If that rings true, then you’re bound to know all about Notting Hill’s very own GIN HOTEL(!), The Distillery. But what’s it like to actually stay in a hotel dedicated to juniper juice (that’s what we're telling our livers it’s called). We did a test drive for you...
We started our journey on the hotel’s first floor for a Spanish take on gin tradition. The Distillery’s bar-restaurant GinTonica specialises in, you guessed it, gin and tonic. But they’re served in goblet-sized glasses and with gorgeous garnishes. Verdict: just as refreshing on the eyes as they are in the mouth, really.
We then moved from bright, sunny Spain down to the basement to discover London’s shady gin history, in the hotel’s museum to mother’s ruin, The Ginstitute. They do a gin cocktail masterclass here for £60, but we participated in the ‘gin experience’, a three-hour course for £120. We learned all about the role of gin through history – including that very first Gin Craze (which one are we on now?) – and discovered historic bottles like this cute, catty one. Definitely good for the kidneys.
After our lesson, we were led into the lab to make our own gin, using ingredients as sexy-sounding as these...
Then we bottled our product to take back up to our room. Apologies for the terrible puns, we might have had a few gins.
Now, three sheets to the wind, we were beyond grateful to be staying in the lodgings up above. But there was more in store for us... a minibar with pre-batched negronis and martinis, plus a whole host of cocktail equipment, allowing us to get even more stuck-in to the gin.
Luckily, the bed was plump with pillows, making a negroni in PJs the ultimate luxury. If this isn’t living, I don’t know what is.
Time for the hangover, though, and the bad news is that breakfast doesn’t come included with a stay at The Distillery – just when we needed it the most. But waking up with a view on to Portobello Road Market was at least fairly soothing for a woolly head.
The Distillery is at 186 Portobello Rd, W11 1LA. Rooms start at £125 per night.