The best hotels in Notting Hill
London’s very first ‘gin hotel’ brings to mind mother’s ruin pouring from the taps (which would bring new meaning to the term ‘bathtub gin’). In reality, this three-bedroom boutique hotel in Notting Hill doesn’t quite have you swimming in the stuff, but as it’s opening during the height of a new-wave gin craze that’s swept across London, it’s certainly tapped into something good. The concept comes from the team behind Portobello Road Gin and although they’ve operated successful bars, restaurants and even a gin museum across London and Leeds, this is their first foray into the overnight stay. The hotel comprises ‘lodgings’ – those three en-suite bedrooms on the building’s peaceful top floor – two bars and The Ginstitute in the basement, a place for gin master classes. Brightly coloured Spanish bar-restaurant GinTonica is well worth a visit once you’ve checked in, serving goblet-sized G&Ts and decent tapas dishes. And if you find yourself all ginned out, the relaxed Resting Room on ground level is a smart bar serving barrel-aged spirits – ideal for a nightcap before you head upstairs. For more of that nightcap fodder, the bedroom’s mini bar is as well stocked as you’d hope, with pre-mixed cocktails (using Portobello Road Gin, of course) stocked and included in the price of the room. Beds are ample-pillowed, so you can recline with a first-rate negroni. Or shake up cocktails with fresh fruit garnishes – you’ll find all the equipment you need stocked on a gorgeous vintage drink
Right by Notting Hill Gate tube, stuffed with British furniture and artworks, the Laslett was a terrific addition to the area. There's a laudable commitment to local products across the hotel's five interconnecting townhouses (you'll find London-based Sipsmith gin, Workshop Coffee and Joe's Tea), as well as a fine lobby bar and a library of arty books. The rooms have Big - not mini - bars, classic Penguins for bedtime reading and smellies from Neal's Yard Remedies.
Excellently located at the foot of Portobello Road, No.6 is a London-brick townhouse that offers twice-weekly serviced apartments with white-tiled bathrooms and compact but fully equipped kitchenettes. The decor is simple but smart, in black and white, with a few concessions to flamboyance – oversized button-punch headboards, for instance. Room rates are cheaper if you book for a month and reception is just a key code for the door, but you can otherwise use the apartments like a hotel.
For bath-related celebrity antics, the Portobello has no equal: Alice Cooper kept his snake in his, while Johnny Depp filled a tub with champagne for Kate Moss – the 24-hour honesty bar in the Sitting Room must have some stories too. But don't arrive expecting some kind of rock ’n’ roll squat: the Portobello is a refined townhouse hotel, with individually themed rooms – murals in the smaller, cheaper rooms, fancy-pants details like claw-foot baths if you can pay a bit more.