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 drinking cabinet. Vinyl from Rough Trade makes your stay more atmospheric and you’re in fashionable surrounds – think muted grey walls and a Spanish-tiled en-suite fit with fragrant products from Neal’s Yard Remedies.
A trip to gin heaven doesn’t come cheap. Rooms start at £125 and you’ll then have to stump up for the other activities that make The Distillery so special. So maybe make a trip here a gift for the ultimate ginthusiast in your life.
Just be warned: these are lodgings, so don’t expect any red carpet treatment the next day. Bed and breakfast this is not, which is a real shame if you do wake with a woolly head (chances are high, let’s face it). Luckily, staying on the Portobello Road means you have plenty of brunch options when the morning after the night before rolls around.
Time Out tip
Definitely combine your stay with a booking at The Ginstitute. You can make your own gin, learn about London’s gin history and then crash out upstairs after an absolute skinful. Three-hour sessions cost £120.