Cosy. One word that describes the Hayden Notting Hill perfectly, from the heavy wood downstairs in the bar, to the large fabric headboards in the bedrooms. Cosy pretty much covers it. Oh and British, very British. Yummy asparagus, mashed potato, deep mahogany, lush fabrics and dogs. British.
The hotel room was one of only a handful – up a few stairs, past a set of double doors (sound insulation that was much appreciated) and up a heavily wallpapered hallway and stairs, the small but warm feeling of the pub was continued in the room. I was surprised and pleased by the smell of newness, and the list of decent amenities not afforded in all hotels. A useable hairdryer, slippers and robe, fridge and frothy milk to accompany the coffee maker made the a very practical room as well as beautiful. The framed images of dogs, feature wall and Scottish plaid fabrics made it feel like a warm winters day. The bed was large, and comfortable, and the bathroom was surprisingly large, with a bath – perfect to unwind. The thick rich fabrics in the room made it feel like a British country house, I was just missing a large fire, oh, and Mr Darcy.
Downstairs for dinner, I sat for cocktails at the bar, I had a chat with the friendly barman and he offered to design a cocktail I’d enjoy – but he didn’t need to, my choice of a “Chora” is still possibly the best cocktail I’ve ever drank – think amaretto sour but better, served in a martini class with the addition of egg white and cinnamon. Apparently used for a competition entry, it would win any gold from me!
The British cosiness echos through the decor downstairs, a tiled back bar, feature ceiling, heavy mahogany wood and leather make it feel thought through, friendly but high end.
For dinner we began with the seafood platter, the prawns tasted especially fresh for London, and there was plenty of fish to pick from – smoked salmon, and crispy (but not greasy) calamari went perfectly with the Sancerre we selected. Our waitress was friendly and helpful, just the right amount of chat and attention, guiding us through the menu and offering personal suggestions.
Following this we went for the Jumbo short Rib of beef, which was worth the visit alone. Don’t miss this if you go – it was tender, melt in the mouth flaky and perfect! And accompanied by mash potato it was a formidable winter warmer for these now, shorter days.
For the mains I ate the Sea Bass fillet, which was nice and crispy on the skin. The accompanying asparagus couldn’t be faulted, served in a simple manner, no fancy sauces but cooked to absolute perfection. For the side I picked one of my faves, mac & cheese but was a little disappointed it wasn’t served traditionally, more of a pasta with grated cheese on top. Still the dessert of sticky toffee pudding and vanilla icecream made up for that, again, British modern classics made well.
Retiring to the cosy room was easy on a full belly, and the pub although busy for a Thursday felt local yet intimate.
With the Haydens small collection of well presented rooms, friendly and helpful staff and welcoming interior, there is no reason to not book your stay here next time you’re looking for a good British experience in London.
Address: 65 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater W2 4UJ
Written by Polly Robin