The Zetter Townhouse is the antithesis of every mononlithic, boring and beige hotel out there. This brand new hotel, which I was invited to review soon after it’s opening in March, could not be in any other city than London. From the union jack bunting in some bedrooms to the stuffed cat complete with parasol and collections of quirky oil paintings in the bar the Zetter Townhouse has its own distinctive personality.
The bar at Zetter Townhouse
The owners who also run the Zetter Hotel across the road were inspired by the idea of the Townhouse as the home of a eccentric Victorian aunt and have hung a portrait in her honour in the downstairs bar.
A portrait of the “eccentric aunt” who inspired the hotel
In keeping with the idea of a home rather than a hotel, the place is tiny with only 13 bedrooms, each with its own character. MTV boyfriend and I stayed in room number six which had an opulent feel to it thanks to the half four poster bed, quirky paintings and dark painted walls. The level of thought and detail that has gone into the Zetter Townhouse is incredible with vintage radios recustomised as ipod docks, top notch complimentary magazine selections in each room, free wifi, beautiful Ren toiletries and extra deep bath tubs for soaking in.
Our luxurious bathroom – check out the wireless Roberts radio
I particularly appreciated the hotel’s guide to London and the local area which is included in each room and taught me quite a few new things about Clerkenwell, an area I worked in for over two years.
Our room – room six
Of the other rooms at the Zetter, my favourite was room 11 which has a huge gold tiled bathtub right in the bedroom and room three which is smaller but features a gorgeous four poster bed hung with union jack bunting.
Room three is for patriotic types
The hotel is small so there is no standard hotel swimming pool or gym but this is compensated for with some (certainly) non-standard additions of a full size stuffed kangaroo in the private dining area and a ping pong table in the games room where chef Bruno Loubet is rumoured to be the current reigning champion.
Room 11’s glamorous bath tub
For non hotel guests, the bar area downstairs is open to all and looks to become one of the most talked about destinations in London to imbibe thanks to the quirky decor and talents of Tony Conigliaro, the man behind current ‘it’ bar 69 Colebrooke Row
Stuffed kanagaroo in the bar
The signature “Twinkle” (£8) was light and almost too easy to drink with its mixture of vodka, elderflower and champagne. I think it might just be my new favourite cocktail in London complete with the vintage glass it was served in. I also loved the nettle gimlet (£8) was a potent but fun reinterpretation of an old school classic gin cocktail.
The twinkle – my new favourite cocktail in London
Despite the excellent Bistro Bruno Loubert
being right across the road with tables reserved for Zetter Townhouse guests, the excellent bar food on offer at Zetter Townhouse meant there was no reason to drag ourselves away from the bar. The menu was concise but spot on with the charcuterie platter proving to be perfect gourmet booze food. It was also excellent value at £10 per person for a generous serving of jamon, rillettes and pate.
The charcuterie board
Grilled halloumi cheese (£5) also impressed, although it is hard to go wrong with fried cheese I liked the salsa topping and the squeeze of lemon that enlivened the cheese.
More substantial offerings were served in bowls which could be shared like the tangy Vietnamese grilled squid salad (£5.50) and the broad beans and lovage pesto risotto (£4.50). The salad combined sharp Asian sweet and sour flavours really well and while the risotto was a little on the monotonous side it was certainly an easy, filling meal in a bowl. The only issue was the limited table space so the bar is more suited to snacking or eating on the hoof rather than sitting down to a meal. For those skilled at cocktail party consumption it shouldn’t be a problem.
Breakfast in bed at Zetter Townhouse
In the morning we were impressed by being able to order continental breakfast in bed at no additional charge (something almost every other hotel stings customers for). It felt very decadent to sit up in bed with a tray of fresh fruit, granola and croissants while sipping on tea from the rare tea lady.
I only wish more hotels were like Zetter Townhouse, but that would be missing the point of course.
The hand made do not disturb signs on the bedroom doors
Details: The Zetter Townhouse
, 49-50 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell EC1V 4JJ (Ph 020 7324 4545) Tube: Farringdon
Damage: Reasonable for the food and drinks. The hotel is pricey (although not particularly so by London standards!) accommodation starts at £222 a night including breakfast. On this occasion I did not pay.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of The Zetter Townhouse.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my reviews of two other new openings in the booming Clerkenwell area – St Ali
and Bistro Du Vin