The Laslett, London
On the hushed street of Pembridge Gardens, lined with pristine Victorian townhouses, one would hardly have any idea that five of these Notting Hill residences—which date from the mid 1800s and Grade 2 listed—actually conceal a hotel. The exterior of newcomer The Laslett has been preserved so carefully, with no marked signage, in fact, that we had to double back and retrace our path a few times to find the proper entrance.
Discreet is what Living Rooms does well. The Laslett is the latest from the four-piece collection of London properties which are, for the most part, extended-stay apartments and luxe suites. The Laslett functions as the closest thing to a boutique hotel they've got, but still channeling the same detailed attention to interiors, privacy and service. "I wanted the hotel to feel as though you're staying in a friend's fabulous townhouse and feel personable and intimate at the same time—whilst celebrating the eclectic cultural heritage and creativity that characterizes the area," Living Rooms founder Tracy Lowy tells CH. "Opening The Laslett has been our most ambitious project to date. I felt the timing was right as Notting Hill is having something of a resurgence. I love Portobello Road antiques market, the Print Room theatre across the road hosting fabulous dance, theatre and music performances and Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove for breakfast."
Throughout the hotel, the interiors quietly celebrate British talent and history. "We combined modern British furniture and Portobello finds, placing them in modern rooms of restored stucco elegance," notes Lowy. The different lamps were handmade in Haggerston by one-to-watch Simon Day of Nocturne Workshop, including his newest design for 2016, the Gil (named after Gil Scott Heron, as all of his pieces are named after singers) with a hand-spun aluminum shade. The bedside table and benches come from South London-based studio Pinch; in the dining room, visitors sit on BA chairs, a 1945 design by Ernest Race.
"The art and visual cues took visual influence from memories of Notting Hill's '80s and early '90s from the street style of the Buffalo fashion movement and the nightlife and art scene which was well-illustrated in The Face magazine," continues Lowy. "The curated artwork in the rooms includes works of local artists with illustrations by Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki and the late artist and stylist Barry Kamen, a key member of the Buffalo collective. Jerome Dodd of Le Couilles du Chien sourced the antiques and curios.
"The double rooms, with their preserved high ceilings and gorgeous windows, perfectly fit our wants: modern, luxurious, intimate and spacious. The single rooms (there are just two in total) offered by The Laslett are intriguing, too. They take up two stories, so one can shower at the upper floor then go down the stairs to bed. It's quite interesting what Living Rooms has done with such a tight space to make it feel cozy, not closet.
The intimacy spills over into the ground floor common areas: a library-like room holds two couches and walls covered in curated art and music books. The small Henderson bar and coffee shop has a few tables and aesthetically looks incredibly snug and private—but the dining here is The Laslett's weak spot, as the food tastes like it might have been delivered and reheated (as there's no real kitchen). While there's some room for improvement, all in all, this set-up is vastly preferred to the status quo of grandiose and impersonal hotel restaurants. At The Laslett, guests actually spoke to each other over their morning coffee.
The Laslett is located at 8 Pembridge Gardens, London W2 4DU, where rates start at £225 for a double room. Check out the slideshow up top for more photos of what's inside.
Photos and text by Nara Shin