Chiltern Firehouse opened a couple of years back and the furore surrounding this former fire station in Marylebone has yet to cease.
As the latest offering from the mogul behind oh-so-glam Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and the Mercer hotel in New York, the Firehouse hotel and restaurant was set for success. The Grade II-listed gothic Victorian building has been carefully restored, and the bespoke decadence is immediately apparent, as you walk through the flatteringly lit corridors, your heels sinking into the plush cloud-like carpets.
All 26 of the rooms in the hotel boast ginormous beds clad in 400 thread count sheets, deep roll-top bathtubs, working fireplaces and personal concierges (one per hotel guest!) – it’s pure old school luxury to such a stratospheric level that you will struggle to ever return to the real world.
Our French waiter appeared with a flourish and the grand declaration of, “I assume you will be starting with oysters and Champagne?” The meal therefore started on a high, and continued skywards from there, with bacon cornbread and chipotle-maple butter, and crab-stuffed donuts with coral dusting up next.
Although not cheap, the menu is not preposterously expensive either, with main courses around the £28 mark. We skipped dessert, instead leaning against the full-length mirror in the ladies’ bathroom to gain access to a clandestine bar and smoking terrace – before returning to the hotel’s main bar in the hope of spotting at least one celebrity. Nothing. Our disappointment was only heightened by the wrist-slap we got for taking photos in a No Photos area…
It’s hard to put a finger on exactly how Chiltern Firehouse is vastly different from other upmarket hotel/restaurants in London, to justify the insane hype around it – perhaps it’s just an exceptional piece of PR? – but two years on and it’s still burning bright, and I for one can’t wait to return.
1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA