The Portobello Hotel doesn't feel like a hotel. It feels more like spending a few days with a rich, funky aunt who happens to live in London's Notting Hill" ...
For the past three decades The Portobello Hotel has been a true original in a world of overwhelmingly bland hotels. The eccentric outsider, it kick-started the current trend for small, offbeat hotels where the interior design is cutting-edge, staff are attentive but discreet, and lobby and rooms alike are intended to feel as intimate as home. This is a nesting experience without the drudgery of tidying up.
Owners Tim and Cathy Herring first opened up the pioneering idea in 1970 and with the assistance of the interior designer Julie Hodgess opened the Portobello Hotel in 1971. The trio had already started the nearby Julie's Restaurant and Julie's Bar. The present long established Group Managing Partner Johnny Ekperigin first joined the team in 1974 at Julie's Restaurant.
As Newsweek magazine pointed out, 'the Portobello discovered long ago that the key to success was to play up its quirks and style'. This is a hotel that happily flaunts its own eccentricity. The rooms - unusual, inventive, cosy, and very sexy - have had that much admired haphazard, casual look that is deemed to be so typically English. This unlikely mishmash of styles attracts an equally unlikely mishmash of legendary guests: like rock stars, Alice Cooper, Van Morrison and Tina Turner.
Some of the Portobello Hotel's rooms have become as legendary as the guests themselves. Take the room with the 'waterworks', for example, a suite with what can only be described as a 'Victorian bathing machine': a marvellously eccentric collection of copper pipes, taps and a massive sprinkler, all surgically attached to a turn-of-the-century claw-footed bath. This is a remarkable enough piece in its own right, but picture it standing in the middle of the room on its own little island of black and white marble tiles, directly behind a massive round bed tucked into the bay window, and you begin to grasp why this room has become so famous. Then there is the 'four-poster room', which contains an Elizabethan bed so large and high that you need a ladder to climb into it. A canopy painted with clouds reinforces the giddy scale. And for those of you who like to hide in attics there are two fully fledged Moroccan chambers tucked under the roof. Moody, dark and dangerously seductive, their rich reds and layers of carpets and cushions evoke the atmosphere of a Berber tent.
Unlike most establishments that cater to the elite, the Portobello Hotel recognises that 'elite' does not necessarily mean rich. So in a democratic spirit, it also includes rooms that are realistically affordable. Single rooms, or 'cabin' rooms, do not exactly spoil the guest with space, but the design and decor is no less inventive. Equipped with an extravagantly tented campaign bed, a cabin looks like a place Napoleon might have bedded down for the night.
portobello hotel review by hotel critic: harrison brownFunky, quirky and very very relaxed. Since this hotel opened, musicians and actors alike gravitated to this serene environment. Calmness, discretion and homeliness have continued to attract similarly minded people. However, these are guests which do not want 15 staff doting over their every whim (go to The Dorchester) but are looking for their home away from home - and to be left alone - but have the service if required (24 hour room service). 24 individually designed rooms have something for most tastes (except the boring or ultra modern) Fantastic fabrics, an amazing collection of furniture and very original beds make this a very interesting hotel experience. Single rooms are very small, but well appointed. Standard double rooms are a reasonable size, however bathrooms are very small. I love this hotel - it's not for everyone, but those wanting a unique hotel experience will be enchanted and encourage to return and try another individually tailored bedroom.