Based on its pretty solid weekly mentions in the press, you’d be forgiven for thinking London’s Chiltern Firehouse is just a restaurant frequented by international A-listers, but this gem in Marylebone is far more than just a place to eat a delicious salad. A 26-room hotel in a converted fire station, the Andre Balazs property has successfully managed to bring the charm of his LA property Chateau Marmont to the UK, and its jet-setting clientele with it.
There’s a reason celebrities are gravitating to this place at a rate of knot. First and foremost, there’s an immediate sense of privacy that meets you – literally – at the gate. The tiny lobby is accessed down a windy little path, not sign-posted and not flagged at all. It’s not hard to find, this property is extremely intimate, but it’s discreet and that is the entire vibe of Chiltern Firehouse. Andre doesn’t court the press, and you’re unlikely to see tables of obnoxious finance types chugging Krug. Instead, he welcomes a more creative professional – fashion, art, entertainment. Of course, the prices determine you must be a rich creative type, otherwise you will be sipping on that one 21 pound glass of champagne for four hours.
The rooms are technically all suites and perfect doesn’t even begin to cover it. In town for the Farfetch ambassdors gathering, we were ecstatic (no exaggeration) to find our room had a gigantic walk- in closet, a humongous, stunning bathroom with heated floors and insanely huge shower which no joke is probably twice as big as most New York City bathrooms, and our terrace at the foot of the tower was yes, you guessed it, massive. Décor wise, you’re talking a very Chateau vibe – Moroccan rugs, luxurious squishy velvet sofas and heavy, dark drapes. Every room has a gas fireplace, activated by a single tug of a lever and what is without a doubt the most fantastic mini-bar we’ve ever encountered, complete with fresh citrus fruits ready for cocktail-making.
There’s an old-style phone for dialing ‘Andre’ (sigh, if only! #handsome), outlets for all major international plugs and free condoms in the bathroom – better than a five dollar condom in the mini-bar and that’s for sure. The custom shampoos and conditioners are full sized, which is a pretty ingenious way to discourage people from taking the amenities, if you ask us, since they’re way to big for your airplane liquids allowance.
The vintage-style light switches are on dimmers for your preference, oh and there’s no ironing board or iron – hello, they will press your PJs and hang them in that giant walk-in so they’re ready for snoozeville when you come back to the room after dinner.
Speaking of which: the restaurant. It’s insanely difficult to get a reservation, even for breakfast apparently, and this is partly down to the food (it’s great) and the scene (also great). We particularly enjoyed breakfast actually, with it’s pressed juices, stupidly strong coffee (yes please), baked eggs, and kissing dogs salt n pepper shakers in various breeds. We may or may not have tracked down the Labradors as a Christmas gift upon our return to the US .
The bar gets fun and crazy late-night, with a young, attractive staff you can tell clearly have Vanderpump Rules type extra-curricular fun/drama. There’s a DJ playing very London, 60s mod-ish records and in addition to the main room known as the Ladder Shed – an airy Palm Beach-inspired space with a fireplace and cane furniture, there’s a mini-Boom Boom Room-ish horseshoe bar next door, with cozy fireside nooks off to one side. Much like we feel after a stay at the Chateau Marmont, we just did not want to leave and cannot wait to return. Bravo, Andre.