In a world of travel bloggers, content creators and Instagrammers, many of them dedicated to budget travel, backpacking and adventuring, I decided to dedicate Fresh And Fearless to the world of luxury travel. My mission was to find the best luxury hotels of the world, from your independent, boutique hotels to those that were owned and managed by some of the biggest names on the luxury hotel industry. One hotel at a time, i’m unfolding my mission to do exactly that.
As someone who has covered many parts of the world, slowing uncovering the best of the best, I decided to bring it home for a change, back to the roots where it all started. London. London has a vast number of luxury hotels, most of which I’ve worked with on other collaborations but not many London staycations. Often people think it’s unreasonable to spend money staying in your home city, but is it? I’ve learnt so much about my home after doing various staycations, plus you get all the benefits of going on holiday without having to spend hours travelling. It’s a win-win situation in my eyes!
My last London staycation was at The Arch London, a hotel that is recognised under the Small Luxury Hotels group. SLH collates a range of boutique and luxury focused hotels and houses them under one roof. However, you can’t just be any old luxury hotel, they only pick the best for their brand.
The last time I visited The Arch Hotel was a couple of years ago, to try out their modern British restaurant Hunter 486. However, returning back to the hotel after such a long period of time was a great feeling, especially with the traditional and warming welcome you always receive when entering.
Arriving late afternoon in the basking heat of London’s short lived pre-summer sun, Zoe and I checked into one of The Arch London’s gorgeous junior suite. The main colours of the room was a stunning, deep blue, which happens to be my favourite colour.
The junior suite was large and very spacious, also filled with modern decor with bold wall art, wallpaper and pillows to match. The suite also had a lovely large television with an extensive range of channels to watch, a fully stocked mini bar with everything you could need and a Nespresso machine, which was perfect for that pre-breakfast caffeine fix.
The bathroom was fairly modern, but I feel it could do with a bit more updating to match the rest of the room. However, I did love the TV/mirror style feature that was embedded into the wall at the end of the bathtub, allowing you to watch TV whilst having a soak. The standalone shower was also very large, but again could do with a full refurbishment. I normally judge a hotel based on the amenities they stock in the bathrooms and I feel if you can’t go all out with branded amenities, then is there any point in being a luxury hotel? Others may have different opinions on the matter, but I certainly stick by my word. I was a little disappointed by the fact that the ammenties were not branded. Another disappointment discovery was that the amenities had not been replaced from the people who had stayed before us.
Sometimes you just have to let things slide, so we got ready for our dinner reservation at Hunter 486, excited to try a completely different menu from when I last came.
We settled down and ordered a bottle of white wine to accompany us through our dinner.
We were spoilt for choice with so many delicious sounding dishes to choose from. After a lot of back and forth, Zoe and I managed to decide on what we wanted for our starters and main course.
I decided on the asparagus and watercress soup with poached quail egg and parmesan crisp. The soup was absolutely divine, I highly recommend it to anyone dining at Hunter 486.
Zoe went for the chargrilled courgettes, aubergines, Piquillo peppers with burrata and salsa verde. Zoe was in her element with her starter, absolutely loved the fresh, Mediterranean and Italian combination.
Moving onto our mains, I went for the roast Norfolk Black chicken, potato gnocchi with spring vegetables, girolles and tarragon velouté. I must admit, it was one of the best dishes i’ve had a British restaurant in a long time. There was so much flavour and the array of textures came together so well. The chicken’s skin was perfectly crisp, it couldn’t have been better if the chefs tried. Absolutely outstanding.
Zoe went for the pan fried halibut with braised peas, Oxsprings air dried ham, gem lettuce and mint. Zoe liked her main a lot, especially the mint and pea flavours which complimented the halibut really well.
Zoe and I had the usual debate of ‘should we have dessert?’ but little did we both realise that both of us had already mentally chosen what we wanted, but we were just being civil diners.
I was sold on the pineapple carpaccio with like sorbet and fresh fruit. It was extremely refreshing, just what I needed after an indulgent meal.
Zoe went for the delectable cheese board that would easily win any cheese lovers heart over (including mine) I did have to have a little taste, just for quality control (yeah, right!) but I was happy to report back that it was the most delicious cheese selection.
From the bottom of my heart, I was honestly so impressed by the food at Hunter 486. They really went above and beyond with the service and food quality. We were full of such great food and wine, we were grateful we didn’t have to go far to get a night’s sleep.
Waking up feeling quite rested, apart from the occasional odd noise that gave us a bit of a disturbed sleep that night we woke to a breakfast of fresh pastries, cereals served with ice-cold milk, crisp and tangy orange juice, strong lattes and an great selection of eggs and cooked breakfasts. We had just what we needed to hop, skip and jump our way into a new day!
The Arch London is a gorgeous boutique hotel in the heart of London. Whilst it is still under the respectable Small Luxury Hotels brand, I feel there are a few kinks in the hotel that need to be ironed out and a few modernisation changes need be made to make it feel like a true 5-star hotel. The Arch has great potential and i’m sure it will be a well respected hotel over time.
Until next time…