The Halkin

By Andrew Morris, April 11, 2011

The Halkin, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is considered the capital's first truly boutique hotel; a meld of classic and understated Italian design with an unobtrusive flavour of the East.

Everything is relaxed here, even the bedroom doors take time to close and refuse to make a noise doing so.

Once in your room, you'll find the classic Milanese staples of sumptuous marbled bathrooms – including very possibly the most powerful shower you'll find this side of the Atlantic and spacious, exotic hardwood-panelled bedrooms. The technology in the rooms includes a fully internet-integrated handheld keyboard – which, it turns out however, doesn't close the curtains.

All rooms – from king double to suite, reflects Hong Kong-based owner, Mrs Ong's love for all things contemporary Italian with the occasional Chinese antique and Oriental sculpture thrown in.

Reflecting the eastern side of its roots, the Halkin is home to Thai restaurant, nahm. In keeping with the understated style of the hotel, you'd be hard pressed to realise you were in a Thai restaurant. That is, until Australian head chef David Thompson's fare is served. We went for the nahm arharn – the six (or so) course traditional Thai meal which, at £60 a head, was as reasonable as it was truly stunning. Highlights included crispy smoked trout salad and golden noodle meringue. And no, not a pad thai in sight.

Walking back to the room you can be excused for thinking you've drunk too much, as the corridors curve. But fear not, these were designed specifically to avoid, we were informed, the standard hotel "long corridor walk" syndrome.

The overall effect of this exquisitely designed hotel is to make you feel you are but a few steps - and a million miles away - from the bustle of central London.

RATE: £480
TEL: 020 7333 1000

Last updated: 4:57pm, May 4 2011