The Egerton House Hotel, London

Stepping into Wonderland with an Alice-themed stay at this London boutique hotel


As we climbed the steps from the quiet Knightsbridge street to The Egerton House Hotel, it was apparent just how much the staff had missed hosting guests — almost as much as we had missed staying somewhere like this lovely 28-bed Victorian townhouse.

The prospect of a hotel stay had my family acting like toddlers on the eve of their birthday. Even though we were masked up and sanitised, checking in still had the same excitement. The admin, completed on a tablet, with keys in their own, sanitised plastic boxes and a QR code to access the room service menu, was smooth and slick.

Our ground floor suite — the V&A — was small by suite standards but luxurious: king-size bed, Nespresso machine, decanters of whisky and brandy and two bathrooms plus a tiny, hydrangea-lined terrace.

My children were in a state of high excitement at not merely being in a hotel, but having their own adjoining double room, with jars of sweets, and (for my son) finding a television in the bathroom.

Covid meant no mini bar but we weren’t going to starve with a generous fruit bowl plus homemade, crumbly shortbread and chocolate truffles made by the hotel’s housekeeper, the cocoa brought from her native Italy.

Refreshed after our sleep on the smooth, cool monogrammed sheets, midsummer daylight hidden behind black-out blinds and heavy curtains, we prepared for our busy day over breakfast. My children love a breakfast buffet and while Covid has stolen that particular pleasure for now, all the usual options were on a tablet to choose from.

In fact, it was a joy not to be up and down to the buffet but instead enjoying each other’s company in the small, glamorous, dining room, as our waitress Nijole brought endless juices, coffees, hot chocolates, homemade pastries, pancakes and our cooked breakfasts, while we planned our Alice in Wonderland-themed day.

The hotel, at the western end of Knightsbridge, is in walking distance of the South Kensington museum as well as countless restaurants (with umbrellas provided by the concierge in case of rain).

After a five-minute stroll into the prebooked ticket queue, the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum was excellent.

In its 157 years, the book has spawned a wealth of art, film and cultural references so there’s plenty to interest all ages — from VR goggles to fairground-style distorting mirrors and highly theatrical, audio visual displays. Look out for Vivienne Westwood dresses, Japanese anime and Disney posters.

A special Hatter’s Afternoon Tea awaited us back in the hotel’s small lounge. With only two other tables occupied, it felt very exclusive. Sandwiches were tailored to fit our ‘no meat, shellfish or gelatine’ requirements, along with warm scones and a selection of Alice-themed pastries.

The stand-out was salmon and cream cheese on a seeded bread, a recipe from the hotel group’s founder Beatrice Tollman. A white chocolate ‘pearl’ filled with champagne ganache and Queen of Hearts jam tart were close runners-up.

The children’s tea included an ice-cream sandwich on brioche and fudgy chocolate orange brownies served inside a clock, while their scones were cute bunny shapes. There’s even a doggie version, served in a special tea tower of dog bowls with ‘pawsecco’.

Once we’d ticked off ‘eat me’, the next step had to be ‘drink me’ — a martini masterclass with head barman, Sabhi. Mr P’s straight-up version was essentially neat vodka with vermouth swirled around the glass and the merest shaving of lemon zest.

I opted for a cherry martini, using one of Sahbi’s own syrups which he infuses from fruits and herbs, some brought from his home country of Tunisia. My daughter’s fresh orange juice with cherry syrup came in a champagne flute, which made her feel deliciously grown-up.

We might have travelled only 26 miles from home, but for a little slice of Wonderland, you’re guaranteed to be grinning like a Cheshire cat by the end of your stay here.


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