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The Mitre, Hampton Court, Surrey, UK

Originally purposed to host an overflow of King Henry VII’s courtiers when there was no space at Hampton Palace, the newly revamped The Mitre is flipping the tables and taking top position when it comes to kingly stays in the area.

Plotted on the banks of the River Thames, the Grade-II list building has the feel and charm of a country hotel but sits cosily inside London’s zone 6 – meaning Londoners can catch the train from Waterloo in a neat 30 minutes to Hampton Court station and zen out for the weekend.

Despite hosting Dukes, Dames (Julie Andrews held her wedding reception here) and a slew of royal darlings in its past, The Mitre is delightfully down to earth. A wonderful hodge-podge of interiors – think clashing prints and boldly coloured furnishings – dreamed up by Nicola Harding (who worked on Beaverbrook and The Rose in Deal) greet you on arrival. On first glance we would deem them The Mitre’s crowning glory – but after tasting chefs Ronnie Kimbugwe’s cooking we think it might be a tie…

The Vibe

Relaxation and sophistication in equal parts; The Mitre is homely, hospitable and epitomises understated elegance.

The Rooms

All 36 bedrooms are named with the history of the hotel and its location in mind. Spring for the Catherine Parr suite, named after the last of Henry VIII’s six wives, if purse strings stretch to £592 upwards, or the Edward – a characterful chap bedecked with patterned wallpaper by Ottoline, salmon-hued Ceraudo side tables, chequered Projkt Tynny cushions and colourful injections courtesy of Rosi de Ruig lamps.

Four-poster beds and roll top bathtubs add to the opulence, while Do Not Disturb signs featuring a half-naked Henry VII in the bath and rubber ducks dressed in their finery nod to the hotel’s sense of fun.

The Little Extras 

Dog-friendly rooms come at a surcharge of £25 per night and include a bed, bowl and welcome pack.

If you don’t have a pet but your ultimate pet peeve is unpolished shoes, call 1000 before bed and leave your shoes outside your door. In the AM they’ll be waiting, perfectly shined up, to take you to breakfast.

The Food + Drink

Guests can choose to dine at either the Coppernose or The 1665 Riverside Brasserie. At the former, you’ll find relaxed all-day dining (fun fact: Coppernose was the nickname given to Henry VIII, after his funds ran low and he was forced to issue cheap copper coated currency towards the end of his reign). A great brunch spot – serving up Palm-Beach vibes by way of pistachio stripes and raspberry piped, bouclé-covered breakfast banks – we recommend ordering the mango smoothie bowl, the full English and/or a hearty bacon sandwich.

Later in the day, guests can dine at the slightly more formal, Riverside Brasserie, 1665. Complete with wine room and open kitchen, its name is a nod to the date the original Mitre Hotel was built. Today, the food plated up is so scrumptious Henry VIII would likely schlep over from across the way to sample a menu of crispy cauliflower popcorn drizzled in teriyaki and soy (Godly), followed by crab toasties and old-school prawn cocktails and chased with mains including lobster and prawn linguine, miso-glazed lamp rump and a moreish mushroom and sage risotto. Rounding things off with an order of warm Italian Nutella doughnuts – this is a menu fit for a (modern day) king.

Groups of 12-20 can avail of the slick private dining space at 1665. For those in search of a larger space for hosting, the plant-filled Orangery – complete with pastel parquet floor, twinkling lights and peplumed seating – is just the ticket.

Fancy a tipple after dinner? The library is guests-only and kitted out with an honesty bar where the focus is on whiskey.

The To-Do List

Take a boat trip down the Thames (ask the hotel to arrange a picnic and boat to meet you at the dock) or head across the street for a tour of Hampton Court Palace followed by deer spotting in Bushy Park.

What to Pack

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