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Suite Staycation: At Sloane

In our newest column – Suite Staycation – hotel expert and author of British Boutique Hotels, Gina Jackson, tours some of the best hotel suites in the UK. First up, At Sloane.

Best for… Couples

In carefully transforming an elegant mansion block into one of London’s most exciting boutique hotels, At Sloane brings a welcome dose of old-school glamour to the heart of Chelsea.

Give us the lowdown

Expect to be dazzled by the dizzying combination of print and texture that covers each surface, courtesy of design whiz François-Joseph Graf and hotelier Jean-Louis Costes (of Parisian icon Hotel Costes). Priceless trinkets frame every crevice of the hotel, from Greek amphorae to artfully displayed coffee table books, while star-studded black-and-white photographs line the William Morris wallpapered corridors. No detail has been spared in creating this treasure trove of a hotel: discerning guests will note the intricate details, such as Benson lamps, Alice in Wonderland-inspired hidden doors, and checkerboard carpets, all awash in a restrained palette of white, black, and Etruscan red.

Upstairs to the bedrooms: each of At Sloane’s 30 hideaways are a wunderkammer of playful print and expensive-feeling furnishings. Although you can expect white wooden panelling, leaded windows, and Loro Piana fabrics in every room, 30 different wallpaper prints and cashmere curtains in 21 varying patterns render each entirely unique. Book one of the five glamorous Sloane Suites, complete with marble-clad bathrooms, deep bathtubs, and secretive walk-in wardrobes, for the ultimate sleepover.

What’s in the suite?

Whitewashed suites are cosy but airy thanks to high ceilings and cushioned surfaces. I checked into suite number 22, which offers plenty of space (46 square metres, in fact) to unwind between the sitting room (complete with a banquetted bay window overlooking leafy Sloane Gardens Street) and the bedroom, which is kitted out with a curated selection of artworks, and an iPad to control the music, lighting, and blackout blinds – all just a tap away from your pillow.

The decor mirrors the rest of the hotel; velvety fabrics and intricate patterns evoke a sense of moody Parisian romance, but thoughtful touches running throughout the room keep things playful: dim the lights to the ‘Love’ setting, and rummage through drawers to discover ‘love kits’ and pillow talk games. My favourite feature? Each suite features hidden panels that reveal spacious walk-in-wardrobes, and naughty ‘mistress doors’ that open directly into the corridor. Oh, and don’t forget to raid the complimentary minibar, where you’ll find a snack drawer of artisan treats that you’ll struggle to stay away from.

How’s the crowd? 

Tucked around one of Sloane Square’s curves, At Sloane’s discreet red-brick façade doesn’t give much away to the average passer-by. Those in the know will head up to the sixth-floor restaurant, where you can rub shoulders with fashion editors, and spot Victoria’s Secret models cocooned around one of the corners. The hush-hush entrance to the hotel’s subterranean bar is equally nondescript, and could easily be mistaken for the window of a modern art gallery; guests to the bar are screened at entry to make sure that they fit with the hotel clientele.

Where can we eat and drink?

The hotel’s restaurant on the sixth floor (which was added to the original building, and offers soaring ceilings and sweeping views over the neighbouring rooftops) might just be Chelsea’s best-kept secret. The space unfolds into three different rooms, where guests curl up in low-slung chairs upholstered in rich red among hundreds of porcelain vases hand-selected by Graf himself. Dine on a menu of French classics with an Asian twist: crispy Vietnamese spring rolls, salmon tartare, and apple tart are served by waitresses who could all easily pass as models.

Are there any stand-out touches worth mentioning?

At Sloane functions more like a private house than a hotel. Luggage is whisked away as soon as you step inside, and a formal reception desk is eschewed in favour of plush sofas set among a candlelit library. There are over 800 books in the hotel, and returning guests can even request a curated selection of books to peruse in their room, whether that’s journals from The School of Life, or art-inspired tomes from nearby galleries. Once upstairs in the comfort of your room, the hotel team are all just an iPad touch away, whether you fancy room service or need to bag a restaurant reservation in the neighbourhood.

Tell us about the neighbourhood

You’ll be located in one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, with plenty of shops and sights worth exploring on your doorstep. Wander the boutiques along Sloane Street, or head over to the King’s Road for some of the best retail therapy in the city. For culture buffs, the Saatchi Gallery and V&A Museum are both a short stroll away – as is Pavilion Road, which is home to a smattering of restaurants (a tempting Ottolenghi deli and Granger & Co. among them), along with Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis Clinic offering some of the best facials in the city.

What else should we know before we go?

The va-va-voom bar in the basement is the antithesis of the airy restaurant upstairs; on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, descend downstairs for some hedonistic fun. You’ll find a DJ spinning decks from a 19th-century vintage desk, as a stylish crowd sip on cocktails and sink into theatre chairs that have been repurposed as secretive snugs. Only hotel residents are welcome to stay past 11pm, and all guests turning up at the non-resident door are screened before entry.

What to pack

You’ll want stylish but comfortable walking shoes around Chelsea, like this pair of leather and suede trimmed sneakers from Toteme. Leather trousers are a versatile piece you can wear day or night, and a trench coat is a sartorial style staple that will make any outfit look polished. Don’t forget a lightweight knit for colder spring days, Reformation’s cashmere collection is worth the investment. Gemma Louise Deeks.

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