If Marylebone was a person, I think it would be a wayward, rather eccentric uncle. Clothed in a tweed jacket with elbow patches, a handlebar mustache and pipe hanging from his lips, he would smell faintly of earth and whiskey, tell fantastic tales of otherworldly adventures and always have a smile in his eyes. He would bring quirky, luxury gifts with faraway stories, read newspapers with intensity and then disappear again with a moments notice. He would know all the best places for everything, stride along Marylebone High Street with aplomb and sip black coffee with just a touch of cream (none of those fancy Flat White things).
Why am I blathering on like this? Possibly just because I have a over active imagination, and possibly because it’s entirely possible to spot characters just like this whilst frequenting W1. With this in mind, a couple of weeks ago a sunny staycation with a few hours exploring the quirky, quiet Marylebone area was just what the doctor ordered. We awoke late, packed an overnight satchel each, hopped on a train and booked ourselves in to a much needed back massage at the experienced hands of a Marylebone spa. Stretched and soothed into expressions glowing with relaxation, we floated (well, it felt that way) along the road to check-in to the Montagu Place Hotel as our home for the evening.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Montagu Place Hotel, but my (very many) opinions
are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I
wouldn’t happily revisit – in fact I’d quite like to move in there…
I adore Marylebone. A pocket of slightly eccentric surburbia, nestled
alongside Oxford Street, we often find ourselves gravitating towards the leafy streets of W1 on a weekend. There is everything you could want;
international restaurants, wood-panelled bookstores, passionate
specialty food larders, a dearth of chain stores, specialist coffee shops (no chains here, baby) and a scatter of
beautiful boutique shops – all presented with a lovely polish of luxury.
Montagu Place very much embodies these values. A recently refurbished Georgian townhouse 5 minutes walk from Baker Street, each of the rooms seem to have period features combined with a luxurious level of modern convenience. Our ‘Fancy’ room was on the third floor, and after jumping up the stairs (there is no lift, calves be warned), we sunk with joy into the beautifully firm bed.
We especially adored the subtle touches of luxury and care; a 2-cup cafetiere for coffee, ornate table lamps with plenty of pillow-side phone chargers (essential for Tweeting and instagram addictions y’know), Molton Brown shampoo and conditioners, plenty of towels (especially necessary when you’re a girl of long hair), a collection of recent magazines and fantastic water pressure. We both felt like we were living in our own little luxury townhouse paradise.
Included because bathrooms sell houses I’m told… behind the door is an enormous shower…
Bordered with tube stations and arterial bus routes – but no real public
through traffic – Montagu Place is a quiet oasis of calm within 10
minutes walk to Oxford Street. We overlooked Mary-Poppins-esque rows of chimney pots delighting my expat heart, and were around the corner from 34 Montagu Square – the ground and lower ground floor flat owned by Ringo Starr of the Beatles.
Chim-chiminy, chim-chiminy, chim-chim-chiree…
Some of the joy of a London staycation is a total lack of pressure. There’s no need to be awake at the crack of dawn for exploring, no requirement to rush around chasing away FOMO and absolutely no chores to be done. Once unpacked, we pottered over to one of the many local pubs for a very British pint or two (that would be the Mr not me) where locals were greeted and had their tipple of choice poured as they crossed the threshold, we agonized over the choice of local restaurants to dine in (sadly we ended up having below-expectation, over-hyped burgers – our bad own choice) and popped back to the hotel for a quick glass and laugh with the concierge at the hotel.
Suitably tired, we pootled up to our warm, lovely room and simply sunk our tired bones in for the evening as twilight fell. Breakfast the next morning was almost too pretty to eat – warm croissants and scrambled eggs soon filling our plates with freshly made coffee steaming by the side. The staff were unconditionally friendly (the cook laughingly chiding another couple who didn’t have coffee) and couldn’t have been more helpful, even giving us a map with shopping recommendations (causing Mr Kiwi’s eyebrows to disappear into his hairline).
We do love discovering new nooks and crannies like this stunning row of terrace houses overlooking the Chiltern Firehouse…
…but the best thing about a cosy staycation?