It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and so I thought I’ll tell you about my recent trip to London where I thought I’d take full advantage of the Virgin Trains East Coast 1st class seat sale (it would be rude not to) and save my other half from his regular commute home from a week of working in the city. Having finished work early on a Friday afternoon, I jumped on the train from York down to London and settled into my seat with my headphones in and a Gin & Tonic to ease myself into the weekend. We had the intention of a nice chilled weekend, catching up with friends and finding a nice pub for a meal and a few drinks, or so i thought. As a rolled into London around 6.00pm (by which point I’d found myself slipping my 4th gratis Gin & Tonic) I gathered my luggage (not one to pack light) and prepared myself for the rush hour dash on the ThamesLink to Wimbledon – still oblivious to tonights change of plan.
I stepped onto the platform and made a swift exit towards St. Pancras before i was surprisingly greeted by my other half stood waiting for me. A little confused, as we had already planned to meet in Wimbledon, he took one of my bags and began to head for the tube, telling me that we just need to call somewhere on the way back. Assured we were not going straight for dinner and that we would first be dropping my bags off and would have time to change, we headed to the tube for Liverpool Street. Four stops later we were there and as I fought my way through the commuter crowd with my case I was battling against my inner Verruca Salt from shouting ‘I just want to go and drop my bags off!’. However I decided best to reign in the red mist and just walk, ‘not far’ … ‘nearly there’ … etc. We soon arrived at a cool little square, buzzing with the after work city crowd enjoying drinks in the sunshine, and were stood outside a discreet entrance to a building called the Devonshire Club, which i soon realised was a small boutique hotel that Dave had booked us into as a surprise for the evening.
In case you haven’t heard of it, The Devonshire Club is a recently opened private members club with a boutique hotel bolted on (one of several that seem to be popping up all over London at the moment) which contains a range of bars, restaurants, lounges, a health club and stylish accommodation that you can make use of only if you are a member or staying at the hotel. We wandered through the dark and dramatic mirrored reception towards the gold lifts and up to our room on the 3rd floor where we were greeted with a view of the Gherkin.
The room was softly lit using lamps to highlight the key features and the bed was beautifully dressed with stark white bedding, a mustard velvet throw and adorned with complimentary cushions against the towering upholstered headboard. The bed sat against a feature wall of red and white heavily patterned wallpaper, which, although very busy, actually worked very well against the soft lighting and clean lines of the white bedside tabled. In front of the floor to ceiling windows and the dark grey woollen drapery sat two grey upholstered occasion chairs and a dark oak circular end table. There was a matching dark oak desk/dressing table positioned to the corner of the room with an orangey peach velvet tub chair and was finished with a retro desk lamp. The bathroom was kept minimal but effective with a dark wooden vanity unit, vertical grey brick tiles and large rainfall shower, however the large glazed shower was poorly designed. The shower door hit the large pan rainfall shower head as it opened and the shower controls were tucked behind the door in the corner of the shower making it impossible to turn on the shower without first fully entering, shuffling around and closing the door. Looking beyond the shower issue, the room was not, as is the case in many hotels, a case of style over substance but the finer details and the little touches that make it special were all taken care of – a smart tv with an Apple TV box, a nespresso machine with a range of coffee pods and a complimentary mini bar of premium soft drinks and snacks. If I had one complaint with the room it would be the lack of a kettle and a decent sized cup to enable me to have a proper cup of tea, which, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know is essential to my day to day living! Using a nespresso machine to get hot water didn’t feel right and the small coffee cups, whilst perfectly adequate for an espresso shot, don’t really allow for a decent brew!
Having been impressed by the room, we decided to have some pre-dinner drinks in the Champagne bar where a DJ was playing some chilled tunes getting us in the mood for the weekend. Located next to the reception area, the Champagne Bar follows the same design concept as the room with a similar, albeit more muted range of colours, and was eclectically furnished with a combination of seating. A mixture of bright velvet sofas and armchairs sat against a selection of more sofas and chairs in muted creams and greys, with the tables and sideboards all kept to the same dark wood. The lighting was kept soft with use of ceiling spot lights and gold floor lamps that all bounced stunningly off the gold and mirror clad bar. Aside from the amazing large white and blue splatter effect floor rugs (one of which I definitely need!) , the room was dominated by a large high gloss gold sculpture of a naked male placed in the middle of the entry staircase.
Through from the champagne bar was the bright and vibrant Garden room. This orangery style room was furnished with squishy white cushioned sofas and chairs with a consistant dark wood frames placed on bright hot pink and red rugs. The room was made vibrant with a plethora of luxurious hot pink armchairs and green velvet nursing chairs , a scattering of beautiful House of Hackney cushions and a collection of carefully placed palms. The Garden room glazing unsurprisingly has a view out to the well maintained courtyard but also allows you to see into my favourite of the rooms in the club, the Brasserie.
The Brasserie is where we had breakfast and is definitely my favourite of the rooms at the Devonshire Club due to its fresh clean look that for me is just the right balance of modern and homage to a period French brasserie. This light room was dominated by the white marble and high shined gold bar oyster bar which was finished with perfectly spaced matching gold bar lamps and bright yellow leather bar stools (we all know I am a ambassador for yellow!). The yellow was highlighted and enhanced by the navy patterned chairs that filled the restaurant floor like a sea against the stark white table cloths. The breakfast, when I took my eyes of the room, was lovely as were the very attentive staff, with free flowing tea and coffee (always a winner in my opinion!), a buffet selection of fresh fruit, pastries and cereal already laden on the bar combined with a cooked breakfast option, all included in the room package. We both opted for the full cooked breakfast option.
After enjoying the relaxing and very satisfying breakfast we went on a search for the other bars and lounges to have a look at them as they had all disappointingly been closed on the Friday evening when it would have been the perfect end to s relaxed summer evening to have been able to enjoy a cocktail in the Cocktail Bar or Library. On our search we found our way to the Causerie on the first floor, a long narrow room leading to the Cocktail bar. The Causerie looked a great place to sit back and relax with a selection of magazines and daily newspapers placed on the tables alongside the numerous bookcases that lined the walls of room. The Causerie was divided into sections by the use of seating and this elective room was perfectly busy with a lot of beautifully designed furniture cleverly arranged. The room was embellished with colourful floor rugs, quirky artist ornaments and dramatic floral arrangements to finish it off perfectly.
Having found a member of staff in the hall, I asked if it would be possible to have a quick peak at the locked up cocktail bar. He was more than happy to show me the room and, as he opened the double doors from the Causerie, the light flooded in from the bright and airy Cocktail Bar which was drenched in sunlight from the large glazed windows. The sunlight ricocheted off the silver embossed wallpaper and glossy blue marble wall that backed the bar catching the gold accents of the bar stool and picture frames. As I walked in I was instantly drawn to my left where a glossy black grand piano sat reflecting the stunning Matthew Williamson feather floor lamp. The bar was furnished elegantly with a collection of soft teal and brown seating which married well to the neutral decor and natural lighting. Not wanting to keep the gentleman from his duties, it was a brief ooh and ahh for me as I made my way back to the lift through the Causerie, when a spotted the jaw dropping House of Hackney decorated staircase.
We continued our exploration of the club and stumbled across the gym (which after a full breakfast wasn’t an option for us on this occasion!), but we still unfortunately couldn’t find the Library bar and so a little disappointed by the fact that not all facilities were available on the day we stayed, we gathered our luggage and headed to reception to check out. The Devonshire Club was an amazing surprise and I would definitely recommend it to other interior enthusiasts. Hopefully if I get to visit again I’d be able to experience all of the areas and facilities this great new addition to the City has to offer.