Clerkenwell’s Zetter Hotel is a design dream with one of the coolest London penthouse studios I’ve been lucky enough to stay in. I visited this personality-driven hotel for a special review, and discovered that along with top-class rooms, it just so happens to have a great restaurant and workspace too.
I checked into The Zetter Hotel on one of the hottest days of the year so far, and it just so happened to be a special occasion. With numerous trips overlapping, my partner and I hadn’t seen each other for several weeks… and now we had 26 hours together before we split off on our individual Canadian adventures. I’d seen some great photos of the hip boutique hotel and thought it would be a fun location for our reunion!
The Zetter Hotel: Check In
There’s a smart-casual vibe to this hotel. The lobby area was chic and urban with a huge plant motif arching its way around the lifts, retro telephone on the counter and curvy, statement architecture leading to the restaurant and bar. The staff were relaxed and friendly, and excited to describe our room as ‘the best room in the house’. ‘Wow,’ I thought! Adrenaline kicked in as we rode the lift to our top floor home for the night – room 503.
The Zetter Hotel: The Room
The top floor rooms each benefit from outside space, and our room for the night had an enormous terrace. But before I tell you about that, lets take a look at the room itself.
With Scandi-cool geometric design, funky prints on the wall, retro radio, old books and stylish lighting, it impressed instantly! I loved the way we had to go up a few illuminated stairs to reach our curved bedroom area, while the bathroom was tucked away to one side. Along with a large double bed covered in a stylish woollen throw, we had a desk area, two comfy chairs and a minibar and Nespresso Machine. The minibar was stocked with high-end snacks and drinks, and the icing on the cake were the three bottles of spirits made by the East London Liquor Company.
Other surprises included a cute woolly hot water bottle and REN toiletries in the bathroom – always one of my favourite brands. The Zetter branded dressing gown (with Zzzs on it!) and slippers were fluffy and enticing. I couldn’t wait to lounge around in them the next morning!
The Zetter Hotel: The Terrace
And so to the terrace! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I clocked the bright aqua colour scheme of the table and chairs. My favourite colour… and as you’ll see from the pics below, the exact shade of my laptop case. I was almost camouflaged! With two sun loungers, several chairs and a table, it was a great area for relaxing after our day in the city. We enjoyed the balmy London sunshine (26 degrees no less), and watched as magic hour illuminated the top of the Shard, the Gherkin and the Victorian warehouse buildings surrounding us. What a location!
Really making the most of the warm weather, we returned to the terrace after dinner, snuggling up under a blanket and enjoying a glass of red wine while people watching from our home in the sky.
The Zetter Hotel: The Food
On the ground floor is Club Zetter Wine Room & Kitchen – a buzzy restaurant with a great all day menu. While many hotel restaurants are tucked away and just visited by those staying, this hotel is nice and prominent from the street, thus receiving plenty of guests all day long. Unsurprisingly, the big focus is the wine, and at Zetter they offer wine on tap (a revolutionary new technique which is not only more eco-friendly, but also gives a brighter, fresher taste) and use the Corovin system (a way of taking wine from a bottle without removing the cork allowing them to offer really fine wines by the glass).
Accompanying our 3-course dinner, we enjoyed a lovely carafe of the Spanish Albariño followed by a fruity, full-bodied French red. So what was the food like?
While I really loved the restaurant’s décor with colourful velvet chairs, smart curved bar and bookcase centrepiece, I had wondered if this would just be gastropub fare. Thankfully, it exceeded these expectations. We started with the English asparagus, and crispy hens egg, which was elegantly presented and seasoned beautifully. Meanwhile, my partner enjoyed the Isle of White tomatoes with smoked mackerel.
For my main course, I couldn’t resist the dry aged Hereford rib-eye steak with triple cooked chips, watercress and béarnaise sauce. Cooked medium, it was seasoned to really bring out all the punch of the meaty flavours. The chips were super crisp and the béarnaise melted in my mouth. My plate was returned to the kitchen clean!
Meanwhile my partner ordered roast Cornish cod, seaweed crushed potatoes, creamed mussels and sea herbs. This dish really brought to life all the flavours of the sea. The cod fell away in delicate flakes while the mussel sauce was flavoursome, particularly against the salty samphire and seaweed. For me it was that little bit too salty, but I often find that with seafood!
We finished with the Amalfi lemon posset, topped with raspberry compote and two warm vanilla beignets. After my time in New Orleans, I knew all about beignets (a French-style donut) although these were like fingers rather than the squares I had grown used to. The posset was on the runny side, but had a great flavour, and cut through the richness of our previous courses. We were glad we didn’t have far to go to reach our room for the night!
The next morning we enjoyed a relaxed brunch in the restaurant, with coffee, eggs benedict, smashed avocado and poached eggs. It was all cooked very well, and I loved the big slathering of olive oil on the sourdough bread.
The Zetter Hotel: The Area
Farringdon and Clerkenwell aren’t popular tourist spots, but there’s a real neighbourhood vibe. St John’s Square next to the hotel has a couple of great cafés and restaurants, meanwhile across the road is a Brewdog pub and the Clerkenwell Social. It’s very easy to get into Central London, or you can walk to St Paul’s or Shoreditch in a matter of minutes. I love staying in areas like this as you have the option to delve into the touristy areas, but you can escape to a quieter, secret spot at night.
I’d definitely recommend checking out The Zetter Hotel if you’re visiting London. It was a lovely perfect way to round off our reunion in London! And if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, take a look at the luxurious suites on the top floor. If the weather is nice, those terraces are magical!
The Zetter Hotel, St John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 5RJ.
Rooms from £275 per night. Check out the latest offers here.
Thanks to the team at The Zetter Hotel for inviting me along for this review. As always, opinions are my own.
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