You’d be forgiven for living a lifetime in London and never knowing that Chelsea Harbour even exists. But this exclusive and peaceful haven is well worth a visit.
Chelsea Harbour – served by Imperial Wharf overground station – is a small development set around a marina full of luxury boats and dreamy yachts. The Chelsea Harbour Hotel stands at the helm.
It’s the perfect spot for tourists who are keen to explore the city but seek a quiet, high-end hotel to call home, but it’s also an ideal retreat for city dwellers looking for a space to unwind and relax away from the hustle and bustle of central London just three miles upstream.
I arrived on a cold, crisp night and was greeted by a shiny, scarlet Ferrari and classic black cab framing the hotel’s entrance; a perfect symbol for what lies inside the doors at this lavish five-star hotel which embraces it’s Britishness and prime London location.
After a quick check-in at guest relation services, I was off to the fifth-floor and my own marina-view suite (the hotel is home only to deluxe, stylish suites). The vast suite is bigger than most London apartments with the door opening onto a marble-floored hallway with a loo, then leading into a large living area with a comfortable lounge, flat-screen TV and bar.
The desk looks through patio doors out onto a generously-sized balcony with fabulous views through the masts of the marina’s residents below. For our girly getaway we opted for a twin room and had two large single beds with comfy linens and another TV (ideal for our late-night showing of Pitch Perfect!).
Through the dressing area is the grand ensuite; his and hers marble sinks are surrounded by a huge 180 degree vanity mirror, the hot rain shower was the perfect way to wake up before a sunny morning exploring the marina while the bath tub and Co Bigelow products were the ideal way to unwind at the end of a busy day.
We freshened up and started our evening with drinks in the swanky, sophisticated hotel bar; The Harbour Bar & Terrace. As the name would suggest, the trendy venue offers indoor and outdoor dining and drinking throughout the day.
On Saturdays, the bar is filled with music as the grand piano takes centre stage and revellers enjoy chatting over a cocktail or a coffee. The informal Italian-inspired menu offers diners all-day options from salads to paninis. Next door is the formal dining restaurant Chelsea Riverside Brasserie.
Few hotels in London boast a river view so the Harbour Hotel makes the most at every opportunity. Both The Harbour Bar & Terrace and Chelsea Riverside Brasserie have al fresco dining available to guests who wish to sit outside and take in the views. During the winter months, window tables can be reserved for guests who want to eat without compromising the views of the twinkling lights on the boats.
The brasserie’s refined Coast to Coast menu is inspired by its waterside spot, with the very best fish and seafood dishes alongside alternative options. We had warm homemade bread and salted butter while we perused the menu and tried to choose between all of the appetising meals. I started with the delicious, rich crab bisque – packed full of warm, fishy flavours – and the perfect complement to the sweet, stick salmon and soy glaze that followed.
The entrees don’t come with many accompaniments so I’d recommend choosing some sides; we opted for the crispy onion potatoes and sprouting broccoli which were both extremely tasty and seasoned very well. Despite being full to bursting, we knew we couldn’t miss out on dessert so I opted for the hot chocolate pudding with ice cream which was sweet and light.
The brasserie – which also hosts Afternoon Tea daily from 12.30pm to 4.30pm – serves the Coast to Coast menu, by renowned chef Steve Tonkin, daily between 12 noon and 2.30pm for lunch, and 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner. Chocolate truffles and chocolate-covered strawberries (a generous gift from the 24-hour concierce) greeted us on our return upstairs and were the perfect treat as we donned our PJs and settled in for the night.
The warm sun bounces off the rippling water and streams through the windows while guests enjoy a vibrant buffet of cereals, fresh fruit, breads and pastries. I started off my day with a glass of sweet fresh orange juice and tucked into a creamy yoghurt with crunchy granola and sugary berries.
Sampling some of the international options, I enjoyed some tabouleh and hummus before finishing up with a fruity flapjack. Hot drinks are served to the table and you can also choose from hot options such as eggs and waffles.
After a relaxed stroll around the harbour and along the riverfront, it was time to try out the hotel’s spa and fitness centre. The Blue Harbour spa, gym and Figaro hair salon occupy the lower floors of the 10-storey building (that, the more I gazed at it across the glistening water, resembled a classy cruise ship).
The fully-equipped gym boasts weights, cross-trainers and treadmills, and provides the perfect space to work up a sweat. A small café area sits beside the gym and the spa reception where friendly staff are available to assist guests. We headed straight to the pool; a large, azure pool with sun loungers perched along the edge – although it took us a while to find it!
A separate lift shaft serves the spa and pool, with reception on the lower floor and the changing rooms and pool a floor above. A small sauna and steam room provide intimate wellness spaces for relaxation and recuperation after a busy day exploring London’s best landmarks and tourist attractions.
The Chelsea Harbour Hotel – part of the Millennium Hotels Group – is inspired by its location; a secret, hidden gem in the huge crown of London. It’s well worth finding your way over to this precious hotel, tucked away in a secluded spot in west London. You may find you never want to leave.
Marina View Suites with breakfast cost from £270 per room per night for an autumn weeknight stay.
Address: The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, Chelsea Harbour Drive, Fulham SW10 0XG
Phone: 020 7823 3000