Q: What is it? A: This club house comes with a great bar in the basement, a well working bistro on the ground floor, and first and foremost; superb rooms and the service level you’d come to expect. Also, it’s Chiswick, not Piccadilly Circus, which means that you get a lot for your hard-earned, hard-taxed money!
I wasn’t too thrilled to stay in the ‘burbs…
I was never a fan of Trafalgar Square. On the contrary, I’ve tended to like the less central parts of London more and more, but taking a look at the map of Chiswick definitely made me think twice. Expectations were low. Nor did I find any comfort in the address, although the Chiswick High Road is, along with the Piccadilly and District lines, the main artery of Chiswick. But staying in a suburb? Not my idea of a London weekend. Luckily for me, I was all wrong.
Putting my faith in the man behind Soho House.
Nick Jones is the man behind the High Road House. He is also the man behind the Soho House empire which now consists of five properties in and around London and of course the Soho House New York in the Meatpacking District. According to people who are in, ahem… the industry, he has quite a magic touch. So I decided to put my trust in Nick this weekend.
First of all; this is not a hotel. It’s more a bed and brasserie with rather small rooms. But these rooms are everything you’d like a room to be. Beds are a dream. The shaker-inspired design by Ilse Crawford works fine (there’s no shortage of knobs and hooks to hang your stuff on) and in my room there was only a shower but a superb one. But it’s when you start to explore the public areas of this member’s club hangout, that you will understand why it’s sometimes tricky to get yourself a room here (plus; there are only 14 of them). This is a city retreat and as such it works very fine.
It’s a hangout for kids in the daytime. Don’t be alarmed.
You won’t be prepared for the sound. It is like a high-pitched roar. Down in the basement, doors were opened to the Playground. In the evenings this is an area where adults meet, greet and start little mating routines. In short; it’s a pretty cool bar with the red monster leather couches that designer Ilse Crawford seem to fancy. In the daytime during weekends the kids take over and I assure you it’s mayhem. Hence the roar. The staff is providing the little rascals with toys and you’d better go upstairs to have a drink. I later learned that this has been the favourite hang-out for the media players with their families. Well-to-do young couples are over-represented in Chiswick and for sure, most of the people you meet try hard to look like they are taking a Sunday stroll, regardless of the time and day.
Every public space works well.
It’s about the staff. It always is. The starch-clad staff in the member’s bar are superb, turning an afternoon snack/drink or even breakfast into a relaxed and pleasant pitstop where you fuel up and decide what your next step of relaxation will be. Dinner at the High Road Brasserie is much better than just OK, although this evening the place was suffering from being absolutely packed. It looks and feels fine though, and the food is good in a rather rustic, no-nonsense fashion. Take my advice: Order the scallops.
It’s also a blessing to, while asking for a late check-out in order to better match the flight out of London, expecting one extra hour and then being offered five. This is of course subject to availability but it says a lot about how this place works. You’re being treated like an important guest. Always. Even if you’re not a member.
Nearest tube: Turnham Green
High Road House
162 Chiswick High Road
London W4 1PR
I booked it through www.mrandmrssmith.com.
I’d better add one thing: This is one of the places in London I’d recommend if you’re on a budget. You will have to take a cab or the tube to get into the central parts of London but in my opinion it’s well worth it. You might even start to appreciate the western London suburbs.
Thanks to Greg I will also visit the pub The Raven (375 Goldhawk Road) the next time I’m around.