Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

The Halkin by COMO

United Kingdom

Elegant rooms with contemporary, Italian-inspired design and every 5 star luxury

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The Halkin by COMO


Halkin Street, London, SW1

Travel Information

London City airport - 35 mins
London Heathrow - 45 mins
London Gatwick - 1 hour 10
Nearest Tube - Hyde Park Corner

Top Tips

Ask for a suite with a terrace, for enchanting residential views

5-Star X-Factors

Michelin-starred restaurant Ametsa with Arzak Instruction


The holistic Halkin
Silence is golden


The holistic Halkin
Silence is golden

The holistic Halkin

Having tied myself up in knots for the week, I was really looking forward to some serene pampering and top-notch service from the Halkin by COMO. As these trips are about the cuisine as much as the pleasant surroundings, it occurred to me that a Shambhala massage might be the perfect start to what was bound to be a gastronomic feast at Ametsa that evening.

The Metropolitan, only a few minutes away, is the sister hotel to the Halkin and has one of the world-renowned COMO Shambhala spas on its lower ground level. I arranged for Mario a tattoo strewn spiritual masseur, with forearms stronger and more prettily clad than David Beckham's and an intrinsic understanding of both the technique and the bad-back-knot-situation on the upper torso to be my fix. The Shambhala massage is about long deep strong strokes and essential invigorating oils. It really was the perfect antidote to a stressful week and, after a blissful hour, I was well and truly 'Shambhalad' as I made my way over to the serene sister hotel.

Exclusive setting

The Halkin sits perfectly in perhaps the most exclusive postcode of London: SW1, in Belgravia. The area is made up of Georgian buildings, the most magnificent architectural period, with plane trees lining most sidewalks and a patrician ambiance resonating in the expensive air. Although within easy access of shops, being between Knightsbridge and Mayfair, the Halkin is a calm retreat from all the bustle and high street hustle.

The hotel is pleasingly contemporary in style with a zen vibe in Armani hues. It is cool and light in a city that can often make you feel heavy and tired, and for this reason it has a reputation for being both relaxing and inspiriting. This it certainly is; but what stands out most remarkably at this London haven is the outstanding service. There is good service, on-the-button and impeccable, but this service comes with a genuine congeniality and unforced smiles that are truly uplifting.

We had a king size studio room on the first floor which was spacious, extremely comfortable and 21st century with fabulous attention to detail, both technically and caressingly. Here you will find an L-shaped leather sofa and chair at one end and an enormous, perfectly dressed bed at the other. It really is a great escape within London, which induces a nourishing sleep in Egyptian cotton with goose-down pillows and the very best wake-up cappuccino, including those we've had in Italy.

The Halkin Bar is a great place to socialise, and we did just this with two intrepid luxury travellers and members of Luxury Explorer from Hong Kong. They loved The Halkin, Nahm and everything COMO being regulars at the Metropolitan in Bangkok and it was quite liberating to be in a bar where we could chat across a table of olives and cocktails as we slunk down in cream leather chairs, not even registering any smoke or traffic.

Basque-ing in glory

Ametsa is astonishingly good. To replace Nahm may have felt like a tough act to follow but Spain has triumphed along with a Michelin star. It’s a family affair at Ametsa, otherwise referred to as Ametsa with Arzak Instruction.  Elena Arzak, a highly awarded and acclaimed chef, heads up the kitchen with her father and mentor Juan Mari Arzak along with their skilled, hand plucked team from the Basque region.

The philosophy here is one of 'new Basque cuisine' with an emphasis on earthy flavours and exquisite surprises. The dishes here are modern and memorable, like you’ve never seen or tasted in London before, and that’s what makes it an experience beyond expectation. It’s a real treat and the service is excellent.

The restaurant’s interiors are inspired by the original Arzak in San Sebastian, which has three Michelin stars. The idea of exposed elements and raw esthetics is inviting and interesting and, like the food, extremely original. Of particular note is the ceiling, where lines of spice-filled test tube receptacles hang in golden and sand-coloured sweeping waves.

We chose the dinner tasting menu, which is well worth it, but keep your appetite on reserve because you will fuel it in the most fantastical fashion. And, if like us you choose the accompanying wine choices, paired insightfully by the sommelier, then just sit pretty and enjoy the ride.

We had succulent duck with a parsley meringue; a perfect piece of cod consumed with truffle; scallops so pert and sweet with a cream reduction; langoustine (perhaps my favourite) on a bed of pureed lychees; a divine egg poached and deep fried on flavoured crumbs with a light derivative of hollandaise poured from above, and a suckling pig you could have cut with your side plate. The puddings were sublime, too.

Each course is not only a treat on the eye, its delivery is enjoyably theatrical. It surprises and delights, entertains and educates, and all with a sprinkling of magic, because there is nowhere else like it in London. 

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Silence is golden

I stayed here on 29 September when the globe had seemingly turned upside down. It was 30 degrees at 3pm on my uber-sexy, wooden-decked terrace. Where was I again? I was at The Halkin, in London's beauteous Belgravia, overlooking a quaint mews, a super stylish residential block, manicured gardens, quirky Victorian rooftops with mismatched chimneys, all set beneath a glorious St Tropez-blue sky.

Now, London will not always offer up such weather, but inside the Halkin, it feels positively halcyon. There is something about this bijoux Belgravia hotel that allows you to feel completely at ease while maintaining an Armani allure. It possesses a distinctive calm that flows unencumbered throughout all the spaces from the airy lobby to the COMO suites.

This 'calm' is a carefully orchestrated Christina Ong-inspired blend where slick, contemporary style, combines with a unique COMO culture. The award-winning concept, COMO Shambhala, is also on hand to heal at all COMO's properties. The net result of such a bespoke and luxuriously honed synthesis is described by discerning guests as an 'oasis' or 5-star 'sanctuary' in the heart of posh London.

The Halkin was purpose-built as a hotel, complementing its neighbours in impeccable style with its Georgian façade, weathered brick exterior, Portland stone arched windows and smooth entrance. With only 41 rooms and suites it does feel intimate, yet it offers a service to rival its nearby goliaths. Checking-in is a discreet and swift affair in a lobby that feels more grand residential than internationally acclaimed hotel.

A space-maximising concept was used here, known as the 'Expansion of Space' (please don't shoot the messenger), and is demonstrated by the soaring atrium ceiling along with an open-plan layout. You are not overwhelmed here, you simply succumb.

Totally como-tose

The walk from the lift to the suite along a corridor of black undulating curves, made from black corrugated wood, with soft cream carpet underfoot, is nothing if not transporting. The discreet doors are nestled in there somewhere but a soft directional light guides you to your keyhole.

It was love at first feel for me, and not because I immediately dropped my jaw at some outstanding piece of furniture or swanky décor, it was because it felt right. It oozed chill-out with sensual, simple, stylish sophistication.

My 'bedroom' paid homage to its namesake: a separate boudoir designed for sleep, with double aspect windows, plenty of wardrobe space, dressing table, plus another flat-screen placed at the perfect height for a movie in bed. The beauty for me lay in its subtle dressing, in creamy soft tones, while the technology was ahead of the game. The king-size bed looked utterly scrumptious, plumped high in goose down from the pillows to the duvet and clothed in the finest of Egyptian cotton. It did not disappoint.

The bathroom was a compact haven in toffee and caramel-coloured marble, with a spacious walk-in-shower, a deep bathtub, twin-vanity units, mist free mirrors and bottles of those all coveted Como Shambhala potions.

The sitting room (bearing in mind that this feels like a well-proportioned apartment rather than a suite), had a melting vibe all of its own with the other large flat-screen TV. These suites are located on the third and fourth floor and the living area benefits from a magical surplus of natural light that floods in from the expanse of conservatory-style windows. However, for the photophobic there are blinds to shut out daylight altogether, at the flick of a switch. Yet, at night the room turns into an exceptionally snug and intimate affair: an impressive venue for private dining.

Uncluttered appeal

It is soothing on the eye in a palette of creamy white and wooden hues, and its minimalist feel, using high spec fittings and fabrics, makes exceptional use of the space. This uncluttered design is extremely luxurious for those who have to deal with too much 'stuff' in their home life, while the mini bars, tucked strategically into a Pomele Sapele veneered cabinet, are packed with a selection of the most exotic labels you have not yet heard of, and those you have.

But the pièce de résistance of my now 'personalised' suite was the private terrace. Suitably sized and discreet, with enchanting residential views, it was the perfect spot to celebrate the balmy Indian summer. Besides, the only sound was that of a distant bark from a dog. That is special. 

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer