Picture it: after a hard day of sightseeing, you come in from Oxford Circus to relax in your hotel room. A server hands you a glass of champagne as you enter; the on-hand floor steward brings you some food; you sit back in the bath and relax, before getting ready to head down to a sumptuous Italian dinner.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, then The BoTree is the place to be. Central London’s newest and ritziest hotel, it opened its doors for the first time last week and is already drawing in guests with its promise of ‘conscious luxury’, personalised service and gorgeously-designed rooms. And that’s before we mention its flagship restaurant Lavo, which is an argument in itself.
With thirty suites and 199 rooms to choose from, it’s paradise for anybody wanting a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets outside — but easy access to the capital’s best hotspots. Here’s what you need to know.
There can’t be a better spot for a hotel than the one The BoTree now occupies: situated right at the intersection of Soho, Marylebone and Mayfair, a bare hundred metres from the buzzing crowds of Oxford Circus, it combines the best of all worlds (as well as easy access to Selfridge’s and John Lewis, both of which are five minutes away on foot).
Come here to have fun in the evenings in one of Mayfair’s many high-end restaurants and relax in the mornings with a cup of coffee on Marylebone’s gorgeous high street. For central London living, you can’t get better – and though you might think it could get loud in the evenings, the soundproofing in the rooms is truly excellent. Shut the windows and block the world out.
The BoTree aims to be the last word in ‘conscious luxury’, and so it proves here: the décor combines the classy and refined (think marble floors, floor to ceiling windows, pristine glass surfaces) with pops of colour and quirky design.
Owned by hotel company Place III, the hotel’s name is a play on the spiritual bodhi tree; that is, the fig tree that Buddha sat underneath to meditate and achieve enlightenment. Needless to say, fig motifs are dotted all over the hotel, from the artwork to the steel girders (repurposed from the site’s previous life as a car park) climbing gracefully around the hotel entrance.
It’s when you get inside, though, that the real fun begins. The ground floor was designed by famous Amsterdam architects Concrete, who have gone to town with the brief – and done away with the reception area entirely – combining coloured glass walls and endless mirrors with low-slung lounge chairs to create a space that feels almost more like a high-end living room than a lobby. Here, guests don’t simply check in: they get served champagne (or cocktails) from the free-standing bar by the front door while a smiling member of staff sits down with them, iPad in hand, to sort out the particulars.
London itself has also been championed here, as has sustainability. There are floor-to-ceiling paintings on each floor landing (inspired, I was told, by both Alexander McQueen and the Marylebone Pleasure Gardens; sure), vegan Jo Loves (by the designer Jo Malone) products in the bathrooms and sculptures from local artists in the lobby (including a rather fetching fig tree made from reused coffee cups).
And the rooms? Despite being a tad small – it’s London, after all, space is at a premium – they’re beautifully laid out, with lashings of colour on the walls above the (vegan leather) headboards, fresh flowers on every surface and bedsheets so white they blind the eye. Plus, it’s a crime not to test out the recycled fabric bathrobes: they feel like being hugged by a cloud.
Food & drink
This is really The BoTree’s ace in the hole. The hotel (which has partnered with Tao Group Hospitality for its catering) plays host to the first-ever UK branch of chic Italian restaurant Lavo. Situated in a gorgeous plant-filled space on the ground floor, Lavo becomes a candlelit wonderland once the sun goes down – its allure was so strong that the restaurant, we were told, had been fully booked for the past few days, mostly by people who weren’t even staying there.
It’s easy to see why. The menu offers up the Italian food of dreams, albeit with a slightly American twist: the supersized Wagyu beef meatball starter was indecently good, slathered as it was in heaps of ricotta and tomato sauce – as was the pasta main course of ox cheek agnolotti with saffron and sage sauce, topped with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
And do make the space for dessert, if you can, if only to attempt the mountain that is the 20-layer peanut butter and chocolate cake. Or, indeed, the affogato, which comes served in a massive ice block… the list goes on.
Aside from Lavo, the hotel’s bar – dubbed The BoTree Bar – is also a great space to go and relax either before or after dinner. Decked out in miles of green velvet and with a ceiling comprised of huge colour-changing circular lights (very Sixties), it really gets going after 7pm, when the DJ arrives (Thursday to Saturday) and plays tunes until late. Plus, there is also a rather excellent selection of cocktails – be warned, though, these don’t come paired with nibbles (there is, however a separate nibbles menu), so line the stomach beforehand.
You want luxury? It’s hard to imagine what’s more luxurious than having a dedicated member of staff on hand to tend to your every need. With one assigned to each floor, these butlers are on call for everything to making cocktails (our suite comprised a bar area, so this was exciting) to taking food orders and dispensing information about the local area. They’re also around 24/7; ideal for those 3am cravings.
As mentioned previously, The BoTree’s central London location also means that it is lacking slightly on space. Unfortunately, this does mean that the hotel has had to economise in terms of what’s on offer. There is currently no gym (one is planned for 2024), and there isn’t, as yet, a spa – though I was told that a dry spa was in development. In addition, an events space is scheduled to open sometime in the next year; in the meantime, anybody wanting to get their exercise on can arrange a pass to one of the gyms nearby with the concierge staff.
In lieu of the palatial Presidential suite on the seventh floor, The BoTree’s thirty-odd suites are definitely the ones to go for here. The beauty of it is that they can be mix and matched to create pretty much your perfect hotel experience: the two-room Lane Suite, for instance, can be combined with the adjoining Mayfair Suite, creating a four-room mini-palace with a bar area, living room, balcony and two bedrooms (or just the one, depending on your preference).
Our recommendation would be starting with the Marylebone Suite. Large and spacious, it comes with an entire corner balcony and dressing area, as well as views of Oxford Street beyond. Plus, if you’re feeling flush, you can always add the Lane Suite next door for that all important bar.
Couples or friends (we saw both in the lobby) wanting to combine fun evenings out with wholesome mornings. With a location like this, there’s no excuse for not making the most of everything the capital has to offer.
Rates start from £660 for a Deluxe Room, for more information and to book, visit thebotree.com