f you frequent the independent boutiques and pretty restaurants around Marylebone, chances are you’ve passed Home House – although it’s equally likely you didn’t realise it. Housed in a grand, 18th-century mansion on Portman Square, Home House is one of those vast London buildings that encourages passers-by to peer into its darkened ground floor windows and wonder exactly what goes on in there. Well, allow us to fill you in – behind the huge wooden doors lies a party palace dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure.
Primarily a members’ club, like many of the capital’s venues aiming to offer good times in discreet surroundings, from the outside there’s nothing save a subtle number 20 over the door to let you know you’ve arrived. Put simply, if you don’t know Home House is there, you’ll never find it. Happily for out-of-towners, and those without the £1,940 annual membership fee, the House also operates as a hotel welcoming non-members – and this summer is offering a staycation package perfect for indulging in a decadent weekend in the city.
Rooms and decor
Designed by James Wyatt, the favoured architect of King George III, the three Georgian townhouses that have been combined to create Home House’s warren of grand drawing rooms, elegant meeting spaces and cosy bedrooms have a long and illustrious history. Each of the 23 rooms and suites, accordingly, take their cues from the characters that lived, visited or have had some influence on the address over the past three centuries.
Included within the staycations package is an overnight stay in one of Home House’s entry-level Club Rooms – although entry-level is something of a misnomer here. Take, for example, the Marquise de la Luzerne room. Named for the French noble the townhouse was leased to in the 1790s, during its time as the French Embassy in exile during the revolution, this lavish room features a huge sash window overlooking Portman Gardens, a half tester bed, wallpaper inspired by an 18th-century silk pattern and more antiques than you can shake a Ming Dynasty vase at. The effect is something like sleeping in a National Trust home.
If you’re looking to really splash out, upgrade to a feature room or suite, each of which has its own story and unique interior details to match. Fancy soaking in a 19th-century bath made for His Highness Sayajirao III, Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda? You’ll find it in the Duke of Atholl’s suite. Or perhaps you’d rather relax surrounded by the same red marble which can be found in St Paul’s Cathedral? In that case, you’ll want to book the Lady Islington room.
These touches extend throughout Home House, with period features and soaring ceilings abounding throughout, highlighted by historic portraits, sumptuous velvet sofas and mix-and-match fabrics. Be sure to take a moment to marvel at the grand central staircase, which is flooded with natural light courtesy of an impressive domed skylight.
Food and drink
There are no fewer than eight venues for epicurean indulgence at Home House, so regardless of the time or occasion, you’re sure to find something to suit. There are few better ways to start an evening than by pulling up a stool in the relaxed House Bar for a classic cocktail or glass of champagne.
If you’re treating yourself to the staycation package, your stay will include a three-course meal in either the indoor restaurant (ask for one of the cosy central booths) or the fairy-light strewn garden. The latter is the obvious choice for balmy evenings, with a menu of crowd-pleasing classics and a special BBQ menu served under a star-embroidered canopy. Don’t miss the buttermilk fried chicken, Dorset dressed crab, and barbecued Swaledale lamb chop.
And the fun doesn’t stop after dinner. Inspired by the legendary parties thrown by Countess Home herself, the House Lounge transforms into a haven of hedonism after dark, with live DJs until 3am. (Not a party animal? Don’t panic, those thick 18th-century walls mean you won’t hear a thing from your room.) The next morning, ensconce yourself in the serene surroundings of the Drawing Rooms and nurse your hangover with a strong coffee and Home House’s stellar full English.
Designed to be a home away from home, Home House features plenty of comforts and conveniences aside from its rooms and restaurants. Both members and hotel guests have access to a full fitness suite, complete with daily exercise classes, personal training sessions, a fully-equipped gym, sauna, steam room and rainforest showers. Meanwhile, if you’re in town for business rather than pleasure, be sure to check out Home Grown, located in neighbouring Great Cumberland Place, a sister members’ club and hotel aimed at entrepreneurs, investors and London’s thriving business community.
Ideally located just moments from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, the rarified luxury of Mayfair and the village-style charm of Marylebone, there are few better bases from which to explore London than Home House. Combining the high-quality service of a boutique hotel with the exclusive atmosphere of a private members club and a lively, modern spirit, we defy you to spend an evening here and not be persuaded to apply for permanent membership.
The Home House Staycation package includes an overnight stay in a Club Room, welcome glass of champagne, cream tea, three-course dinner, breakfast and full use of the House. Prices from £389 per night for members and £474 per night for non-members, visit homehouse.co.uk.