There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. Nobody can be more devoted to home than I am. Emma by Jane Austen
As the days get colder and the nights longer, there are few places in frosty bustling London that warm the heart quite like home does. Until we stumbled upon Henry’s Townhouse. We were lucky enough to visit the former home of Jane Austen’s favourite brother Henry this summer, and it exceeded all our expectations.
Located on the beautiful Upper Berkeley Street in central London, Henry’s Townhouse pretty much encapsulates why we love London so much. Behind the multiple matching facades on this decadent street lie so many wonderful stories and beautiful restorations, and Henry’s Townhouse is a prime example of this.
A collaboration between owners Jane & Steven Collins and the award-winning Russell Sage Studio, this literary Austen ‘themed’ townhouse is everything but what you would (apprehensively) expect of a hotel with a theme, and instead is a warm, inviting home away from home, in which every detail so delicately yet consciously touches on the home’s incredible history.
British charm does not get better than this. The history and heritage of the home seeps out of every corner of the impressive Grade-II listed house, which was inhabited by Henry Austen in the 19th century - and rumour has it Jane herself wrote part of Sense and Sensibility in the home. We were instantly drawn in by the majestic staircase that meets you once you enter the home, as we were led to ‘Jane’s living room’.
In the living room, we were entirely with little touches like a writing desk, and the plush velvet sofas and homely interiors make this the perfect place to relax after an afternoon in London, or the perfect place to have a drink before dinner. What is perhaps most enticing, is that when renting the entire house for a family Christmas or a friend staycation, this space becomes your own private living room, and it has been decorated and laid out as such.
We love a hidden surprise, and the pantry was exactly that. Dive into what looks like the basement and be met by a stunning open plan Georgian inspired kitchen. The ginormous table that takes center stage in the middle of the room is begging for a big brunch or a fabulous dinner party. But the real star of the show is Ann, the fabulous housekeeper and the keeper of all vital information and a fantastic little black book. If you are looking for, well, pretty much anything, Ann is your woman. From private chefs, housekeepers and nannies, to helping organise your hen do or black tie event, Henry’s would be incomplete without Ann.
The bespoke yet casual and inviting nature of the townhouse runs from top to bottom. Formerly a run down B&B, it took owners Stephen and Jane two and a half years to restore, and the care that went into the restoration is apparent throughout. The property comprises of just seven bedrooms, and each bedroom is elegant and unique in its own right. In partnership with the incredible Russel Sage studio, each room tells a different story, for which every item has been carefully curated. The beautiful antique furniture (all individually sourced - think beautiful four poster beds) vanity bespoke units, 16th century oil paintings and Sloane fabric headboards are just the start of the details in every corner, some of the pieces even sourced from the owner’s home in France. Each room is named after a different family member of Austen’s, and the interiors speaks to each of their characters.
There is a certain discretionary luxury about walking into Henry’s Townhouse, which is why we truly believe it is the best kept secret in London. All the little nooks and crannies are inviting and actually provide more privacy than you would expect - the Carriage Snug is perfect for late afternoon work meetings, and to enjoy a tipple once they are all done. The terrace out back is the perfect spot for a summer morning breakfast - and with all rooms having air conditioned, Henry’s is exceptional all year round.
Henry’s is a bit of a dream and must be on your radar for 2022. We particularly fell in love with the tented bathrooms and creaky floors, and of course Ann. Warm up at the Aga in the pantry while the chef cooks up a storm (or cook one up yourself!) and we promise you will never want to leave this charming, luxurious gem. From rockstars to families and friends, from Netflix producers to corporate teams, Henry’s hosts them all. Why book a hotel when you can book a home away from home at the very special Henry’s..
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