Freudian Sleep

A secret hidey-hole in London’s Little Venice

You could be forgiven for channelling your inner child with a swashbuckling pirate fantasy during a night at The Cabin room at London’s enchanting 4-star Colonnade Hotel. With portholes, nautical décor and a comfy fine-linen-clad bunk bed, this cosy room-for-one, frequented by business travellers and the lucky offspring of the hotel’s salubrious clientele, is the ideal place to rest your head for those of you seeking a good night’s sleep – without giving your bank manager a coronary. ‘Chic, unique and boutique’ is the mantra of this luxury townhouse hotel – and boy, do they deliver. Built in 1865, The Colonnade, which has seen the likes of Sigmund Freud enter its doors, casts an imposing shadow among the palatial Victorian terraces of north London’s Little Venice – an area of rich history, boutique shops and, yes, canals.

The hotel’s previous incarnations as a huge Victorian mansion, a hospital and a girls’ boarding school are nowhere in sight when you enter the welcoming flower-infused foyer – and don’t be surprised if the resident fluffy tabby cat Minnie (aka ‘the cat-cierge’) is the first to greet you.

Not to be out-staged is the hotel’s charming manager James Lane, who takes us on an ‘ooh and ahhh’ tour of this fine London town-house. The rattling concertina cage-style lift is an historic journey in itself. In contrast to all this Victorian opulence is the neon-lit bar/dining area, located in the basement. One end is a darkly-lit mini-labyrinth of tables, nooks and pouffes for visitors to enjoy a cocktail or two, the other area is devoted to the extensive tapas menus for diners – an utterly belly-rubbing delicious experience, but beware the monstrously generous portion sizes!

The modern trattoria-style eating area is brightly lit in comparison to the bar area – all due to its location underneath the front garden and modern glass dome ceiling. The discreet extension to the historic property’s façade features external steps up to a quaint garden, where further tables and chairs pepper the front garden that looks straight onto the picture-perfect tree-lined street.

Having toured a number of the hotel’s suites, including the Freud suite in which Sir Sigmund resided for several months during renovations of his own nearby home, I am indubitably impressed. Just GORGEOUS! Having undergone a total refurb – to the tune of £1.7m – just in time for the millennium, there’s not much to fault in the plush settings, with rich velvet-draped four-poster beds, modern sleek bathrooms and lard-inducing lounges. Arriving with a companion, I am afforded the luxury of one of the hotel’s suites (the Cabin Room is purely for one person only) and there’s only one word that comes to mind – luxurious. End of. I had the cosiest night’s sleep I’d had in a long while, which was no doubt down to the ‘cuddle up to me’ mattress and, most markedly, the amply stocked mini bar!

The hotel is located just a hotfoot away from two theatres, art galleries, pubs, cafes, restaurants and London’s very own Little Venice, the charming waterways with Regents Canal. Take a stroll or even a barge to Camden Lock, if you fancy!

Although the one-sailor-only Cabin Room is a lark, I can definitely recommend booking a suite and taking along someone special as it’s almost impossible to avoid having romance on the agenda. To book the single Cabin Room costs from £60 and for a double, rates start at £120.

All prices exclude breakfast. You can book online at The Eton Collection or call 020 7286 1052.

by Justine Harkness
Justine Harkness

Justine Harkness

Now based in Los Angeles, Justine had worked for publications from Now to Look, OK! to Loaded, in the UK as well as for weekly magazines in Australia. She has written everything from in-depth celebrity interviews to covering every showbiz party, hotspot, the three ‘Fs’ (fads, fashion, fitness), awards ceremonies, travel (to Mustique, no less), you name it, for all the big magazines. A regular showbiz and lifestyle expert commentator for radio and TV, including BBC, Sky and all the terrestrial channels. There’s more, but there always is. She lives in Santa Monica with her ridiculously fluffy kitten Cookie (‘We should have called her Queen Latifah,’ she shrugs), chasing the latest celebrity stories. Justine’s mantra in life is: ‘In vodka we trust.’ She successfully out drinks many, yet is a bit of a hippy at heart. Just don’t ask her about grammar.

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