It’s rare to be able to take over an entire, historic London townhouse for a holiday in the British capital, but the exclusive use, private let property, Henry’s Townhouse in Marylebone, lets you do just that.
Henry’s Townhouse is an illustrious, London abode with a rich literary history. The “Henry” in question here was author Jane Austen’s brother, this being his former residence in the capital away from their Hampshire homestead. It is said that Jane spent a lot of time here when she came to visit London – to write, promote and publish her books, often in secret – so if the walls could talk, they might just read you Pride and Prejudice.
The connection between Henry’s Townhouse to Jane Austen is no doubt impressive, but dig deeper and you’ll find that Henry’s own story is equally enthralling… scholar, military man, financier and admirably, staunch abolitionist. It is also claimed he proofread all of Jane’s books, and we of anyone will know just how remarkable and patient a person that makes him!
Today, Henry’s Townhouse has been reimagined and reworked into an exclusive, seven-bedroom luxury home away from home, complete with gorgeous communal spaces styled harmoniously to the heritage of the building – with its own brand of Georgian glamour – to create a homely, yet experiential stay.
It’s an alluring collaboration between award-winning designers Russell Sage Studio and owners Jane and Steven Collins. Each individual space is an interpretation of the Georgian period, abundant with sumptuous fabrics, rich colours and textures. Handpicked curiosities fill the space (Jane is responsible for personally selecting many of the antiques), each with its own history, not to mention story of how they were acquired. But despite this old-world extravagance, the property doesn’t compromise on modern comforts. At every turn and in every suite, we found the best, modern in-room amenities and luxuries, perfect for the discerning OutThere traveller.
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|For an out-of-town jaunt that is truly special, Henry’s Townhouse owners Jane and Steven also have a place in the Cotswolds, just outside London. Temple Guiting Manor consists of five properties and is set in 14.5 acres of beautiful countryside, with room for 32 guests.|
Our top-floor room, entitled “James” is a prime example. At the centre of this handsome suite (one of the less ornate in the house), is an imposing, antique, four-poster carved-wood canopy bed, but it is decked with a luxurious, orthopaedic mattress that gave us a fantastic night’s sleep. And at the end of it, a polished, wooden chest-like compartment hides a wide-screen television that rises almost magically at the press of a button. The mustard-hued velvet sofa, red armchair and decadent light-fittings may have had us time-travelling into the Georgian mood in the main room of the suite; but to juxtapose that, we found a contemporary, white, minimalist luxury bathroom with a walk-in shower big enough for two in the other. It came complete with fragrant L:A Bruket bathroom amenities and soft, fluffy Tiele towels. It seems here at Henry’s Townhouse, they’ve thought of everything.
Back downstairs, the magic continues. M. Halavant’s Pantry is Henry’s Townhouse’s subterranean kitchen and dining room, where you’ll find the property’s enigmatic housekeeper and cook. Here, breakfast on demand is served on the large refectory table, and meals and snacks are all available on request. All you have to do is ask and your every gourmet whim will be catered for from a pantry of high quality and sustainable, British produce, sourced ethically from local suppliers.
And should you want a takeaway, that’s okay, too. That’s the benefit of staying at a place like this: there are no set rules about mealtimes and you can treat the space as your own. It’s all the perks of a luxury London hotel, but with absolute VIP-style privacy and discretion.
If by any chance you happen to be celebrating something special, this space is the perfect setting for beautiful romantic dinners for two, or milestone celebrations for more. You’ll just have to navigate out of the owner’s expansive jazz playlists on the in-house Sonos, if your musical tastes differ.
In terms of other communal spaces, there’s the parlour they call Jane’s Sitting Room, where we spent the evening with a bottle of whisky from the property’s collection of British artisan spirits, alongside great company and conversation… just like the Austens would have done all those years ago, we’d like to imagine.
If you’re looking for a unique, luxury London stay with a difference (not to mention a true sense of place), then Henry’s Townhouse is it. We understand that it’s not for everyone, especially if you’re used to frequenting London’s large and lavish hotels, but we urge you to give it a try. We know you’ll come away from Henry’s Townhouse having had an experience that’s hard to find elsewhere – we certainly did.
Photography courtesy of Henry’s Townhouse