Travel Spotlight

Neighborhood Watch: London's Marylebone

Particularly these days, those who venture off the beaten track and explore the one-off shops in Marylebone are likely to find fabulous boutiques, each with a unique story to tell. And for those who would like to stay in the area, the truly unique Zetter Townhouse Marylebone is brand new, yet feels anything but.

The latest Zetter is situated in a Georgian townhouse on the outskirts of the trendy neighborhood. Based on the adventures of the notional Wicked Uncle Seymour on his “Grand European Tour” and drawing inspiration from the quirky Sir John Soane's Museum, interior designer Russell Sage has created a whimsical, romantic, bijou spot that is as affordable as it is chic. The 24-room townhouse hotel features British design with original, eye-catching details. Rooms come with Gainsborough fabrics, hand-knitted hot water bottle covers and proper brass keys. Don’t miss the pièce de résistance, Lear’s Loft (Sir Edward Lear once lived here), a penthouse suite with a rooftop terrace, alfresco bathtub, private staircase and backlit onyx bathtub. Loyalists might opt for the Flag Room plastered with Union Jacks and a four-poster bed to boot.

London-based perfumer Lyn Harris, who created fragrance brand Miller Harris 15 years ago, has opened a new shop, Perfumer H, on Crawford Street. Seasonal fragrances in hand-blown monogrammed bottles as well as scented candles are available exclusively at the lovely minimalist shop-cum-laboratory, where customers can embark on a unique olfactory journey for the body and for the home.

While the paparazzi may be aiming their lenses at Andre Balazs’ Chiltern Firehouse, there are some very interesting—and quieter—spots located down Chiltern Street, notably the 150-year-old clothing label Sunspel (13-15 Chiltern Street; 44 (0)207-009-0650). Known for its men's shirts and boxers, Sunspel has recently collaborated with Leach Pottery to make a small collection of porcelain tableware.

William Vintage (2 Marylebone Street; 44 (0)207-487-4322) is a heavily edited, haute vintage shop founded seven years ago by fashion world veteran William Banks-Blaney. The beautiful shop stocks vintage Dior, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Courege, Patou and other classics. The bulk of the boutique’s gorgeous, vibrantly hued dresses date from the mid­–20th century.

Located just around the corner on bustling Marylebone High Street, La Portegna is a Spanish leather goods shop with a story. Founder and owner Jose Urrutia was inspired to open this handbag and accessories shop in an effort to recapture the spirit of adventurous travel, a spirit embodied by his grandparents who had a close friendship and traveled with Ernest Hemingway in the 1930’s. Spanish-born Urrutia says, “Travel was seen as a life experience rather than the quickest way to get from A to B.” Underneath framed black-and-white travel photos from the 1930s sit cow leather goods sourced from Spain. Customers can get their bags monogrammed; a Portuguese craftsman comes into the shop about twice a week to do the engraving.

A day of shopping requires sustenance. In Seymour’s Parlour at the Zetter Townhouse, chef patron Bruno Loubet serves light bites all day while cocktail maestro Tony Cogliaro makes sure no one goes thirsty. Nearby, Social Wine and Tapas was designed by Russell Sage, the creative mind behind Zetter’s Townhouse. The sixth restaurant from the prolific Michelin-starred Jason Atherton, Social Wine & Tapas also has a wine shop, tapas counter, open kitchen and a cozy basement wine bar. Also nearby, The Ivy Café features a café style menu and all-day dining. The casual spot is great for a cocktail at the pewter-top bar or a meal in one of its vintage red leather banquettes.

Published onNovember 10, 2015

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