Standing with easy grace beyond the great plane trees at the north-west corner of its Marylebone garden square, the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, which has opened its doors following a brief first appearance in December prior to lockdown, has already attained the air of an attentive friend – the sort you can rely on for soothing demeanour and a properly fixed drink.
As the 13th hotel offering from the Nobu brand, and one which draws the iconic Nobu Berkeley Street restaurant to its new home in Marylebone, this new opening is underpinned by a comforting reassurance that supper will be reliably delicious, the beds just right and the service just so. Certainly, the clientele dispersed throughout the hotels’ spaces appear thoroughly at home.
Through attention to detail and craftsmanship, Nobu Hotel London Portman Square makes its unique and distinctive charms felt. A subtle textural palette of golds, soft blacks and greens connects the expansive lobby area, by David Collins Studio, to the outside world. Hanging at its heart, a striking kinetic sculpture by Ivan Black moves as softly as the plane tree branches. Natural light and natural materials abound, with wood, sprouted acorns, delicate greenery all lending an aura of calm warmth to the area. In August 2021, the opening of the 600-person ballroom will throw open the doors to further space, light and happy opportunity to reconnect with the world.
Such elements of light and nature thread throughout the hotel’s 249 rooms, which are unified by an emphasis on comfort and simplicity, with the cool expanse of a super-king or emperor bed offered in each room. Bespoke lighting and prints distinguish the spaces, taking inspiration from Japanese architectural disciplines and minimalist design, with many rooms complemented by terraces and heady views across the city. Our room on the tenth floor set us among clouds scuttling over church spires.
Up again further, on floor 11, a soon-to-be-launched Penthouse Suite offers two bedrooms, a marble bathroom, and a dining room and lounge offering wraparound views of London to Canary Wharf and beyond. Book the whole 11th floor, and interconnecting suites can be transformed into your own castle in the air, with a 360o-terrace allowing you to survey all aspects of the lordly domain.
Wellness is at the core of the hotel’s ethos: think spacious, 24-hour gym and beautifully designed treatment rooms. The distinctive focus of the wellbeing provision is a novel Nobu Pilates format, with Power, Precision and Pure classes, offered in a brightly appointed Reformer Pilates studio.
Such exertions do, of course, whet the appetite – thank heavens, therefore, for delightful opportunities to eat, drink and make merry. The full Nobu Restaurant experience, with sushi prepared under the watchful eye of an experienced Itamae, can be enjoyed across the spacious first floor restaurant, the vibrant bar, or on the outdoor terrace. While many à la carte options are available, we would recommend going down the Omakase route, letting the chefs take you on a journey that includes several Nobu classics such as succulent black miso cod and yellowtail with jalapeño, as well as newly conceived delights for the palette.
Dishes are paired with either well-chosen wine, sake or signature cocktails. The latter deserve a special mention for their cunning twists on the classics and bursts of novel flavours. The Eastward, which combined flavours of cardamon, orange blossom, sweet root and mint, proved a delicious case in point. Combined with a stroll around Marylebone, a little music at the nearby Wigmore Hall (blissfully soon to reopen), or a viewing at the Wallace Collection, you might truly find sustenance for mind, body and soul.
22 Portman Square, London W1H 7BG (020 3988 5888/ london-portman.nobuhotels.com)