By Katie Wilson
Beautifully set on the banks of the River Thames, and directly opposite Hampton Court Palace, you’ll find The Mitre hotel.
This regal property has been welcoming guests since 1665 when it was used as a grand guest house for visitors to the palace. Rumour has it there was even an underground tunnel linking the two.
It was recently given a makeover fit for any king or queen, courtesy of new boutique hotel brand The Signet Collection, who open their second hotel The Retreat at Elcot Park in Berkshire in spring 2022.
Complete with royal suites, a plant-filled orangery, two stunning restaurants and sweeping alfresco terrace featuring its own Whispering Angel bar, The Mitre is somewhere you want to be.
Just 40 minutes from central London by train or car, it couldn’t be easier to check in for the night.
If you’re travelling by train, The Mitre hotel is a pleasant five-minute walk across the bridge from Hampton Court station. There are also parking spaces kept for guests if you’re coming by car.
As first time visitors to the area we were amazed at how close it is to Hampton Court Palace. It’s literally across the road.
The hotel’s historic exterior and riverside location is enviable. While the impressiveness continues inside, it’s not pretentious in the slightest.
As soon as we stepped in we immediately felt welcomed. There was comfy seating, bright artwork on the walls, a cosy fireplace and curiosities like an antique atlas of the world. The reception staff even offered us a complimentary glass of wine.
STYLE AND INTERIORS
Everything about The Mitre is chic and the interiors come courtesy of Nicola Harding, the designer behind boutique hotels The Rose in Deal and Beaverbook in Surrey.
The style is Wind-in-the-Willows country house meets the Henley Regatta, and there’s not an inch of this gorgeous hotel we didn’t like.
Furnishings are made for comfort, the colours are bright yet calming, and it has a light and airy feel throughout.
Modern touches come in the form of the Instagrammable ‘The wilder the better’ and ‘Have you ever met someone that is sunshine in human form?’ signs in the Coppernose bar.
There are 36 colourful bedrooms at The Mitre ranging from Classic, Heritage and Culture rooms to individually named suites.
As this is where guests would have slept when they visited the king, it’s apt many are named after royalty.
The best rooms are the Royal Suites which come with four poster beds or feature headboards, plus freestanding baths in the bedrooms or bathrooms.
A step up from that is the King Henry VIII Suite, an extravagant room with spectacular views of the River Thames and Hampton Court Palace which is perfect for honeymooners.
Another push the boat out room is the Catherine Parr Suite, named after the last of Henry’s wives. This has a four poster bed and centrepiece copper roll top bath by the window.
All rooms come with super comfortable queen or king size beds, bespoke Signet Collection Bramley toiletries and Lavazza Coffee.
As well as complimentary water and welcome cakes, there was a bottle of Kings’ Ginger which you are encouraged to drink as a shot.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Mitre is worth visiting for its exceptional food and drink alone and is headed up by culinary king Ronnie Kimbugwe, who previously worked for Gordon Ramsay at Claridges.
Coppernose is for casual, all day dining, and where breakfast is served in the mornings. Make sure you at least grab a coffee in the castle-like turret with its circus-top inspired canopy. While riverside brasserie 1665 has a beautiful terrace attached that is perfect for a sundowner, or any time of day it’s so pretty.
Guests can also request to dine in the orangery which can be hired out for private functions. We ate in 1665 and were seated at a table for two next to the window overlooking the river.
For starters we ordered the Beef Steak Tartare (£14) and Confit Duck and Watermelon Salad (£15). This was followed by the sharing Soy and Ginger Marinated Beef Bavette steak with Chimichurri and Ale Roasted Onions (£45) happily washed down with a glass of South African Chenin Blanc and Bordeaux.
Dessert was Coconut Rice Pudding with Vanilla and Mango Salsa Sorbet and the show-stopping Passion Fruit Soufflé with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (both £8). Yum was an understatement.
We have to give a special mention to the nibbles we had on the terrace the next day, also from the 1665 menu. If you order one thing make it the Crispy Cauliflower Popcorn (£8). Your tastebuds will thank you.
Afternoon Tea is available every day between 12pm and 4pm. Cream Teas start from £11. The Hampton Court Full Afternoon Tea is £30. Add Bollinger champagne for £40.
Other things worth mentioning include The Mitre hotel’s own draft beer, a hoppy and floral ale named The Six Wives, in another nod to Henry VIII.
Chef Ronnie is passionate about sustainability and reducing food waste. Herbs are grown on the orangery roof, there are onsite beehives, they smoke their own salmon and partner with Hampton Court gardeners to grow vegetables.
Not many hotels have their own Whispering Angel bar, but that’s what you’ll find on the terrace at The Mitre.
Another feature we particularly loved abut the hotel was the library room, which is the perfect spot for an aperitif or nightcap. There is even a jukebox to link your phone to if you fancy some music.
The Mitre is really quite special, from its riverside location to exemplary food and staff who couldn’t do enough for you. Add to that its proximity to Hampton Court Palace, which is well worth a visit, and it’s time to make a weekend of it.
Rooms start from £150 a night
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