If you are looking for a hotel in Knightsbridge that’s a little bit different, more down to earth but with a chic boutique ambience, then may I recommend The Hari, tucked away in a residential part of Belgravia just behind Sloane Street.
Some of you may remember the hotel as Belgraves, which opened back in 2012 under US-based Thompson Hotels before it had a name change and rebranded in 2016 by its Hong Kong based owner, the Harilela family.
I stayed at the hotel in its old guise and so I was particularly interested to see if it had undergone a significant change as The Hari on my most recent visit.
Ironically both my stays were on a Friday in January, a month when England is perhaps at its most dreary, and so a cheery greeting at the door by the welcoming doorman brightened up my afternoon as I stepped through the large wooden doors into the bright double height ceiling lobby. You could be forgiven for thinking you have walked into a private members club, as The Hari is where those in the know come to stay; couples come for a bit of privacy and the business traveller who craves some peace and quiet away from the larger chain hotels, so it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that a large percentage of the guests come from the UK rather than abroad.
The regulars love the home away from home ambience and contemporary décor paired with dark, rich textures and bespoke furnishings that local British interior designer Tara Bernerd has brought to this sleek Knightsbridge address, which includes beautiful wooden flooring and those delicious Italian marble bathrooms I so wish I had at home!
My check-in by the efficient and friendly staff was effortless and quick. I was then shown up to my 30m² King Premium Room on the fifth floor, which although considerably smaller than the King Studio I stayed in before, was cosy, warm and quiet, which was just what I wanted, and had a lovely box window and sofa in which to look out over residential Belgravia. The wooden floored corridor has a double closet and an amply large gorgeous bathroom with one of those powerful rainforest showers but no bath.
By comparison, the 44m² Studio King Suite I stayed in before up on the seventh floor, had three large protruding box windows being on the corner of the hotel. The wooden floored hallway opens up into a generous sized bedroom with a work desk and decent height adjustable chair in the far box window and a red sofa in the other one as you look out from the foot of the large and comfortable king-sized bed that is engulfed in a beautiful soft down duvet covered in custom imported linen. A low coffee table and leather armchair sit on top of an animal skin rug. The large double closet houses an ironing board, safe and mini bar and the room is well equipped with a Nespresso machine, large flat screen multimedia TV, iPod dock and power points for the UK, Continent and US.
The décor of the rooms is quite dark which some people will like, others may not, but is makes for a cosy ambience with subdued lighting and all the rooms and suites are similarly decorated with the same bespoke furnishings throughout.
I do love the bright bathrooms though, which in the Studio Kings are large and luxurious with a deep soaking bath tub surrounded by three windows, as it sits right in the box window itself. The walls are lined with grey mottled Arabescato marble and I liked having the separate powerful oversized walk-in rainforest shower. The fluffy bathrobes will keep you snug and enjoy pampering yourself with those lovely Noble Isle toiletries.
Another really nice touch in every room, are the Portable Handy Phones with 3G for guests to use throughout their stay and include free local and international calls. And of course, every room gets fresh complimentary water every day.
For the traveller who wants to keep in shape whilst away, The Hari has a small gym on the first floor equipped with LifeFitness cardio machines and a few free weights which is open 24 hours a day.
Also on the first floor overlooking the entrance, is the hotel’s cosy bar with its different seating areas to suit your mood. For example, there are comfy sofas and coffee tables in the centre and to the side, ideal for a small group of three or four or two fun leather egg-style chairs if there are just two of you. For a more intimate rendezvous you may prefer The Snug tucked away in a discreet corner of the bar with its soft cashmere sofa.
For those of you who like to enjoy a cigar or would rather not have to step out into the cold January evening air onto the street for a smoke, the bar also has an adjoining terrace with a surrounding green flower wall and a well-curated humidor stocked with some of the finest Cuban cigars. The perfect place to enjoy a relaxing cocktail or two on a chilly Friday evening.
Downstairs you will find the hotel’s relatively new and excellent Italian restaurant, il Pampero, in which I enjoyed an excellent leisurely Saturday breakfast reading the papers from cover to cover, a treat when staying in a hotel at the weekend. A lavish Continental Buffet Breakfast is laid on the bar top with an assortment of healthy options including fresh fruit, cereals, cold meats and cheese, freshly baked pastries, croissants, yoghurts and the most delicious homemade wheat-free spelt banana bread and granola bars.
You can also choose something hot from the menu such as eggs anyway you like them, a breakfast risotto or a healthy Greek yoghurt with granola and fresh juices. If you really want to roll the boat out, then they do serve a Full English Breakfast and for vegetarians, they offer a special Vegetarian English Breakfast. All breakfast options are reasonably priced starting from £16, which for a 5-star hotel, I think is pretty darn good.
A late check-out meant I could enjoy my long breakfast and make the most of The Hari before heading out into a cold Saturday afternoon, enjoying the easy walk down to Sloane Street Tube Station, but looking forward to my return to this delightfully friendly hotel that’s a true hidden gem, so do keep it to yourself and don’t tell too many people about it.
The Hari, 20 Chesham Place, London, SW1X 8HQ, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7858 0100
The Hari is tucked away in a residential part of Belgravia south of Knightsbridge and Harrods just off Sloane Street and a block down from The Carlton Tower with the main hotel entrance on Chesham Place. The closest Tube Station is Knightsbridge on the Piccadilly Line which is a five-minute walk. Sloane Square on the District and Circle Lines is an 8-10 minute walk.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Luxury Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 85 rooms including 14 suites plus complimentary Wi-Fi
Price Band: High
Our Take: A home away from home atmosphere with unpretentious and friendly staff always willing to help. The bright modern artwork that hangs on the walls may not be to everyone’s taste, but it lends itself well to the overall ambience of the hotel.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of The Hari and by Simon Burrell