In the days leading up to the #weddingoftheyear of His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle – now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – I find myself in London for business and, well, on a trip that serendipitously happens to coincide with the Royal wedding celebrations. Almost.
So, on the morning that I’m supposed to depart London, I ring the airline and hotel concierge to extend my stay at The Hari for an extra day, and I’m glad I did.
The Hari is among the crème de la crème of hotels in the British capital. The five-star establishment, situated in the residential streets of London’s elegant Belgravia neighbourhood, is just a few minutes’ walk from Knightsbridge (hello, Harrods) and Sloane Square. The luxurious property, which opened its doors two years ago, has 85 guest rooms, including 14 luxury suites and The Penthouse.
Supported by Preferred Hotels & Resorts, it is the first hotel to open under The Hari brand, the vision of Aron Harilela, chairman and CEO of Harilela Hotels. General Manager Andrew Coney says, “The Hari has a variety of categories in all shapes and configurations – we don’t take the one-size-fits-all view. My personal favourites are the Studio Suites with their wonderful views of Belgravia, even from the bathtub.”
You fall in love with The Hari the moment you step into this exquisite boutique hotel. Expect a modern but at the same time elegant decor, polite and helpful staff, and a quintessentially British vibe. Service is thoughtful and comprehensive, down to the very last detail. A coffee while you wait in the lobby, perhaps, or breakfast pastries to go. The doormen, dressed in stylish tartan ensembles, are at hand to greet and assist you with a smile.
If you’re feeling peckish you can order from The Hari’s 24-hour room-service menu or head to the in-house restaurant or bar. Il Pampero – located on the lobby level – is a charming restaurant boasting a traditional Italian menu and an extensive wine and cocktail list. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. “The tonnarello cacio e pepe is my favourite,” Coney tells me. “The delicious home-made pasta is served from a parmesan wheel and the theatre of the service is really eye-catching.”
The Hari Bar is the hotel’s chic literary-themed lounge and it’s absolutely my go-to den for sitting back and relaxing in the evenings. The place is decorated with hundreds of books on shelves, modern glass tables, plush seats and an array of fashionable artwork. “We have an art curator to keep the art series rotating throughout the hotel and predominately in our bar area,” Coney explains. The Hari Bar’s speciality cocktail, The Hari, is made with Jensen’s gin, masala chai, honey and gold. When I ask for the check, it’s presented as a bookmark inside one of the books from the shelves. Clever.
The Garden Terrace (it has a retractable roof) is located upstairs, and is the venue for The Hari’s royal wedding viewing party on the morning of the big day. Staff have decked out this magical retreat with a large screen, Union flags and table snacks to make the experience more enjoyable.
“Joanna, our guest relations manager, is a revelation,” says Coney. “She seeks out information on all of our guests – their likes, interests and the purpose of their visit. So many of our guests are taken aback by the personalisation of amenities and that genuine hospitality is encouraged throughout the hotel.”
Before my arrival, I had high expectations, and The Hari did not disappoint. I’ve already booked myself a room at The Hari for my next visit to London and, frankly speaking, I think you should, too.
Read the full story in Prestige Hong Kong August 2018 issue