Located moments from Finsbury Square and Broadgate Circle, The Napoleon claims to be London’s smallest hotel.
With just one bedroom, what it lacks in sleeping quarters it more than makes up for with bars – there’s three. Yes THREE. Thankfully they are open to the public so it’s not solely down to you to drink them all dry. We might have got that memo a little late, but more of that later.
We slunked off work early last Friday and checked in at 4pm for a naughty little weekend not-so-far-away.
Thomas Aske and Tristan Stephenson, the pair behind London’s award-winning Worship Street Whistling Shop, have decked out the suite with not one but TWO mini bars, complete with the fantastic pre-bottled Aske Stephenson cocktails – think Cigar & Coffee Old Fashioned’s and Sesame & Popcorn Daiquiri’s. There’s everything you need to mix, muddle and shake your ideal beverage, with a whole host of glassware and plenty of ice. Fear not, if you can’t be bothered to lift a single finger, there’s a service lift in your room. Just complete one of the slips provided and any of the three bars will send up your tipple of choice. VERY dangerous, VERY, VERY FUN.
We helped ourselves to a Garden Bramble and jumped straight in the glorious roll top bath. If you can think of a better way to start the weekend – we wanna hear about it! Leave your toiletries behind, there’s full size Aesop products – shampoo, conditioner, body wash – to indulge in. If you fancy a little light reading, there’s also a solid selection of specialist drink magazines and books to get stuck into.
Bottle of cava summoned to our room we slowly get ready, alternating between lounging on the velvet sofa and dancing around the room to whatever tune Alexa is playing. (FYI – we’ve never used Amazon’s Alexa before but we are totally converted by the time we leave). You basically can’t fail to have fun in this place.
As tempting as it was to keep playing with the lift, we made the wise decision to line our stomach’s and pop to Jose Pizarro – the tapas bar is only a 6 minute walk from the hotel and is just the sort of buzzy dining atmosphere you want before a night on the booze.
Stomach’s lined we continue our Spanish theme and head back to the hotel to begin our bar crawl in SACK which you’ll find on the ground floor. The informal stripped back counter bar is inspired by Spanish tavernas and is THE place to kick back and enjoy a comprehensive collection of sherries. If, like us, you need a bit of guidance when it comes to this particular tipple, fear not, the staff here will gladly take you through all the different styles, from dry to sweet, encouraging you to sample them all. Your nana would be proud. And if sherry just isn’t for you, there’s always cava, lots and lots of delicious cava. We felt like we’d fallen into a back street in Barcelona.
THE DEVIL’S DARLING
Somehow we navigated the stairs and found ourselves on the first floor for The Devil’s Darling. This little gem of a bar is a little quieter as it doesn’t get the passing footfall, which makes it feel a bit more special and for those ‘in the know’. Which now you are. It’s a really beautiful space with a decadent vintage environment. We loved the lighting which shined a green glow over everything and the cracking glam rock/indie playlist. If you’re of an indecisive nature, you may want to look away now. You’ll be handed a BIBLE of cocktails, an A-Z of all the classics if you will – these guys are confident they can rustle up anything your heart desires. Helpfully they also compile a shorter list of cocktails they recommend that day – we went for a Tequila & Mezcal Old Fashioned which will put hairs on your chest.
This wasn’t our first time in the basement whisky den and it certainly won’t be our last but it’s a great way to round off your night. A mecca to all things whisky, you’ll find cabinets full to bursting with a wide range bottles covering all price points. It’s a simple system, each bottle has either one, two or three beads around the neck, which dictates the price – £7, £9 or £11 – so no nasty surprises. Drink your dram straight up or get the bartender to rustle up a cocktail. A huge tree trunk runs the whole length of the bar, which has been hollowed out and turned into a table for guests to sit around. The ultimate night cap destination.
THANKFULLY we only had to make our way upstairs for bed, which we just about managed.
It goes without saying that we woke up with the MOTHER of all hangovers – but jeez louise was it fun! Luckily The Napoleon leave it to the Modern Pantry to provide breakfast (about a 2 minute walk away). The BEAUTIFUL dining room is enough to make your heart soar, even if your head’s sore from the night before. Just take your ‘voucher’ and staff will sort you out with the perfect blend of strong coffee, green juice and hearty but healthy Aussie inspired brekkie. We tucked into Dhansak spiced veal mince omelette & brown crab rarebit with perfectly poached eggs with soy & yuzu dressing. And don’t even think about leaving before you try one of their legendary doughnuts – pistachio for the win. Certainly NOT your standard hotel breakfast, and all the better for it.
We had the most fun and although we’re not sure we could survive more than one night with that kind of drinks schedule, it really would make the perfect pitstop for a romantic night away, city base or girly sleepover.