Published: 10:05, 11 October 2019
| Updated: 17:18, 11 October 2019
If you fancy a city break, where the bustling goings on of London are right on your doorstep but you have a luxurious hotel to retreat to when the crowds and noise all gets a bit much, The Churchill is the perfect destination.
It is quite astonishing how you can be a two-minute walk from Oxford Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in the country, when the hotel and its immediate surroundings of Marylebone Village are so very tranquil.
Although The Churchill, which is part of the Hyatt group, does not appear overly lavish on the exterior, this all changes as you then enter the building through a sleek rotating door. The grand reception hall is very impressive, with polished marble flooring, warm lighting and glossy, caramel-coloured check in desks.
To the left is The Montagu Kitchen, with huge rectangular mirrors hung on the walls and a crushed velvet carpet runner between the tables, leading to a monochrome portrait of Churchill himself stood at the end of the room, looking intently back at you.
The bedroom decor is simple yet sophisticated, using neutral, earthy shades and glowing lamps awaiting your arrival.
An enormous king-size bed, even wider than it is long, sits in the centre, topped with plump pillows and crisp white sheets.
A bottle of red, generous helping of brandy alongside a selection of 'sweet, salty, and sour' treats to try, and a fruit platter decorated with gold leaf and a personalised message swirled across the white plate in chocolate sauce are all laid out to welcome you.
With heavy curtains which block out every inch of sunlight, you can lie in until midday if you wish.
For the exclusive use of nearby residents and hotel guests, the Portman Square private park is a delightful gated garden with its's own running track. Safe to say I didn't get up early enough to make use of the facilities, but I appreciate the option.
I wasn't too sure about the heated toilet seat at first, but I warmed to it.
No need to leave to grab a bite...
With in-house The Montagu Kitchen offering a wide range of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Michelin star restaurant Locanda Locatelli residing within the hotel's four walls, you need not even step outside the building to find delicious food of every kind.
Inspired by Chartwell Garden - Churchill's family home in Kent - The Montagu Kitchen uses seasonal ingredients sourced from the county whenever possible and create some truly exquisite flavour combinations.
Normally when you hear 'breakfast buffet', you think of dishes full of thick cut bacon and rice krispies in reusable plastic tubs - which I do enjoy - but what constitutes as a buffet at The Churchill is on a whole other level.
Fresh pastries filled with custard, almond paste and apricot jam, cast iron pots brimming with piping hot button mushroom, sage and onion sausages, salty halloumi, and everything else you can think of, is all laid out before you on rustic wooden blocks.
The lavish morning meal also includes shots of emerald green and tangy mango smoothies, creamy Greek yoghurt, crusty bread and salads made with quinoa, fresh mint and finely chopped tomatoes and every fruit imaginable.
For dinner, The Montagu Kitchen has a seasonal tasting menu - seven sumptuous courses, each paired with the perfect wine accompaniment.
Dishes include the Dingley Dell pork belly, served with seared pork loin, roasted heritage carrots, glazed apples and pork jus; and a gin and tonic sorbet topped with tiny cubes of cucumber and gold leaf.
A selection of fine English and European wines are served alongside the meal, including a sparkling Chapel Down, produced in Kent.
The Champagne brunch also begins with a buffet - even more extravagant than the breakfast - followed by a main course and then an array of vibrant-coloured sweet treats, flavoured with lavender and rose water. And of course, an endless supply of bubbly golden liquid.
Fancy your drinks with a twist?
Almost everything in the hotel is linked to Churchill in some way, and The Montagu Kitchen cocktail menu is no exception.
This season, inspired by the flavours of a Kentish garden, there are lots of lavender, apple, pear and delicate floral infusions.
I had The Clementine, named after Churchill's wife. This sweet, tangy drink is made with JW Black Label, Drambuie, Green Chatreuse, and of course, clementine. It is topped with three dehydrated segments; light, crispy and sugary, and tastes a little like Aperol Spritz - the perfect balance between sweet and sour.
There is also a separate cocktail bar and terrace in the hotel, dimly lit with sleek décor and a proud display of fine spirits and liqueurs.
The current menu has been influenced by the flavours of Cuba, a country which Churchill had links with.
A popular choice is the sweet and fruity Guantanamera, made with avocado infused Tanqueray, cucumber sherbet and Black Cardamom Tincture among other ingredients.
Light bites can also be ordered from the bar, including plump king prawns brushed with garlic, potato and black truffle croquettes and crispy rings of fried calamari with homemade mayonnaise for dipping.
I was allowed to sample the new winter menu before its release - inspired by hearty, British favourites. I have to say, I was rather amused by the baked beans and jacket potato cocktail, with a crispy flake of dehydrated potato and a singular bean balanced on top of the glass, which was filled with a cloudy liquid which, to be fair to them, did taste exactly like jacket potato. I think I might prefer the traditional, solid version though.
Plenty to do nearby
Marylebone being one of London's quieter districts might lead to the assumption that there is not really much to do. But I beg to differ.
Take a gentle stroll around the boutique-lined streets, or book a guided walking tour, where an eccentric city-dwellers will point out the basement flat lived in by John Lennon and the house Sherlock Holmes' fictional home is based on.
The Wallace Collection is also worth a visit - hundreds of oil paintings in ornate gilded frames mounted on hot pink silk walls and quirky designer shoes displayed in large glass jars.
After an evening of cocktails in The Churchill Bar & Terrace, Wigmore Hall is a popular choice for evening entertainment. This concert venue is rather small compared to most others in London, which makes it feel very intimate. Established names perform in this Victorian concert hall, which offers perfect acoustics.
Just a short tube journey away lies the Churchill War Rooms, an appropriate day out while staying at an establishment of the same name. Wander round the once hidden, underground bunkers, from which the former prime minister and his cabinet led Britain to victory in the Second World War.
And of course, being so close to Oxford Street, you surely won't be able to resist a little shopping before the end of your trip.
A quick, easy journey by train
You can get a direct train into the capital from almost anywhere in Kent, with Southeastern services running from early morning to late at night every day.
If you book in advance, you can get tickets at almost half the price, so be sure to plan ahead.
Try to travel a little later in the morning to avoid rush hour so you have plenty of space to relax and enjoy your journey, watching the view gradually change from fields to cityscapes as you approach central London and your luxury weekend can begin.
To book a stay at Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill click here