Immaculate black and white diamond pattern tiles beckon you from the London streets, between the potted olive trees, the alabaster Doric columns and in through the smoked glass door of The Laslett; Tracy Lowy’s latest boutique hotel.
The atmosphere is immediately relaxed and effortlessly stylish, absorbing the very essence of the hotel’s surrounds in every detail, even the low and tranquil reggae of the Henderson Bar drips and oozes the accents of Notting Hill. The locally produced artwork is bold and daring, yet perfectly consistent with the calm décor and uniquely British feel. Here, you may spot original sketches by the legendary Barbara Helenicki, the genius designer behind Biba in the 1960s, whose much exalted store stood not too far away. And at the end of the day, guests are invited to curl up with a well-thumbed vintage Penguin paperback, expertly curated and artfully arranged on shelving in their beautifully lit rooms.
Spread across five handsome and elegantly appointed Victorian townhouses, The Laslett enjoys a perfect location for those wishing to explore the local area – it is a stone’s throw from Portabello Road, the largest street market in the world. You may find yourself bargain hunting with Stella McCartney or Kate Moss, savouring a coffee opposite movie stars and political high rollers, or, at a certain time of year, swept up in the sights and sounds of Europe’s biggest carnival (the hotel borrows its name from Rhaune Laslett, community hero and founder of the Notting Hill Carnival). And if the call of the wider city tugs at your heart, The Laslett is just seconds from Notting Hill tube station.
Of course, none of this has happened by accident. Tracy Lowy grew up with a family in the hotel business, although her initial dreams were to be an architect she couldn’t help but soak up the values of customer service and quality furnishings. So, when Lowy spotted a gap in the market for modern, luxurious, distinctive apartments, she decided to combine her skills and knowledge to replicate the intimacy, comfort and space of a stylish city home, speckled with the cream of local art and unique, carefully selected curios. The Laslett may be her latest venture but it shares all the qualities of Lowy’s previous ventures, and it certainly won’t be her last.
What was your background in hotels before opening The Laslett?
I’m the founder of Living Rooms – The Hotel Alternative. In the 90s, I conceived the Living Rooms concept; a collection of apartments, suites and residences combining the service of a hotel with the style, comfort and space of a stylish home. The Laslett is part of a four-piece collection.
With “boutique hotels” popping up everywhere—most with more rooms than what classifies a “boutique”— how do you maintain and promote your boutique status, as you do only have 51 hotel rooms?
The Laslett is a place for locals to love, and guests to discover. The dynamic ground floor is more neighborhood hangout than hotel lobby. We work very closely with local partners and collaborate with artists and designers throughout the year with regular events and pop-ups. The Laslett is a unique hotel that captures the energy, spirit and the creativity of the local neighbourhood.
Do the other properties within Living Rooms have any overlapping features?
Yes, they all have a very domestic home-from-home feel. The attention to detail is key and they are all superbly located across London: Marylebone, Mayfair, Little Venice and Notting Hill. They feel personal and intimate creating an overall effect of understated luxury.
What is it like to be located in one of London’s most historically chic neighbourhoods?
Notting Hill has a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant neighbourhood. There has been something of a resurgence with many restaurant, bar and independent boutique openings that are the new hotspots in London. They are drawing a cool creative crowd and a lot of the people are transitioning from East to West.
How have you incorporated local culture and British flavor into the hotel?
I worked with the architect Tom Bartlett of Waldo Works and the brief was to create a hotel that was original, that spoke about traditional and modern London all at once. We looked at the fashion of the late 1980s and early 1990s and tried to integrate some of the idiosyncrasies of the interiors of Notting Hill houses at that time.
What do you think is one of the more unique aspects that makes your hotel standout?
The Laslett feels more like a private home than a Hotel. The guest rooms and suites feels as though they could be straight out of a stylish friend’s townhouse and provenance is at the heart of products and services curated for guests at The Laslett. The hotel houses an enviable collection of British furniture and art inspired by local culture and British style.
What was the design process like in vetting and designating the different suites?
Tom and his team sourced furniture from British designers and commissioned many bespoke pieces from award winning companies such as PINCH, and antiques and curiosities from local antique dealer Jerome Dodd of Le Couilles Du Chien.
The artwork includes work by local artists Harland Miller, the late Barry Kamen, Toby Mott and Barbara Hulanicki. All the guest rooms have curated walls of art and well-chosen Penguin classic books for bedtime reading.
What are three adjectives to describe the atmospheres of The Laslett? And three adjectives to describe the decor?
Atmosphere: relaxed, understated, homely.
Decor: stylish, elegant, British.