The Mitre Hampton Court pulls you in with its charm and sophistication before you’ve even walked through the door. Sitting snug on the banks of the River Thames, you can almost taste the crisp glass of Whispering Angel rosé on the sun-drenched terrace before you’ve parked your car. The delightful Grade-II listed property is grand and boasts a great deal of character, both on the outside and inside.
Steeped in history, The Mitre pays homage to King Henry VIII through its design and the rooms are aptly named with playful nods to the late ruler – including the Catherine Parr suite. For a stay away from the bustle of the city, or for something luxurious and relaxing post-lockdown, The Mitre is, undeniably, the idyllic bolthole you’ve been searching for, positioned a stroll away from boutique and antique shops, pretty cafes and independent restaurants. There’s also the ability to rent a boat and meander up the river, or explore the nearby Hampton Court Palace.
The hotel, part of the luxurious Signet Collection, opened in 2020 but it was built in 1665, and you can feel the grandeur and history perfectly mixed with the modern. You’re immediately at ease due to the friendliness of the staff, who were quick to hydrate us with summery drinks, and you can sink into a plush sofa as you get checked in while taking in the design skills of Nicola Harding who has opted for an environment “rich in soulness and atmosphere.” The walls of the airy and beautiful hotel are lined with historic nods to the surrounding area, or quirky pieces of artwork including a lion splashed against a yellow background with ‘I won’t eat you’ playfully scrawled above – a delightful piece by Kate Boxer.
No two rooms are alike, with standouts spots including the ethereal lounge with floral-patterned wallpaper and the Baz Luhrmann-esque Minstrel library, which bursts with books and boasts an honesty bar and jukebox – two post-dinner must-haves. I had the pleasure of visiting the striking hotel in early summer and even took my dog along to this incredibly pooch-friendly hotel. Following a stroll around the area on a delightfully sunny day, I checked into my beautiful room for the night, named the Music Room. Swinging from a little drawstring bag were freshly baked cookies, and a ginger liqueur with two glasses beneath it was the tipple that whet my palate before dinner. It’s little intricacies such as these which really show attention to detail. For my dog, Luna, who, might I add, was just as elated about our stay as I was, there was a snug bed, a lion toy, treats and even poo bags, the latter of which are always handy when you’re a dog owner.
The Mitre has 36 rooms in total, of which no two are the same. Some have delightful internal courtyards, while others boast views of the Thames and Hampton Court Palace and have fire pits and jacuzzis. For special occasions, why not opt to stay in one of their two signature suites, including The King Henry VIII and Catherine Parr rooms, with a VIP car valet service, personalised turn down and gin decanter being just a smattering of the inclusions. Our stunning room was booming with character and it ticked the box of being both spacious but snug at the same time. In one section of the room sat a grand, pink sofa perfect for sprawling across with magazine and G&T in hand. The large beds are soft to the touch with only the finest Egyptian cotton used, and the warm and smart bathroom with classic styling housed a sensational shower which set me up for my day. As the doting dog mum that I am, one of the aspects of the room I found totally charming was the dog bed which sat in its own area. We sank into our own beds after dinner and found them very comfy indeed – so much so that even the summer heat didn’t disturb the slumber. In the morning, should you wish, you can ring and one of the staff members will bring you fresh milk for your coffee or tea. It’s the little things.
Dining at The Mitre was such a delight. It was a warm evening, life felt back to normal after the hardships of lockdown, and you could feel the building buzzing with laughter and excitement. We dined al-fresco on the 1665 terrace, which I’d highly recommend. The restaurant is named after the year The Mitre was built, and you can take in beautiful views of the river while feasting at the all-day brasserie. We were wined and dined by the wonderful waiting staff, who never failed to wear smiles on their faces and each course delivered was accompanied by fun conversations and laughter, courtesy of person placing it on our table. It’s an idyllic spot for a romantic meal, or to house a birthday party with pals, at which a good dose of Whispering Angel rose wine is a must. The Mitre has the world’s first stand-alone Whispering Angel hut, and this crisp and moreish rose is the perfect sundowner on the terrace tipple. As well as the enticing wine hut, there’s also a centrepiece bar inside the stunning restaurant, and an open kitchen.
The food was simply scrumptious, much to the dismay of my dog Luna who sat patiently at the table while we dined. It is wonderful to be able to bring your pooch along to the restaurant, again playing into just how dog-friendly the venue is. We began with crispy cauliflower popcorn with teriyaki and soy, which burst with flavour and set the tone for the rest of the meal. The English asparagus was a standout starter, as was Devon squid with rocket and chilli salad. It’s a real treat for the taste buds to be able to savour food from different parts of the UK, and to find an appreciation for where we live through fare, especially in a time when people, unable to go abroad, are finding the beauty in our home soil. Every dish was so flavourful, and each was presented beautifully. We went from turf to surf for our main courses, and opted for fish dishes. I delved into the pan roasted sea bass, which was utterly delicious, and the broccoli, petit pois and lemongrass lended perfectly to the feast.
Did we do dessert? Silly question. Seeing strawberry Eton mess cruise past us to be positioned on different tables in the surrounding area was envy-inducing enough for me to order one. It billowed out of the glass, with strawberries, chantilly cream, elderflower and mint swirling around in the glass to create the perfect palette ender. I chased it with an espresso martini and my guest enjoyed a decaf coffee and, with bellies full, we headed to bed. The exquisite, quintessentially British food and drink at The Mitre is helmed by Culinary and Operations Director, Ronnie Kimbugwe, whose infectious personality makes your stay even more memorable. Ronnie’s background includes over six years with the Gordon Ramsey group at Claridge’s and the Bel and Dragon Country Inns, so we were in good hands with his knowledge and choices during our stay. Like food, drink and a cosy room are musts during a hotel stay, so too are front-facing personalities as wonderful as Ronnie’s and his staff. As well as the 1665 terrace, you also have the option of the vibrant and stylish CopperNose restaurant, which takes its name from Henry VIII who was nicknamed “CopperNose” after he issued cheap currency. At this all-day dining spot you’ll take in views of the Thames and some delicious food to boot, with sample dishes including Atlantic lobster and flamed English asparagus. Breakfast is just as brilliant as dinner, with friendly waiting staff quick to get you seated so that you can get your tea and coffee fix. Offerings include hearty full English breakfasts, mango smoothie bowls, sweet corn fritters, pastries and more, to get you set for your day.
The Mitre does its part in being environmentally friendly and grows food onsite, including herbs on the orangery roof. It houses beehives on the main roof and they even smoke their own salmon. The Mitre also brews its own draft beer called ‘The Six Wives,’ – apt! We were informed that they hope to eliminate all single-use plastic products and I am sure they will be passionate to do so. We were invited to learn about The Mitre’s near future plans for its Pamper Spa Suite, which launched in June 2021. The Pamper Spa Suite comes in collaboration with Lola’s Apothecary, and it allows guests to sink into the hands of therapists for massages and facials, in luxurious trappings created by Nicola Harding. Guests can sip on Lola’s Apothercary’s wellness tea range supercharged with adaptogenic herbs most-treatment, before retiring to their rooms to get ready for a sumptuous dining experience.
Van Gogh was a tourist at Hampton Court and sang its praises when he wrote letters to his brother Theo after his visit, and he was right to do so. The beautiful setting of The Mitre is unrivalled and the hotel captivates you with its history and luxurious as soon as you walk through the doors. Whether you’re after a relaxing staycation, a trip with your pooch or perhaps you’d like to hit up the Orangery for an idyllic Thameside wedding, this hotel ticks all boxes and it’s a British bolthole you won’t want to miss off your list. Thank you to The Mitre for a memorable and beautiful stay.
Fancy staying? Visit mitrehamptoncourt.com