When you’ve lived in London for the best part of two decades it becomes increasingly difficult to be impressed by things. It’s not that you become jaded per se, more spoilt.
There’s a new launch every week; so many ‘hottest places in town’ you’re living in a perpetual heatwave; and in every conversation another new “you have to go” comes and, well, goes.
It’s like real New Yorkers never look up.
But when I say, “You have to go to art'otel”, I mean it.
For starters, it's arty. Of course it is – the clue's in the name. Award-winning Spanish artist and designer Jaime Hayon has brought wall-to-wall colour and creativity to every aspect of the hotel.
But perhaps more pertinently, there’s a guests-only swimming pool on the roof. Now, a rooftop pool is cool wherever you are. But when it overlooks a national icon like the Battersea Power Station, it’s taken up a level.
The 16th-floor heated infinity pool also boasts an inbuilt hot tub, and is banked by suitably lush deckchairs from which you can enjoy the view and, hopefully, the sunshine.
Food & Drink
Take a walk around the decking and you’ll find the rooftop bar there too, serving cocktails and snacks. This is cherry on the cake of Joia, art’otel’s destination restaurant and bar, which opened this February.
It’s the latest creation from celebrated Portuguese chef Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa – of two Michelin-starred Alma fame. Expect relaxed Iberian tapas but cooked to haute-cuisine standards. It’s a heady combination – especially once you throw in those views and a Gluggle jug of white sangria.
Our dish of the day was the beetroot-red carabinero prawns in a moreish orzo bisque. It whisks you straight to a sunny seashore in Catalonia.
If you’re going in hungry, plump for the grilled ‘txuleton’ steak – a 30-day aged Salamancan black angus forerib which will make you drool for days.
Finish it off with a traditional Pao de Lo, a fluffy-light traditional sponge dished up with a goat’s cheese ice cream that deftly balances its sweetness.
Aperitifs or digestifs – preferably both – at Joia’s bar are a must. Descend the grand staircase, pull up a plush velvet seat, and work your way through 12 signature cocktails, or tap into the impressive cellar of Portuguese and Spanish wines and vermouths. Don’t be scared to ask for advice, though – there’s a particular focus on lesser-known producers here, so you could be left scratching your head otherwise.
With a name like art'otel, you’d hope the bedrooms were suitably stylish, and you won’t be let down.
The flatscreen TV even has the greatest hits of Van Gogh and Kandinsky et al cycling through to turn your wall into a picture gallery. A courtesy call within ten minutes of arriving in your room is a nice touch – just to check everything is to your liking. Which it will be, thanks to the impressive views, a super comfortable bed and enough Kevin Murphy toiletries to make it worth taking them home with you.
Everything in art’otel is curved – from panelling to shelves to mirrors, even the building’s exterior walls. There’s barely a straight surface in sight, which makes it very soft and inviting.
The Tozi Grand Café on the ground floor is a striking place to start your day. Aesthetics are part bandstand, part alien spaceship, depending on your preferred reference point. May we recommend the streaky bacon and fluffy pancakes to start (ask if you want your bacon crispy), followed by croissants that even a Parisian might praise. Just make sure you head to the hotel gym at some point in your stay to work off some of the calories.