Created by combining eleven separate townhouses in Kensington, The Other House has been ten years in the making but now seems perfectly timed for post-pandemic living. Behind it is Naomi Heaton, the vivacious Fendi-scarf sporting chairman of the LCP Group, who has personally overseen every single aspect - from the all-British suppliers list to the tiny gold statues of creatures dotted around each room.
The Other House recently quietly opened and is already at full capacity. And no the name isn’t a riff on Soho House, Social Eating House nor on Hong Kong’s acclaimed Upper House: it is simply the most evocative way of explaining the concept - your maximalist home away from home.
The concept is inspiring modern living, reacting against the identikit and revolving door nature of many hotels. Guests can stay for a night, a month, a year and be greeted as personally or as infrequently as desired. Guests can also combine numerous rooms or book out particular areas so that multi-generational family trips can be together, but apart - if you’ve ever wanted your own Chelsea courtyard then this is your chance. Rooms are even given their own dedicated street names - so effectively you could be staying at 9 Gilbert, The Other House - which helps with the residential feel.
Everything is facilitated through technology. An app is used for bookings (lifts, laundry, reservations) and the residence has modern conveniences built in (so there’s a dedicated space for your Amazon and Deliveroo dropoffs). The interiors by Bergman are opulent and very much in the Annabel’s/The Ivy Club/Luke Edward Hall mode. There are three separate recurring designs: a tiger, a crane and a peacock - all created by talented designer Mariana Rodriguez.
There’s a palpable sense of wit and fun - the member’s bar/workspace is called The Owl and the Monkey because guests have the wisdom of one and the curiosity of the other. There’s a decent gym with a selection of high spec bikes and weights and a luxurious vitality pool kept at an inviting temperature. There’s a library created by Pandora Sykes, playlists by DJ Fat Tony and wellness activities picked by Arizona Muse. Throughout vintage oil paintings in gold frames have been artfully ‘disrupted’ by vivid paint strokes. Rooms open onto lounges or kitchenettes rather than your bedroom (more like stepping into a flat).
The informal casual restaurant, in a tiled dark green, is open for breakfast and dinner (those wanting dinner will have to suffice with bar snacks or order in). Currently offering simple seasonal soups and salads, one pot dishes are in the pipeline as are supper clubs and guest chefs. There isn’t a kids menu as the younger guests seem happy to pick the main one - particularly if it happens to be 'The Hughmongous', a massive sandwich first created by a man called Hugh and featuring sausages and a fried egg. Coffee comes from Kiss The Hippo, tea from someone equally virtuous.
For those who want to become members, there’s a subterranean lounge ‘The Keeping Room’, complete with lockable whisky storage, a piano, some theatrical fake fireplaces and table service. Meeting rooms - the Francis Bacon and the Mervin Peake - pay tribute to former locals. There’s also a cosy ‘Den’ with a vast screen for movie nights or product launches. Soon to come will be a shop selling the pyjamas, cups and aprons. Most excitingly, she’s got other plans foot including Covent Garden (next to the Lyceum) and in Belgravia. The best thing is that rooms start at £350, rising up to £650 for a room at the top of the building in the turrets: we sense Heaton is only just getting started.