Sustainability and eco-themed travel has been at the forefront of traveller’s minds this year, something that is set to continue into 2020.
The US-based 1 Hotels brand, with outposts in New York, Miami and LA, has been leading the eco pack with energy, water, and environmental design strategies to keep its footprint small. Housed under the parent company SH Hotels & Resorts, 1 Hotels CEO and Chairman Barry Sternlicht has just launched a new hotel brand described as the younger, cooler sibling to 1 Hotels – and the first outpost is in London.
Treehouse London launched this month and continues the eco themes of its older sibling, but with a more playful aesthetic. “I believe Treehouse will introduce a new kind of hospitality experience to the London market—fun, witty, surprising, and as much a destination for visitors as it is a local hangout,” Sternlicht said when the hotel was announced.
As we discovered during our visit, the hotel is not only playful, but also offers some of London’s best views.
Where is it?
Nestled on Langham Place, just minutes from the Oxford Circus Underground and Regent Street, Treehouse London is primed for exploring some of London’s most coveted locales. It took over the eight storeys which used to house the Saint Georges Hotel, starting with rooms on the ninth floor and culminating with a rooftop bar and wraparound terrace on the top floor.
While there isn’t a spa or a gym on site, spin fanatics will find a Psycle just around the corner and a F45 gym a two-minute walk away.
Walking into the street entrance of Treehouse London, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered into the wrong address. The ground floor coffee bar, Backyard, is just next to the BBC Broadcasting House, and hotel guests need to walk through the shop and follow the tree-lined wallpaper to the elevators that will take them up to the hotel.
Occupying the top eight floors of the building, reception is located on the fifteenth floor next to the in-house Mexican restaurant Madera. Here, you’re immediately hit with arresting views of London – a quick peek past the receptionists gives you views over Soho towards the London Eye. Instantly reminiscent of its older sibling, 1Hotels, Treehouse London is packed with greenery, recycled wood and bright, open spaces – but makes its mark with the incredible attention to detail, small childhood trinkets will catch your eye everywhere you look.
As maximalist as the upper floors of Treehouse London are, the 95 guest rooms, including 15 suites, are decidedly more minimalist, with muted tones and pops of colour in the form of childhood toys. Sloth-shaped pillows, a Paddington Bear, cuckoo clocks, a view master and a magic eight ball (with eerily correct answers) can all be found in the rooms creating an air of innocence. The moody concrete walls contrast with the dark chestnut leather couches, copper toned deep soak tubs and the cloudlike king size beds fitted with organic cotton sheets.
The ensuites, with blindingly white tiles, factory window walls and the hotel’s own 100 per cent natural and locally-made amenities, are chic. The rainfall showers, wood panelling and bamboo shoots keep the eco theme running.
Food & Drink
The top two floors of Treehouse London are solely dedicated to its food and drink offerings, with Mexican restaurant Madera, which also has outposts in Hollywood and Arizona, on the fifteenth floor and rooftop bar Nest on the top floor.
As the lift opens to Madera, guests walk past reception and cloakroom before discovering a millennial haven – hanging and potted plants are crammed into every nook giving a sky garden effect and hanging bulbs are covered in wicker shades. The hardwood floors are draped in antiquated rugs and the (almost) floor to ceiling windows give incredible views of the city – opt for a window seat or one of the six-person booths to watch the London Eye change colours as the night falls. Music here plays loud, matching the energy of the upbeat staff.
Vegans will feel right at home at Madera, as it has an extensive vegan menu that diners can request with delights like soyrizo and potato tacos, chipotle-dusted tofu enchiladas and Mexican coconut sashimi.
The regular menu is also substantial – so much so that it can be difficult to choose what to pick. The ‘rocks’ is Madera’s signature dish, the wait staff tell us, cooked over hot lava stone the organic grass-fed carne asada (steak) option was probably the tastiest thing we ate. The menu is designed for sharing, so pick an assortment of dishes and get ready to tuck in. The guac, dotted with pomegranates and served with polenta chips, is a must as is a serving of the tacos – we tried the chicken mixiote (slow baked chicken and pineapple) which was incredibly juicy. Definitely make sure you leave room for dessert, the vegan sorbets are tasty and the oaxacan chocolate cake (also vegan) hit all the right notes.
As with most things, when there are hits there are also misses – the queso fundido was a vat of cheese which was a bit too heavy for a starter. The carne asada enchiladas with the oaxacan mole sauce were hearty but lacking in flavour and the manchego truffle fries weren’t the small portion we were expecting but rather a large bowl of curly fries, something that didn’t quite sit right with the rest of the menu.
Upstairs, Nest was already buzzing when we visited on the second night of the hotel’s opening. Only accessible by a separate elevator from reception, young professional types were sipping on ‘farm to glass’ tequila cocktails and wishing the rain would ease so they could venture onto the terrace. With 360-degree views of London, this bar and terrace is a guaranteed summer hotspot – but also perfect for cosy winter catch ups.
In the morning, after watching the sun rise over London’s skyline, be sure to head back up to Madera for breakfast. Again, a vegan menu is available (the vegan French toast and vegan carne asada looked delicious), but we opted for the regular menu. The Madera fry up – complete with wagyu sausage and turkey bacon – and the eggs bennito – a Mexican take on eggs benedict with poached eggs, spinach and turkey bacon served in crispy tortilla bowls with smoked chipotle hollandaise – both caught our eye and were equally delicious.
Each of the rooms provide stunning views – the Lookout rooms are perfect for people watching on Regent Street and the Cityscape rooms give views across Fitzrovia, the BT Tower and Wembley Stadium. But our pick is the Skyline rooms (which come in both Queen and King size), as it offers the most Instagrammable views across to The Shard, Canary Wharf and the London Eye – meaning you can sight see from the comfort of your window nook.
With playful touches scattered throughout, Treehouse London is for those looking for a spirited yet stylish break in a whimsical setting. The location means the hotel is a great option for tourists looking to be steps away from the UK’s busiest shopping street.
Rooms from £279 per night, treehousehotels.com