The Mitre Hampton Court Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel overlooking the Thames that has been extensively refurbished. It was the first stop on our Ferrari F8 Spider Tributo tour and delivered exceptional food, decor and service with great panache.
Set like a gem on the north side of Hampton Court Bridge, it boasts a long terrace overlooking the water. Just opposite the Hampton Court Palace. Its origins date back to the reign of Henry VIII, built at the direction of Charles II as a hostel for Palace visitors.
It occupies a large space, with buildings jumbled about higgledy-piggledy, which adds to its abundant charm. There is parking in front of the house with a parking attendant. A twin columned entrance leads directly into a lovely welcome lounge on the left, replete with drinks and a classic L shaped wooden lobby on the right.
Booking in was swift and easy and we were warmly escorted to the Catherine Parr Suite. A gorgeously decorated spacious room with a view over the bridge. The colour palette is marvellous, with subtle grey-blue hues on all the woodwork contrasting the red velvet curtains on the four-poster bed with the green velvet chairs. The stunning warm-toned copper freestanding bath by the main window completed this picture of luxury and comfort.
Our favourite discovery was the drinks cabinet providing a fine selection of Courvoisier brandy, Kings Ginger liqueur by Berry Bros. & Rudd and Cazcabel gin. A small sip of each was very warming. There is also a comfortable en suite bathroom with a large walk-in shower.
The best was yet to come, downstairs is a library lined with oak bookshelves lit by a pergola skylight. The decor is a hotch-potch homage to England including a racing green chesterfield sofa with a footrest next to a stand-up neon Wurlitzer that will play songs from your smartphone. It tells you a lot about a hotel when they dedicate an entire room to relaxed reading and contemplation. They put the client first. Bravo.
We wandered out to catch the last of the light and strolled along the Thames Path that runs for three miles along the river to Kingston. We admired Hampton Court Palace to our left with riverboats and jetboards floating by on the water to our right. It was bliss.
That evening we dined at Signet 1665, their Riverside Brasserie next door, at a bay window table overlooking the Thames. With such a sublime view, it is the ideal spot for a romantic liaison. The decor sticks with the same room theme, blending muted rich greens and reds with muted blues. A luxurious ambience suited to enjoying yourself, effortlessly comfortable and welcoming.
My partner had the Popcorn Cauliflower, Sweet Chilli & Sesame to start. Genuine surprise from us both that cauliflower could be made so interesting and delicious. I had the 1⁄2 Dozen Rock Oysters, Lemon, Shallots & Tabasco which were soft, fulsome and milky. So far, so perfect.
Our Grilled Whole Atlantic Lobster was an even bigger surprise as it was the softest, juiciest and tastiest I have ever had in England. An absolute triumph. Superbly balanced by the crunchy Garlic, Ginger Butter & Zucchini Chips.
My Chocolate & Praline Mousse with Space Dust, Nasturtiums & Strawberry Sorbet was a delight to savour, a plethora of different textures and flavours. As was the Raspberry & White Chocolate Soufflé with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream. It was light and fluffy, the raspberries lifting the chocolate with a little zing. You need a chef who knows what they're doing to get this right.
Another plus for The Mitre is the old world personal service. Ronnie Kimbugwe, The Culinary & Operations Director and co-owner, greets everyone personally. Many customers and locals knew and hailed him warmly by name during our stay. A recommendation you cannot fake.
Ronnie showed us around the maze of nooks, crannies and alcoves at the Mitre Hotel. It is truly a fantastic venue with terraces on many different levels, where you can socialise with others or select a private area with friends. The Kings Ginger winter terrace has a pop-up Berry Bros. & Rudd boutique and they serve homemade warm bombolini doughnuts or afternoon tea.
The Coppernose Cocktail & Wine Bar is the perfect starting place to get to know this impressive hotel. Henry VIII was nicknamed Coppernose after he ran low on funds towards the end of his reign and issued copper currency. His fondness for spending on fine food, wine and the ladies is well documented.
The Orangery is a plant laden conservatory with plenty of light, designed to mimic a Henley Regatta boathouse. It also has a private terrace, with rattan chairs and a bar and can be rented privately for up to 80 guests for lunch or dinner.
Ronnie is utterly charming and rattles off stories about the hotel, the refurbishment and the local area with gusto. He is passionate about creating an excellent social hub for locals and guests to enjoy in convivial surroundings. And his expertise in fine food and drink is second to none.
He spent over six years with the Gordon Ramsay group at Claridges and the Bel and Dragon Country Inns, where he created an extraordinarily successful group of gastropubs across the South of England.
We finished the evening off with a 12-year-old Balvenie whisky whilst admiring the light over the water, listening to the gentle hubbub of the guests and admiring the surroundings.
The Mitre can arrange the hire of several private launches for expeditions down the Thames and brews its own beer available on draft, called “The Six Wives”. They also do a Mitre Picnic hamper to have by the banks of the river.
All in all, the Mitre Hotel at Hampton Court surpassed all our expectations. It is a place to come regularly for your fix of fine wine, friendship and superb food. The variety of venues means you'd never get bored, the wine list and cocktails will warm the cockles of any connoisseurs heart and the luxury decor and personal service are simply excellent.
The Mitre is the ideal venue to emulate King Henry VIII excesses in lush surroundings.