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Staycation travel: A review of the second Nobu hotel to open in London

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The Inspector checks into the second Nobu hotel to launch in London and is very impressed (but warns that you’ll need deep pockets for the restaurant)

  •  There are 249 rooms, with The Inspector checking into one on the 10th floor, with a private balcony
  •  Facilities at the hotel include a Pilates studio and a first-floor restaurant that can seat up to 200 people
  •  Remember… The Inspector pays his way – and tells it like it is…

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No sooner do I reach my room on the 10th floor (with private balcony) than I’m pinged. But it’s nothing more serious than a WhatsApp from reception welcoming me and asking ‘Should you need anything…’ etc.

‘Impressive,’ I reply.

But, then, everything about this latest Nobu in London’s Portman Square (the second in the capital and 13th around the world) is impressive, even if some cameos – such as British sculptor Ivan Black’s five-metre-long installation hanging in the two-storey lobby (below), featuring rotating metal fins – might not suit all tastes.

The second Nobu hotel in London has opened - the 13th in the world - and it is located on Portman Square

The second Nobu hotel in London has opened – the 13th in the world – and it is located on Portman Square

'There’s not a lot going on in my room - and that’s the point,' writes The Inspector

‘There’s not a lot going on in my room – and that’s the point,’ writes The Inspector

Nobu London Portman Square 'exudes confidence' and has a minimalist aesthetic that has a 'wonderfully calming effect'

Nobu London Portman Square ‘exudes confidence’ and has a minimalist aesthetic that has a ‘wonderfully calming effect’

Robert De Niro is co-founder of Nobu, along with the ‘black cod miso’ specialist chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and apparently it was his idea to open the 249-room hotel during the pandemic, then close it, then open it again.

Possibly as a result, it exudes confidence. The minimalist aesthetic has a wonderfully calming effect; staff float rather than walk. There’s a Pilates studio in the basement, and the first-floor restaurant, with its open kitchen, can sit up to 200 people, with a further 50 outside on the terrace.

There’s not a lot going on in my room – and that’s the point. Sliding doors, Japanese tea set by the bed, Oriental lanterns, framed calligraphy, press-button shower. Absolutely no clutter.

Eating on the terrace is on a first-come-first-serve basis and it’s chocka so I’m given a table upstairs. It’s outrageously expensive (expect to pay £100 a head with not much to drink) but the people-watching comes free.

Most diners look like they’ve just got off their yachts – or sunbeds. All are glowing.

The first-floor restaurant can seat up to 200 people, with a further 50 outside on the terrace

The first-floor restaurant can seat up to 200 people, with a further 50 outside on the terrace

The Inspector says of Nobu's restaurant: 'It’s outrageously expensive (expect to pay £100 a head with not much to drink) but the people-watching comes free'

The Inspector says of Nobu’s restaurant: ‘It’s outrageously expensive (expect to pay £100 a head with not much to drink) but the people-watching comes free’

Double rooms at Nobu London Portman Square start from £345 per night

Double rooms at Nobu London Portman Square start from £345 per night 

My waiter recommends an ‘entry level’ glass of sake for £16. I love the tuna and salmon bite-sized tacos and sashimi salad but am still hungry.

‘The baby tiger shrimp with three sauces is one of our most popular dishes,’ says the waiter. But it turns out to be a big disappointment – a bowl of tempura shrimp with three little dips. Scampi with an inflated price.

Breakfast is served in the bar area near the lobby. I fancy the full English but am not sure if it’s appropriate (nobody else is having it). So it’s coffee and yoghurt with a few trendy berries – and I feel in the zone.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Nobu London Portman Square, 22 Portman Square, London, W1H 7BG. Doubles from £345 (room only). For more information call 020 3988 5888 or visit london-portman.nobuhotels.com. 

Rating:

 

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