The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell
What We Love
- The Victorian-style bar that serves some of London’s best cocktails—no small feat in a city with a longstanding distilling heritage
- Traditional afternoon tea featuring thin cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and strawberry shortcake is served in the lounge every afternoon
- The rooms’ homey yet luxurious atmosphere
- Exploring the cobblestoned streets of Clerkenwell, home to excellent restaurants
What To Know
- Complimentary Brompton bikes are available for exploring the charming neighborhood of Clerkenwell
- Children are welcome—the hotel has cots and rollaway beds—although there are no special amenities or activities for little ones
- In-room massages are available upon request, and guests can get a day pass to a nearby gym
- Breakfast is served at sister Zetter Hotel across the street
The 13-room Zetter Townhouse occupies two renovated Georgian buildings across the street from its larger sister property, The Zetter Hotel. Behind a prudent blue door lies a flamboyant atmosphere that looks like it was decorated by an eccentric (and quite well-heeled) British auntie. In fact, the portrait of an imaginary Great Aunt Wilhelmina hangs near the reception, next to a hodgepodge of bordeaux velvet sofas, bookshelves crammed with old tomes and trinkets, and a rather striking collection of taxidermy that includes a cat in a vintage dress (yes, you read that right). A section of the ground floor is occupied by the award-winning cocktail bar, with a menu created by master mixologist Tony Conigliaro. Tipples with names like Somerset Sour, Twinkle, and The Flintlock are concocted from house-made bitters, herbal remedies, tinctures, and cordials. There’s also tasty gastropub fare like fried anchovy-stuffed olives and Scotch eggs. For a full meal, guests can go to the much-lauded restaurant at The Zetter, which also provides breakfast and room service. Bedrooms are slightly more subdued than common areas, though they feature exotic accents like headboards fashioned out of repurposed carousels, Buddhist statues, and intricately carved four-poster beds. Flat-screen televisions, classic novels, artisan teas, and Egyptian cotton linens are among the nice in-room amenities.
In the Area
The neighborhood of Clerkenwell has managed to maintain an intimate old-school vibe that sets it apart from other parts of central London. Along its cobblestone streets, artisanal producers stand next to award-winning restaurants and bars. Chief among them is St. John, where celebrated chef Fergus Henderson pioneered the nose-to-tail movement. Another Michelin-starred restaurant in the area, Club Gascon, serves dishes from Gascony, chef Pascal Aussignac’s native land. Modern Pantry is the place to go on sunny days; guests make a beeline for its spacious outdoor terrace on St. John’s Square, where they can dig into casual dishes infused with worldly flavors. And then there’s the Zetter Hotel’s own excellent restaurant, which specializes in modern, locally sourced cuisine.
How to Get There
I stayed at the Zetter Townhouse for a week in October 2018 and then for a night in mid-December 2018, both times on business. (My office is around the corner.)
My first impression of the Townhouse upon checkin in October was not great. I arrived on a Saturday afternoon, and the beautiful parlor was full of people having tea. There was no one there to greet me with my bags and it felt weird to check in the middle of the cocktail lounge. I was eventually taken to my room --I think room 7 on the floor 2 floors up from the cocktail lounge. (I'm not sure if that's 2nd or 3rd floor in the UK). Unfortunately, at night, the noise from revelers in the cobble outside the hotel and garbage cleaners kept waking me up. The noise seemed to travel right to my room. The safe was also not working, and even though I asked the reception several times to fix it, it was never repaired.
So...onto the good-- and there is a lot of good. After two nights of poor sleep because of the noise issue, I asked to switch rooms, and I was put up in room 9 on the top floor. It was smaller, with a romantic sloping ceiling but the sound issue was better. The hotel promptly addressed the noise issue, and treated me really well after I requested the change, including giving me a complimentary cocktail.
I LOVED the cocktail lounge -- all the servers were so friendly and kind and I felt like it was a second home. The drinks, though pricey, were delicious and creative and the crowd was always interesting and fun.
By the time I left -- 7 days later--I felt like the staff was my family, so much so that I bought them all a parting gift.
Upon my next trip to London in December, I stayed on the top floor in beautiful room 11 with a gorgeous bath and a view of the Shard. I only stayed one night, but I wish I could have stayed longer, since the room was very pretty.
Despite a rocky start, the Zetter Townhouse won me over and I would happily stay there again.
Stayed for a romantic midwinter break in the Suite. Like the public areas the room was quirky and cosy (proper separate living area and bedroom with great view of St Johns Square). Breakfast is taken in an incredibly cosy lounge in front of a warming fire and I liked the quality of the small-but-perfectly-formed buffet including fresh fruits and compotes, for once, a healthy granola that wasn't coated in crispy sugar but was still delicious.
The lounge is also a great place to hang or entertain friends in the evening,("bites, coffee and cocktails" rather than a traditional sit-down menu) full of sofas, armchairs and a random assortment of intriguing artefacts and taxidermy. Overall very much the feeling of a private club.
We had an issue with a lost room-service order which marred the first evening but was more than made up for by the management's excellent care and attention to detail fro the rest of our stay. You can tell they really take a pride in creating the nice atmosphere.
A great little boutique hotel with a quintessentially Modern-British-Heritage feel.
For my wedding in December, about 2 dozen friends and family flew from the States and stayed at the Zetter Hotel and Townhouse. The team was incredibly accommodating and easy to work with from the beginning emails nearly a year in advance.
Everyone had great things to say about the rooms and staff. The lobby of the Hotel ended up being a fun meeting place for everyone and the cocktail bar at the Townhouse was great for nightcaps.
When my father was ill the day of checkout, the staff continued to be extremely kind and accommodating to let him check out very late so he could recover.
My husband and I also enjoyed spending our wedding night in the Townhouse Apartment and having a very relaxing breakfast in bed!
Overall, the hotel and staff were excellent and I highly recommend the Zetter to anyone.
The Zetter town house is a reasonably attractive boutique hotel in a quiet setting. We were allocated a very disappointing disabled bedroom with no bath and a sink so low it was unusable without kneeling down, despite paying for a premium room. The room is not suitable for any who is not in a full time wheelchair. Had we known in advance we would not have stayed and it is not appropriate to inform guests .
The eats we order on arrival were very good. The breakfast reasonable but half an hour to get a cup of tea is not good. Need to work on some aspects of service.
We were in the basement. Accessibility an issue. There is a lift, but then a step up and down to the room.
Upstairs in the bar/drawing room is nicer, but they wouldn’t take the booking.
We had a gluten and lactose intolerant.
They were catered for
Macrons spectacular. Scones hard. Everything else was good.
Not cheap. But very enjoyable. The savouries were better than the sandwiches, just.