The Sybarite reports on the rise (and rise) of Marylebone.
Circa 2000, Notting Hill was considered London’s chicest neighbourhood, thanks to the eponymous rom com which saw a London bookseller (Hugh Grant) fall for a fabulous film star (Julia Roberts) against a backdrop of pretty pastel townhouses.
10 years later, Notting Hill was over. Dead in the water. If you wanted to experience hip London, you needed to head east.
Make no mistake: in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games that took place primarily in the sparkling Stratford Olympic Park, east London changed beyond recognition to become the capital’s coolest spot. Run-down warehouses were replaced with quirky shops and independent cafes packed full of spiky haired, skinny jeans clad trendy types.
But cool, by its nature, never stays cool for long. Fast forward to 2016 and the focus is now firmly on Marylebone (pronounced mar-le-bone) – a good looking, affluent neighbourhood north of Oxford Street.
So why has Marylebone become the hottest playground in the world, right now? The answer, can be attributed in part, to The Chiltern Firehouse.
Located, as its name suggest, in a former fire station, Chiltern Firehouse – the brainchild of Andre Balazs – has certainly helped shift the spotlight to Marylebone and is arguably the biggest reason why we’re all flocking to NW1.
The fire station turned hotel and restaurant has been the celeb hang out du jour since opening just over two years ago. A-listers like David Beckham, One Direction, Cara Delevingne, Bradley Cooper and Kate Moss have all been spotted slipping through its doors
But while Balazs’ celebrity hotspot may have dominated the headlines to date, it faces competition in the shape of the newly opened Zetter Townhouse over on nearby Seymour Street.
This boutique property – the Zetter group’s second townhouse hotel – encompasses a chic rooftop apartment and terrace, plus a hip cocktail lounge in addition to 21 bedrooms and two studio suites each uniquely decorated by Russell Sage.
The acclaimed designer has drawn inspiration from the tales of the Townhouse’s fictional former resident – the loveable if eccentric ‘Uncle Seymour’ (look for his portrait in the parlour) – resulting in a space crammed full of colourful furniture and objets d’art.
Yet while the Zetter, together with Chiltern Firehouse, have without a doubt helped make Marylebone hot once more, it’s not only hotels that have put NW1 back on the map.
Upscale, independent shops and restaurants have recently arrived on Marylebone High Street. Here’s looking at cult Parisian cake shop, La Patisserie Des Rêves, the relaunched Michelin starred restaurant, Trishna – not to mention Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s latest outpost.
That’s right: the duo behind Brasserie Zedel, The Delaunay and The Wolseley have chosen to open Fischer’s, a restaurant “evocative of early 20th century Vienna” in the area.
Marylebone is also becoming known for its chi chi boutiques offering one-of-a-kind items – a breath of fresh air after the retail purgatory that is Oxford Street.
Subsequently fashionistas are skipping along Marylebone’s gorgeous Georgian squares and streets for shops such as Suzannah (a couture designer whose high profile customers include Pippa Middleton), Les Senteurs, Ronen Chen, Mouki and Prism and, as of last week, Equipment X Kate Moss.
La Moss has launched a line for Equipment – and tellingly, the supermodel has chosen to showcase the capsule collection at a pop up shop in none other than Marylebone.
The Kate effect aside, Marylebone offers culture: The Everyman is a charming cinema that’s a million miles away from the mega multiplexes (think Vue, Odeon et al).
Elsewhere the Wallace Collection – home to one of Europe’s finest collections of works of art, paintings, porcelain, furniture, arms & armour and more – is only a short walk way.
Whisper it quietly: Marylebone may just be the capital’s most charming district.