A London hotel and dining room where “Blytonesque British school meets Bombay palace”


Lalit’s dining room

On trips to London we’ve  stayed in some wonderful hotels. Examples include the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington (on my first trip, on assignment for The Chronicle); the Royal Automobile Club (also for The Chronicle); and the Stafford Hotel (a favorite in St. James); the Conrad London St. James (walking distance to Westminster Abbey); and the Waldorf Hilton in the theater district (all with our family). We also rented a flat in Kensington once (well before Airbnb was around).

This time I stayed at the Langham London, a grand dame in Marylebone, and a boutique hotel called Lalit, near the Tower Bridge. I am thorougly enjoying Lalit. It belongs to a small chain of Indian-owned boutique hotels, resorts and, well, palaces in cities such as  Bangalore, Jaipur, Goa and Udaipur.

This is Lalit’s first in London. It’s more “hip” that most of the city’s hotels. As one review put it: “Blytonesque British boys’ school meets Bombay palace bedecked in brilliant blue.”

The Lalit opened in 2017 with 70 rooms. It is located in a Victorian building that once was a school. Bedrooms are described as classrooms, and public areas include the “Headmaster’s Bar” and “Teachers’ Lounge,” reflecting the building’s history as home to St. Olave’s Grammar School.

I’m a longtime fan of Indian food (one of London’s benefits), and this hotel’s in-house restaurant called Baluchi is one of the city’s best. It is a gorgeous dining room, with vaulted ceilings, rich blues and dark wood. The food includes flavors from all over India: dal, butter chicken, tandoori prawns, lamb shank and more. Artisan breads, including naan, is prepared in a tandoor.

The hotel is reasonable: I paid about $250 a night in the “shoulder season.” The service is great too. When I travel I like to return to some old haunts, but also discover new ones. I’m glad to have discovered this hotel and its restaurant and would happily return.

Lamb chops (smoked aubergine, anchovy chutney and beetroot crisp)

Butter chicken (tandoor roasted chicken, tomato and fenugreek sauce)

Sea Bass (coriander and garlic, naan crumble, masala mash potato, madras sauce, and pickled carrots)

Homemade chocolates for each room at night

Teacher’s Room: The Lalit’s contemporary bar

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