Ever wished you could bottle the scent of a posh hotel and take it home to spritz? We asked seven of the city’s fanciest establishments what they rely on, so you can make your living space smell just as sweet.
Picture the scene: you’re on holiday, and you’ve just arrived at your fancy hotel for check-in. As you step inside the entrance hall, you take in the freshly cut flowers, the plush drapes, the fabulously ornate architecture high above as you turn your gaze skyward. But one thing captivates your senses above all else: a heavenly aroma drifting through the air.
If you’ve ever walked inside a ritzy establishment and been greeted by such a scent, then you’ll know just what we’re talking about. Truly, if we were granted superpowers for the day, one of our wishes would surely be the ability to bottle those elusive vapours forevermore. And back in the real world, we’d seriously consider packing our bags and setting up home in a luxury suite, just as Coco Chanel once did at the Ritz.
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Even though a swanky getaway (or any kind of getaway) is out of reach for the time being, recreating the scents of fancy hotels in your own living space is totally possible. With that in mind, we spoke to the finest establishments in London to uncover the trade secrets behind their sweetest-smelling fragrances; what they use, why they use it, and most importantly, where we can buy the exact same products. From beautifully bottled perfumes to bespoke aromatherapy candles, discover the scent secrets of the city’s swishiest hotels below. And breathe…
The Landmark London
Standing proudly next to Marylebone Station, The Landmark London, which recently celebrated its 120th anniversary, is an opulent masterpiece: think marble ballrooms, crystal chandeliers, and a spectacular glass atrium with towering palm trees. To complement the grandeur, the hotel created a bespoke wax aromatherapy candle (£45) with natural fragrances of white tea and thyme. “Not only are the scents complimentary of each other and highly relaxing,” explains head of marketing Marta Díaz, “but the Thyme reflects The Landmark London’s British roots, partnered with hotel’s international outlook embodied by the White Tea”.
Once upon a time, The Ned was home to a bustling bank. These days, it’s Soho House’s glamorous flagship hotel and members’ club. In Ned’s Club Spa, Cowshed’s Relax Room Candles (£38) are used to “set the tone and cast a more flattering, softer light,” explains general manager Svetlana Strbac-Lewis. “The candles blend hibiscus to help you slow down, lavender to restore harmony and eucalyptus helps to clarify the mind.”
The Trafalgar St. James
With the best views of London’s skyline, The Trafalgar St. James is a chic urban sanctuary feet away from the chaos of Trafalgar Square. It smells delicious too, thanks to the Molton Brown Orange and Bergamot Scented Candles (£39) burning across the hotel. “Its unique combined scent not only smells great, but has relaxing properties which ensure guests have a rested stay in the bustle of the city,” says marketing manager Steven Guarino.
In the heart of Covent Garden sits The Henrietta Hotel, a delightfully quirky 18-bedroom hideaway filled with hand-painted wallpaper, art deco features and plenty of retro charm. “We use Zenology Camellia Sinesis Ambiance Trigger (from £12.97) and spray the fragrance in the rooms before check-in,” explains general manager Lucas Beguinot. “We believe it helps guests remember their experience at Henrietta, as we all know that perfume triggers the best memories.”
Co-created by design maven Philippe Starck, newly launched Mama Shelter in Bethnal Green is a colourful, buzzy funhouse with karaoke rooms and a living room-style restaurant. The hotel even has its own perfumer, Rami Mekdachi, who describes fragrances as “powerful potions linked to our memories”. To that end, he’s created a range of home fragrances and candles: notes of atlas cedar, vanilla, amber, and musk waft across the building to create a cosy, luxurious vibe.
The Soho Hotel
Love British designer Kit Kemp’s vibrant, witty interiors? She’s also the co-owner and creative genius behind Firmdale Hotels, which owns boutique boltholes like The Soho Hotel and Ham Yard Hotel. The group’s London and New York establishments are all filled with Kemp’s playful, patterned textiles – and the fragrant delights of her signature Lavender Eucalyptus and Gardenia Sandalwood room sprays (£20), which instil a feeling of calm.
In 1865, Europe’s first ‘Grand Hotel’ opened its doors to Victorian high society, where it quickly became a favourite of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Today, stepping inside The Langham is just as captivating, thanks to its period grandeur and the scent of their signature Ginger Flower candles (£46 for a set of four). “We knew we needed something that would work in both tropical and temperate climates,” explains front office manager Susann Gruenberg. “You’ll be able to smell its subtle blend of sweetness and spice in all our properties across four continents.”
Images: Getty, courtesy of brands
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.