A short walk from Regents Park tube station and I find myself at the front of boutique hotel, No. 10 Manchester Street. The large, heavy black front door opens onto a small but welcoming reception area, where I am greeted by a very friendly concierge, who immediately offers me a refreshment while we discuss my stay.
As he tells me about the hotel, I sit back and take in my surroundings. Like all Edwardian townhouses in London, the inside is much grander than what you initially think; there are 44 bedrooms and suites at the 4-star hotel, an award-winning Cigar Terrace and an Italian restaurant, Dieci. The theme of the hotel is quite dark, with black floors and tables, and contrasting red, grey and gold furniture – very boutique but also elegant.
One of Ten’s main offerings are the cigars; guests are spoilt for choice with its extensive selection of hand-rolled Havana cigars, which can be sampled in the indoor tasting room or enjoyed on the terrace. Stepping out onto the terrace, it looks very much like a gentleman’s club, and although I am not a smoker, there’s no denying the intense and almost nostalgic smell of the cigars.
We stayed in the Courtyard Room, on the ground floor. Though small, it didn’t feel cramped, with a spacious bathroom, queen size bed, TV and well-stocked mini-fridge. The real treat about this room was that it had its own private courtyard, complete with outdoor furniture, lights and heat lamps for cooler evenings. Though it was rather enclosed, with high walls, there was something very mischievous about having our own private hideaway, especially in a London hotel.
For those who want a little more space, there are also Junior Suites and Grand Suites, which have extended or separate living spaces, both styled with hand-crafted Christoper Guy lounge furniture, kitchenettes and in some, a walk-in rain shower and free-standing bath. The Grand Suite is ideal for longer stays or special occasions. I was more than satisfied with my room. For me, it’s all about the bed; I slept wonderfully among the plump pillows and cotton sheets – I also had air conditioning, a delight during a rare hot English summer.
After working up quite an appetite walking around Regents Park, we began by nibbling on the restaurants’ homemade focaccia, while we perused the menu. Soft and moist, it only needed a little oil and vinegar to be enjoyed. To begin, we shared the beef carpaccio, thinly sliced and served with pine nuts and caper flowers, as well as the 24-hour aged parma ham and mozzarella, served with more bread, this time bruschetta. Both were delicious, the beef tender and the cheese creamy.
Before our mains, the waiter was kind enough to make us a small sharing plate of one of the hotel’s favourite dishes, the fish stew. A mixture of calamari, octopus, chunks of sea bass and juicy tiger prawns, served in a rich tomato sauce. It was delicious.
For the main course, we decided to try something a little different, the slow-cooked rabbit leg and the classic veal ‘Milanese’, complete with a side of spinach. The rabbit was soft and tender, oozing with the flavour of rosemary, though the asparagus looked as though it had been cooking at long as the rabbit leg. The veal was well cooked and lightly breaded, served with a little tomato and rocket salad. I could imagine enjoying this traditional dish on a terrace somewhere in Italy. Unfortunately, the spinach was incredibly salty on what were two already rather rich dishes.
To go with our meal we ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir, a light summery red, which suited our mixture of both fish and meat. It was also the perfect accompaniment to our final dish, the homemade tiramisu, which we immediately regretted ordering ‘to share’.
Out and about
Nestled just off Marylebone High Street, there is plenty to do around the hotel, whether you want to stay local or venture into the city. Regent’s Park is just a fifteen-minute walk away or there are plenty of brasseries and independent boutique shops lining the village-like streets of Marylebone. Ten is also close to some of London’s main attractions, including Madame Tussaud’s, Sherlock Holmes Museum, London Zoo and of course Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, overflowing with different shopping outlets. With London being such a busy place, this hotel offers a lovely escape after a day in the city.
Being situated in such a great location, near to Marylebone and Paddington train stations, this hotel frequently entertains businessmen and women, as well as tourists visiting the city. That said, in the late afternoon/evening those who live in the local area can usually be found relaxing on the cigar terrace, enjoying drinks, food and of course, the finest cigars.
The worst thing
With it being such a lovely evening in London, I would have liked to sit out on the terrace for a pre-dinner drink, but as someone who doesn’t smoke, I found the cigars to be a little overpowering. Luckily, we had our courtyard and it gave us the perfect excuse to pop open the champagne.
The best thing
A tie up between the bed and the service. If you don’t sleep well, your whole experience can be tainted; the room was quiet, dark and the bed incredibly comfortable. From the waiters to the concierge, the service was incredibly attentive and everyone made us feel very welcome.
A one-night stay in a courtyard room costs anything from £207 to £356, depending on the time of year, and the petite room starts at £139, while the larger suites start at £154. The hotel currently has a ‘Sweet Summer’ offer running, available between July 29th and September 9th, where guests will be treated to room discounts, champagne and even breakfast for two.
tenmanchesterstreethotel.com; 10 Manchester Street, Marylebone, London W1U 4DGT + 44 (0) 207 2333 333