SW3, what a picture-perfect place to be? The unblemished tree-lined area, home to the elite, houses London's most monumental landmarks, including The Saatchi Gallery and Harrods.
Most city folk tend to pop by for a quick immersion into the area's art galleries and atmosphere, whilst others, lucky enough to live here, are often spotted strolling with their well-coiffed dogs.
This pretty and pristine neighbourhood is known as THE area for London's most notable properties. And if interested in buying a townhouse in Egerton Crescent (named Britain's most expensive street after Billionaires Row), it may be a difficult feat requiring a lot of saving. However, fear not, there's a little slice of paradise for everyone in SW3, as just around the corner lies an eccentric, sexy, history seeping gem: The Franklin London.
Owned by Starhotels Collezione and conveniently situated opposite the V&A Museum, The Franklin is a pure delight with a treasure trove of secrets.
Glide through the nondescript door of the period building (look for the F by the gates), where you are warmly welcomed by discreet staff in the lobby. You won't see a traditional reception desk in sight; instead, guests are invited to the parlour. Sitting amongst great carrara tables, hand-carved from marble, for an easy check-in process, The Franklin London allows one to leave the hustle and bustle mentality behind.
The 35 room boutique hotel oozes style, sophistication, and character. This, in part, is down to interior designer, Anouska Hempel, otherwise known as Lady Weinberg. Hempel, an actress, hotelier, and now interior designer, is also the mastermind behind the visuals at Blakes Hotel, The Grosvenor House Suites, and famed Louis Vuitton Paris store.
Although the hotel was closed for most of the pandemic, it reopened last year and appears to be thriving. The arresting interiors combine modernist and art deco design with an abundance of monochromatic details.
The lobby area is sexy and moody without feeling too masculine. Hempel's design continues to pour natural light into key areas of the heritage-listed building, incorporating open floor plans and optical illusion. Venetian églomisé mirrors provide depth allowing light to bounce around each room.
Low, long minimalist furniture blends harmoniously with the architectural elements of the property. Monochromatic marble flooring continues from the lobby to the bar and lounge, where dramatic grey pairs effortlessly with deep onyx tones. Rich velvet sofas soften the masculine energy adding further decadence whilst making the space feel expansive.
Next to the check-in area (the best seat in the house) lies the Emerald Parlour (sometimes referred to as the Green Room). Transporting you to a faraway land and in complete contrast to what one may expect to find at The Franklin, it is a hidden gem, evoking conversation, serenity, and a little glamour.
Staying in the Presidential Suite, guests are invited into a moody yet sexy environment backing onto views of Egerton Gardens.
The statement suite (although expressing hints of Dark Academia) still manages to pay homage whilst reimagining the flapper and modernist periods seen in the common areas.
The room feels colossal in size; highly polished parquet flooring complements the masculine tones, whilst rich velvets on upholstery and geometric metallic touches (seen on table edges, lamps, and marbled wallpaper) add interest and drama.
The console in the lounge is the centrepiece providing a nod to the Roarin' 20s, where carefully positioned fine art and fashion books are displayed for guests to peruse freely. The cream rug softens the dark colour palette, pulling the room together and creating a sumptuous atmosphere.
The large four-poster Star Bed is hard to miss, with Frette linen, perfect for the most peaceful slumber following your turn-down service.
The marble bathroom is a grand affair, laden with Penhaligon's toiletries, GHD hair tools, Frette towels and a separate changing area with further storage. The double basin console leads to a wet room complete with a freestanding tub and more Penhaligon's toiletries.
If staying with guests, there are two separate wardrobes and toilets and a bidet – perfect for privacy and those who hate sharing.
Other features include:
A desk with The Franklin London stationery
Samsung Smart TV
Coffee machine and tea making facilities
Hammam bookable via reception
Daily newspaper of choice
The team behind those little touches clearly has impeccable taste as tea and coffee are presented in radiant Richard Ginori china.
Other rooms include the Garden Suite, an opposite of the sultry tones seen in the presidential. The subdued, romantic room with garden views has a stencilled tribute to artist Joseph Hermann, a close friend of Lord Egerton (who lived in the building), and some have whispered, potentially a lover. Other generous rooms include the hotel's executive and junior suites, and deluxe and superior rooms – all equally endearing.
Back downstairs near the parlour is the Franklin Bar, where skilled mixologists amongst debonair decor serve elegant cocktails and champagne. Continuing to embrace the art deco theme, statement mirror wall panels add further decadence to your evening of drinks, where the menu serves an array of delicious beverages perfect for wetting your whistle.
Try the Franklin Sour if seeking a smooth yet delightful take on the Cognac Sour. It's a surprisingly light and refreshing affair mixed with Rémy Martin, spiced bitters, and a hint of peach.
If preferring a sweet yet creamy alternative, the Peanut Butter Russian (a twist on the classic white Russian) is a great tipple, where Russian Sipsmith Vodka adds a little kick to the aromatic Borghetti coffee liqueur and sweet peanut.
Immerse your taste buds in the flavours of The Franklin Restaurant by chef Alfredo Russo for a gastronomic experience. Originally from Turin, Russo is known for his experimental and innovative take on Piedmont cuisine.
Starting his career as a chef at the tender age of thirteen, Russo went on to open the award-winning restaurant, Dolce Stil Novo (at the Reggia di Venaria), aged just twenty-two, earning a Michelin Star and winning L'Espresso's Italy's Best Young Chef award. Dolce Stil Novo, to this day, retains its prestige as one of the world’s best restaurants.
When experiencing the pleasures of Piedmont, one always expects rich, robust flavours from the region famed for its slow food movement; so as you can imagine, there was some excitement in the air when examining the menu.
Starting with the Carne Cruda al Tartufo, an explosion of flavours is experienced with this classic Italian steak tartare dish, bred from Piedmontese cattle (known for being the best in the world). The tartare is lean, tender, with generous lashings of fragrant black truffle – by far a favourite of the menu.
Next is the mild yet sweet Sogliola di Dover (Dover Sole), cooked effortlessly in vanilla butter and accompanied by grilled onion and rainbow chard. The tender sole, seasoned to perfection, is meaty yet delicate and the earthy, slightly bitter chard adds depth to the dish.
For those seeking the delights of the region's famed pasta, try the Tortelli di Carni Bianche. Pasta dishes eaten in Piedmont are fresh, primarily egg pasta, and with a meat filling. In this case, Russo has chosen free-range chicken. The delicate pasta casing, rich in colour and flavour, works well with the succulent chicken and this is accompanied by a parmesan fondue and zesty lime.
Dessert is an extravaganza, and although offered the chef's selection (of everything on the menu), the show's stars were the soft and fragrant Crema Caramellata and the Tiramisu. Both delightful and presented in their classic form, the homemade dishes were a treat!
A perfect nook from the pressures of life, a night at The Franklin London will leave you feeling energised, reconnected, and ready to take on the world. If looking to visit and not stay, the hotel has plenty of charm to keep you occupied, perhaps try the themed afternoon tea, or relax with a cocktail at The Franklin Bar – the world is your oyster, after all.
For more information and rates, please visit The Franklin London
The Franklin London
Address: 24 Egerton Gardens, London, SW3 2DB
Phone: 020 7584 5533
Words and Photography Jheanelle Feanny