This charming boutique hotel
ANTHONY JEPSON discovers Smiths warbler Morrissey’s old stomping ground in Chelsea goes hand in glove with the capital’s well-heeled . . .
WHEN Morrissey headed for London in the 1980s in search of cultural succour and better cardies, one of the neighbourhoods he made home was the patch of Chelsea near Sloane Square.
Stephen Patrick lived the high life of an indie pop prince, residing for a time at Cadogan Gardens among the well-heeled of the capital.
A rented room in Whalley Range it wasn’t. And it still isn’t.
Mancs looking to flee south to The Smoke for a weekend (obviously, you wouldn’t want to live there) could do a lot worse than to head for the cultured environs of Moz’s old stomping ground.
Like the former Smiths crooner, the San Domenico Hotel does things in its own unique style.
The boutique establishment is a stone’s throw from the Sloane Square tube station and just off the King’s Road.
It is Italian owned and styled - and it shows in the classy, subtle spin it puts on keeping its guests accommodated.
Italians embrace la dolce vita.
Why wedge your plates into Tommy Ball’s slip-ons when you can luxuriate in hand-crafted leather?
Why get your whistle at Greenwoods, when Giorgio Armani can knock you up something that makes you feel like a king?
The San Domenico adopts a similar philosophy.
Rooms are split-level mini-suites with a dinky reception area featuring some fancy furniture, leading – down a short fight of stars – to a classy bedroom. The bathroom has marble and tricksy taps.
There’s a pretty basement breakfast room, a stately lounge and a cool hide-away rooftop terrace.
And, discreet though its presence may be, it’s right in the thick of a bustling area.
Drop your bags and head out for a wander.
The designer shops of Sloane Street are only a stroll away if that’s your thing.
And the King’s Road has a winning mix of old-style London boozers and cool bars – and plenty of places to eat.
The food and atmosphere at La Famiglia, an unpretentious old-style Italian – there’s a theme – is a winner. Visit in the summer months and you can eat in a pretty, bustling courtyard at the rear with a chattering mix of locals and tourists.
Savour a cocktail at Eight Over Eight on the way back to the hotel and you will be ready to hit your bed.
And what a bed – a four-poster with a dramatic drape and around 47 cushions.
A good night’s kip and then out into the capital again.
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You can hit the riverside in a few minutes and, avoiding the Market Street-style hell of Oxford Street, head through the city and towards Tower Bridge.
There are some pleasant spots for a pint of Peroni and a bit of people watching on the south bank before pedalling north and west.
Head past Buck House – the Queen isn’t dead, apparently – and head through some surprisingly quiet back streets towards home.
Dump the bikes in Soho and enjoy the busy grid of streets with a buzzing, diverse crowd.
If that all gets a bit too giddy, it’s only a short taxi ride back to the sedate peace of the San Domenico.
Relax before the trip back north.
The ‘jealousy in the eyes of the ones who had to stay behind’ will be apparent on your return.
The San Domenico Hotel in Chelsea, London