Thames and Hudson – Style City Guide
Caroline Main isn’t exactly rushing round trying to fill her 4 room/3-suite hotel located around the corner from what is probably Notting Hills most fashionable 200 – metre stretch. In fact, she has never advertised at all, during the three years she has been operating the Main House hotel. She hasn’t needed to. Word of mouth is enough to keep this spacious Victorian house, with unmarked entrance, relatively full for most of the year. But it’s hard to keep a secret, especially the one about very reasonably priced, roomy, stylish accommodation in London with personalized service that makes you wonder why you ever settled for less. “Simple and Professional” is Main’s mantra and it applies to everything from the furnishings (though you could also add a certain flair for design here) to the taxi service she offers to collect you and your luggage from the airport, for which you pay only the fee to the taxi company.
She is equally strict about the running of the Main House, whose rooms have been stripped of fussy decoration but retain period details and generous proportions. These are not highly kitted – out boxes but airy spaces with large windows, polished wood floors, a few choice antique furnishings and rugs and lots of fresh white linens. The first and second floor rooms, true to their Victorian design, are the grandest in terms of space and include separate sitting and bath areas, one suite per floor. The top floor is given over to two rooms and a smaller shower room, usually let as a suite for families or people travelling together. Main herself is often on call, along with manager Beatta, to bring tea, biscuits, wine, give local advice and arrange taxis. Guests are free to entertain their own visitors, and a separate doorbell even allows them to answer the door themselves – just like home. This and the lack of signage means that it feels more like a house, says Main. So there, the secret is out
Each beautifully appointed room takes up a whole floor of this Victorian town house in Notting Hill, close to Portobello Road, the antiques markets, art galleries, and designer shops. Such attractions as Kensington Palace and Albert Hall are within walking distance. Russian princesses, Japanese pop stars, and Los Angeles film producers have already discovered this spot. Owner and creator Caroline Main is a former African explorer, Mayfair nightclub owner, and DJ. To furnish the house, she shopped “quirky” on Portobello Road, picking up gilded mirrors, watercolors of elegantly dressed 1930s women, and similar antiques. The ceilings are dramatically high, and the gleaming wood floors are swathed in animal skins. All rooms have freshly renewed private bathrooms with showers.
Reduced rate at nearby health club and spa; bike rental; courtesy car to and from point of arrival; limited room service (breakfast only); laundry service; same-day dry cleaning