The weekend: For a recent milestone birthday I decided I wanted to celebrate with an intimate group of friends – but I couldn’t face hosting a dinner party at home. A gathering in the private dining room of a restaurant was an alternative but they can lack atmosphere. So when I discovered that Onefinestay allows you to rent out luxury homes in London with a variety of lifestyle services – including catering – available, I thought it would be the perfect solution, especially as we have a young child who could be put to bed upstairs.
Where? We rented a stylish, four-storey house in a converted stable block on a peaceful, cobbled mews in Belgravia. We were under strict instructions not to post details of the exact location on social media. Onefinestay is sensitive about the privacy of the owners it works with – who, in this case have an impressive collection of fine art that they want to protect. There’s an oversized limited-edition iPad drawing by David Hockney in the living room, and an original Banksy and Lichtenstein in the downstairs kitchen – and I’m being totally serious.
The stay: There are three bedrooms in total at Groom Place, and the master has an elegant en suite bathroom and expansive walk-in wardrobe. Being a historic building, it has a lot of character but not a lot of natural light as there aren’t full-height windows at ground level. It had a lovely atmosphere and was tastefully decorated with a Farrow and Ball colour scheme and an impressive sets of copper pans in the kitchen. We were able to watch Netflix on both the TVs in the living room and kitchen, and there was good wifi connectivity. It was an ideal hideaway for a two-night staycation.
The food: Booking a takeaway is never a bad idea, especially in central London when you have a great choice of restaurants, but for a special occasion you can’t beat a private chef. Luckily that’s something that Onefinestay can help with. Groom Place has a lower-level open-plan kitchen and dining room with an oval-shaped dining table for ten people. Chef services start from £65 per person (based on a group of six people) to upwards of £100 per person, depending on the menu and number of courses.
Cuisine themes include Japanese, fish BBQ, India, French experience, vegan and Italia. Pre-made Moore House cocktails can be supplied from £10.50 for 100ml. Kids’ menus, breakfasts, and gourmet food and beer pairings can also be organised.
The service: Unlike at an Airbnb where you typically pick up the keys and let yourself in – Onefinestay sends a professional greeter to welcome you. Guests additionally have the support of a 24/7 concierge team a phone call or message away. All the basics such as tea, coffee, milk and snacks are provided but if you send a shopping list in advance the fridge will be fully stocked with everything you need. Hotel-style linens and bathroom toiletries are also provided.
Add-on services that are available include luxury car transfers, children’s equipment rental, professional nannies, breakfast delivery, massage therapists, laundry, private tutoring, gym memberships, cooking classes, tours and reservations at top restaurants. Weekly housekeeping is included in the price – and best of all is you don’t have to tidy before you check out.
What to do: The Horse and Groom pub at the end of the street is a cosy place for a pint, and there’s a Waitrose about ten minutes’ walk away. Guests are given a key to the nearby community garden on Belgrave Square, and Harrods and Sloane Street are around the corner, as are Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Concept store Pantechnicon is worth a visit.
Need to know: Stays at Groom Place with Onefinestay start from £1,102 per night