COMO The Halkin

Refreshed rooms bring timeless elegance to an iconic hotel at the heart of Belgravia

COMO The Halkin hotel in London

Belgravia may not be as famous as neighbouring Mayfair and Knightsbridge, but this elegant district of the UK capital is a gem in its own right. The area’s terraced Georgian townhouses and picturesque garden squares are home to billionaires, diplomats and celebrities who seek solace while still remaining close to the heart of the action.

But Belgravia’s status as a coveted enclave wasn’t always a given. The area was once known as the Five Fields — a muddy, down-and-out hunting ground for 18th-century highwaymen. Over centuries the district transformed from a lawless hinterland to one of London’s most prestigious addresses, now playing host to dozens of embassies and sprawling multi-million pound homes.

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COMO The Halkin – tucked discreetly on a quiet one-way street across from the exclusive Caledonian Club and Forbes House, the city’s most expensive mansion – serves as the ideal base to explore not only the area, but London at large. Buckingham Palace is a 15-minute walk away, while Hyde Park Corner not only offers access to 350 acres of green space but a handy Underground station connecting to Bond Street and Mayfair in minutes via the Piccadilly Line.

The hotel’s prime location, along with its boutique approach and knack for understated luxury, has long made it a go-to for business and leisure travellers. Now, after more than 30 years at the heart of London’s luxury scene, a recent refresh brings airiness, natural light and a tranquil vibe that’s fitting of the area.

Middle East Traveller checked in to a Studio Suite to discover COMO The Halkin’s new look and experience the hotel’s timeless blend of elegance and modern luxury.

The Hotel

When COMO The Halkin swung open its doors in 1991, it laid the foundations for what would ultimately become a luxury and wellness empire spanning the globe. Spearheaded by Singaporean mogul Christina Ong, this once humble petrol station was transformed into a five-storey haven of opulence, with the help of Milan-based architects Laboratorio Associati.

The investment was monumental, with room fit-outs tipping the scales at over $1 million apiece, but the gamble has long paid off. In the three decades since, a single hotel has flourished into an expansive collection of COMO properties in the world’s most coveted corners — from secluded jungle hideouts in Indonesia to sleek city oases in Singapore and high-end mountain hideaways in the Italian Dolomites.

Yet amid this international spread, The Halkin holds tight to its Asian roots. The corridors are adorned with antique-style sculptures, the menu boasts a unique Balinese afternoon tea, while the lobby is infused with a scent that whispers of distant shores.

The recent revamp at The Halkin is more than just a nod to its 30-year history — it’s a reinvigoration. The rooms have seen a stylish upgrade, but technology has been brought bang up to date, ensuring The Halkin not only preserves its legacy of luxury but also strides confidently into the future.

The Arrival

With its striking red brick Georgian façade framed by grand arched windows and white Portland stone, COMO The Halkin effortlessly catches the eye amid the stuccoed elegance of its tree-lined Belgravia street. This standalone gem bathes its chic lobby in natural light, promising a warm welcome that contrasts beautifully with the more uniform terraces nearby.

Just across the road, glimpses of the Grade II-listed Forbes House hint at the area’s exclusive allure, with vigilant security guards keeping watch over gates that occasionally inch open to reveal manicured gardens and a grand ground-level entrance with no fewer than three sets of French doors.

Back at COMO The Halkin – after a welcome drink and hot towel scented with the brand’s signature Invigorate blend (children get teddy bears) – rooms are reached through curved wood-panelled corridors lit by soft spotlights, leading to doors that meld seamlessly with dark, corrugated columns. Each floor houses a cosy, stylish office nook hidden behind beaded dividers — perfect for stealing a moment of solitude or diving into a good book.

The Room

At COMO The Halkin, the boutique feel is unmistakable, accentuated by an exclusive collection of just 41 rooms — each offering views that either sweep across the city’s skyline or gaze onto serene gardens.

The hotel’s recent transformation has preserved the original warmth of Pommele Sapele wood panelling while subtly introducing more colour through feature walls and plush furnishings in hues of aquamarine, sand, russet, slate, and blue – a nod to the natural elements of earth, water, fire and sky.

Spacious open-plan Studio Suites come with generous seating areas, complete with massive TVs that swing out from the wall with a Netflix-style interface offering the latest movies and shows at no extra charge. The suite’s décor, a creamy palette enriched with accents of brown and gold, promises never falling out of fashion for years to come.

The bathroom, a luxurious retreat in itself, boasts floor-to-ceiling marble, a generous bathtub, and a separate shower, adding a touch of opulence to the space — plus a high-tech Japanese Toto toilet. Signature COMO Shambhala bathroom amenities combine premium-grade essential oils including refreshing eucalyptus with cooling peppermint, lavender and geranium.

Convenience is at your fingertips here too, with room functions including temperature, TV, and lighting effortlessly managed by tablets and comprehensive control panels scattered around the suite. If you’re sleeping in, it’s even possible to activate the Do Not Disturb sign at the touch of a button.

For those seeking the pinnacle of luxury, the hotel’s top suites dazzle with conservatory-style windows, while some offer spacious private balconies. This suite can also connect to an adjoining room, offering an ideal solution for families and larger groups.

The Service

Service shines with the kind of polish you only get from 30 years in the game. Reception staff are all warmth and smiles, and ready to leap into action for any request — even going to great lengths to fetch an item we’d left behind at one of the hotel’s sister properties.

The service during afternoon tea is a highlight, with our enthusiastic server taking the time to share the story behind COMO’s distinctive twist on a British classic (more on that later). When we let slip our love for one of the bite-sized treats on the menu, she quickly reappeared with three more whipped up just for us by the chef.

But the true test of service? Those middle-of-the-night moments, like when the room turned into a sauna late on a stuffy London evening and we were desperate for a breeze. A quick call to the front desk and, faster than you can say “open sesame”, an engineer was unlocking our window, ushering in the cool of night.

The Restaurants and Bars

Wave goodbye to traditional three-tiered stands and crustless sandwiches – The Halkin Bar, just off the lobby, is rewriting the afternoon tea playbook with one of London’s most innovative takes on this quintessentially British ritual. Served daily from 2pm to 6pm, it brings a slice of Bali to Belgravia, serving up vibrant, enzyme-rich dishes that promise to energise rather than induce a post-tea slump.

Pair the hotel’s bold, gingery signature tea — or another of the six blends on the menu — with an array of mouth-watering, often raw, creations. From zesty wild rice salads to wholesome banana waffles, each dish is inspired by the COMO Shambhala wellness philosophy.

The marinated chicken lolly sprinkled with pomegranate seeds might seem modest at first glance, but it’s so flavourful we eagerly polish off the additional three servings brought over by our waitress.

At night, the space transforms into a moody cocktail bar where martinis – rather than green juices – are the order of the hour. An all-day dining menu is served until 11pm, offering larger versions of some of the afternoon tea dishes plus comfort food and Arabic favourites like labneh, hummus and chicken shawarma.

The Activities

While COMO The Halkin itself is light on activities, the hotel more than makes up for it with a concierge team that stands ready to unlock London for you. But it’s their knack for arranging unique local experiences that truly stands out — think decorating your own biscuits in a Belgravia boutique or masterclasses at Twinings, the city’s oldest tea purveyor.

For those looking to keep up their fitness routine, the hotel offers a small gym equipped with all the essentials — treadmills, a cross trainer, stationary bikes and free weights. Each room has yoga mats for personal stretch sessions, and TVs are equipped with follow-along videos that can be called up on demand.

Guests are also given complimentary access to the Shambhala Urban Escape spa at the nearby COMO Metropolitan London, 10 minutes’ walk away. Here, you’ll find an additional gym, steam rooms, and an exceptional range of massages and treatments that draw on Asian-inspired techniques. From reflexology and facials to Thai massage and Reiki, it’s an invitation to indulge in some serious self-care.

Why Stay?

COMO The Halkin has just emerged from a stylish makeover, radiating elegance with its refined decor and attention to detail. With a cosy tally of just 41 rooms, it nails that discreet, boutique vibe — perfectly in tune with the understated luxury of its Belgravia setting.

But despite the hotel’s tranquil, tree-lined location, you’re never far from the action, with London’s top attractions just a stone’s throw away by taxi or Tube. And for those rainy British days when you’re inclined to stay indoors, the hotel’s afternoon tea offers a delightful Balinese twist on a classic, transporting your taste buds straight to the tropics.

The Essentials

  • Rates: Halkin Rooms start at £380 per night on the COMO Early Bird rate, which includes a 20 per cent discount on the usual price
  • Phone number: +44 20 7333 1000
  • Website:
  • Address: 5-6 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DJ, United Kingdom