Despite being bang in the middle of London, Marylebone has a village feel about it. Of course, part of the neighbourhood is actually called Marylebone Village, but this really does ring true, with its Georgian streets lined with cosy cafes and pretty houses. Oxford Street’s more elegant cousin, the area has been one of London’s most fashionable districts for hundreds of years, and is a popular hotspot for shoppers – but it’s also a great place for those interested in wellness. C&TH’s Ellie Smith and Daniella Saunders (who both fall into that category) visited to check out Marylebone Village’s wellbeing scene, from fitness to food to holistic treatments (with a cocktail or two thrown in for good measure, it is nearly Christmas after all).
A Wellness Staycation In Marylebone Village
Marylebone is home to an array of top hotels, including long-standing grand dames like The Landmark London and Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill. But if you fancy a hotel with a young, fresh vibe, check out The BoTree, located on Marylebone Lane. The first opening from new group Place III Hotels, the boutique hotel’s name is inspired by the spiritual fig bodhi tree – which sets the tone for its plant-filled, earthy feel. Amsterdam-based designer Concrete was brought in to mastermind the interiors, focusing on natural materials with pops of colour, with a homely, cosy vibe throughout. The lobby is particularly jazzy, featuring sculptures from local artists including a fig tree made from reused coffee cups.
The BoTree aims to tap into the conscious luxury market, partnering with mindful companies like vegan, cruelty-free brand Jo Loves, whose products you’ll find in the bathrooms. Bathrobes are made from 50 percent recycled polymers, eco-friendly bedding is used, and rooms have motion sensors to optimise energy saving. The hotel has a very modern feel: instead of the traditional check-in method guests are invited to sit down and enjoy a glass of fizz while a friendly member of staff signs them in using an iPad. Rooms, meanwhile, range from Superior to the huge BoTree Suite, which has its own outdoor terrace. We stayed in a Deluxe, a stylish and spacious room with an open-plan feel, featuring a rainfall shower, a seating area with sofas, and a comfy king-sized bed.
The hotel’s piece de resistance is LAVO, the first UK branch of the esteemed Italian restaurant. Overseen by Tao Group Hospitality, it’s a beautiful space decked out with plants, blue velvet banquettes, floral patterned seats, and twinkling fairy lights. Chef Stefano Lorenzini heads up the kitchen, focusing on homemade pastas and pizzas – with signature dishes including tagliatelle infused with marjoram, sweet butter and Kaluga caviar, and a showstopping Wagyu meatball topped with whipped ricotta. Be sure, also, to stop by The BoTree Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail – or a post-food dance, with DJs playing tunes on weekends until late.
Kick off your wellness staycation with a sweaty session at AMP, a gym which focuses on small group personal training sessions. The gym area is large and well kitted out, and classes are limited to four people per trainer, which means you get more individual coaching than you would in a usual group session. Daniella and I were put through our paces in a strength session with the lovely Jess, who was encouraging, motivating and approachable. AMP has a strong sense of community – all the people seemed to know each other, with most of the clientele Marylebone locals.
After ticking off the physical exercise box, we headed to The Well Being By Cubex to tend to our minds. This clinic focuses primarily on audiology and cognitive health, taking a holistic approach – but it’s not only for those with hearing issues. We enjoyed an enlightening session with co-founder Jerusha, who hosted a private meditation session, beginning by sharing some tools and techniques for approaching mindfulness in a practical way. Both Daniella and I admitted we struggle with switching off our thoughts, but Jerusha’s magic worked wonders and we found ourselves able to quiet our brains for a blissful 15-minute period.
Home to the world-famous Harley Street, Marylebone is also filled with lots of great beauty clinics. We popped into the renowned Margaret Dabbs for a medical pedicure, which kicks the usual polish-and-go up a notch, leaving your feet feeling baby smooth. Elswhere you’ll find the Fresh flagship, which offers 50-minute signature facials in-store.
Finally, no trip to Marylebone Village is complete without a browse around the shops – particularly during the festive season. When we visited the twinkling Christmas lights had just arrived, and the street was buzzing with shoppers aplenty. The high street is lined with an array of independent boutiques and big names, including a gigantic John Bell & Croyden, Diptyque, Le Labo, Ganni, Lululemon, Maje and more. And, of course, a trip to Daunt Books is always a treat, one of the city’s most beautiful bookshops.
Marylebone Village is jam-packed with great eateries, from the glitzy Carlotta to Mexican fine dining restaurant KOL and the legendary Chiltern Firehouse. But if you’re after nourishing food which doesn’t compromise on flavour, head for lunch at Delamina Kitchen, a gorgeous little restaurant offering Mediterranean sharing plates. There’s a great plant-based offering here: think creamy hummus topped with slow roasted tomatoes, plus pillowy pitta to mop it up with, colorful tabbouleh salad, charred cauliflower with pomegranate molasses, and goat’s cheese with roasted pumpkin and radicchio. We paired all this with spicy margs and couldn’t resist trying the vanilla cheesecake, served on a crispy base called Kadayif – heaven. Wellness is all about balance, right?
Other healthy spots nearby include Nathalie, a neighbourhood deli offering smoothies and on-the-go breakfasts; veggie restaurant The Gate; and AOK Kitchen, an Instagram-friendly bakery where everything is free from refined sugar.
For dinner, treat yourself to an Italian-inspired meal at Caldesi, an authentic, buzzy restaurant serving freshly made pasta, and meat and fish dishes such as pan fried sea bass, roasted chicken with truffle pecorino, and monkfish with an olive and caper sauce. With friendly staff and a great wine list, it’s no surprise this is a favourite with locals. Afterwards, pop in to 28-50 By Night to catch some live jazz before heading back to your hotel for a big old sleep.
THE FINAL WORD
Whether you’re a visitor to London or a resident after a spoiling staycation, Marylebone Village is the perfect feel-good destination. Alongside all the famous attractions, the stellar food scene and the obvious shopping appeal, there are plenty of wellness-focused activities on offer, and you could spend hours wandering its charming streets without getting bored. After a blissful 24 hours in the neighbourhood, we felt like locals. A quick glance at Rightmove shot this dream down pretty quickly – but one can dream.
Book a stay at The Bo Tree by visiting thebotree.com