Glass enjoys a staycation at The Mitre, Hampton Court

TAKING control of a building steeped in British history that is perched opposite a palace is not a task for the faint-hearted. Especially when you’re handed the keys weeks before the world was hit by a pandemic. Though circumstances were far from ideal, Hector Ross, Mike Procopakis, Ronnie Kimbugwe and Claire Fyfe have created something extraordinary in very unordinary times.

Claire Fyfe, Ronnie Kimbugwe and Hector Ross of The Mitre Hotel

The Mitre from the river

The Mitre building was originally commissioned by King Charles II in 1665 for the purpose of housing additional guests from Hampton Court Palace – however, there is evidence that the origins of the site date back to the reign of King Henry VIII.

Standing proud and surviving the test of time has earned this place a Grade II listing, and though it has been reconstructed since its royal beginnings, the flesh and blood of this place is still very much there.

The Mitre Hotel is located on the banks of the Thames opposite the entrance of Hampton Court place. It is comprised of 36 rooms, two restaurants, an events room and an outside bar – the saying good things come in small packages, truly applies to The Mitre.

Bedrooms at The Mitre Hotel

All 36 rooms have been decorated and designed to be unique – using 220 different paint colours across the range of rooms.

The overall design aesthetic can best be described as eclectic, mixing vintage pieces, many of which were thrifted from Kempton market, and classic country house characteristics with spurts of bold colour and modern art threaded through.

It was as if interior designer Nicola Harding had picked the best bits from all stately homes to create a hotel that somehow felt incredibly contemporary yet didn’t hide its old past or creaky floorboards. Complete with de Gournay hand-painted wallpapers, 1940s large Tuscan bowls and four poster beds, The Mitre feels like a home away from your own.

Interior of The Mitre Hotel

As I was shown around by General Manager Claire Fyfe, she highlighted the ways in which the hotel does their part in helping the planet.

Plastic bottles in rooms have been replaced with tinned versions, used water will be filtered prior to outflow to minimise water usage and their long-term plan is to become somewhat self-sustaining through growing herbs in their Orangery, keeping bees on the roof and smoking their own salmon.

Even with the interior sustainability plays a factor reusing furniture and repurposing products, but adding a new lease of life through fabrics; such as ikat lampshades on historic lamps.

Bedroom at The Mitre Hotel

The 36 rooms come in five categories: classic, heritage, culture, royal and the two suites: the Catherine Parr Suite and the Henry VIII suite. The hotel even offers nine dog friendly rooms and three rooms which include bunk bedrooms fit with old Fortnum & Masons picnic baskets full of wooden toys – ideal for family visits.

Having stayed in the Catherine Parr suite myself, I might be slightly biased but the copper free standing bath tub with a view of the Thames was an experience I never knew I needed it until then.

Copper is a comical theme interwoven into The Mitre as it relates to Henry VIII who earned the nickname Coppernose during his reign. This name came about after he issued coins with lower percentages of silver to be made due to financial issues, that led to the coating wearing away leaving the image of the King with a copper coloured nose.

Even one of the two restaurants at The Mitre is named the Coppernose to invite guests to embrace the history of the building.

The Mitre offers two dining venues, the Coppernose and the 1665 – both curated and run by Ronnie Kimbugwe, whose CV impressively includes a decade at the Bel and Dragon Country Inns and notably, spent six years working alongside Gordon Ramsey at Claridges.

Dining at The Mitre

The first restaurant is the more casual of the two, all day dining including breakfast, whereas the 1665 is a more stylish brassiere offering impressive dishes.

My dinner was entirely hand-picked by Kimbugwe, who showcased his favourites from Hampshire burrata with burnt orange to start, followed by both surf and turf of seabass and beef, before taking me back to my childhood with Bombolinis (Italian style doughnuts filled with nutella).

The menu didn’t overcomplicate good quality ingredients, instead Kimbugwe takes the flavours that you know and makes them his own.

World’s First Whispering Angel Only Bar at The Mitre

Outside on the terrace, mix-match seating overlooking the Thames makes for your next favourite spot, ideal for breakfast, a casual lunch or even having a pre-dinner drink from the world’s first Whispering Angel only bar.

Prior to my dinner, I tried the Signet Spritz, a highly refreshing cocktail made with lemon gin, grapefruit, honey and sparkling wine and spoke to Jennifer, one of the staff who had the most interesting stories to tell.

The terrace at The Mitre

It is hard to fully express my experience as I truly do believe that this team have been able to capture the essence of what home feels like but in a luxury hotel. The attention to detail that they have put into this place from curtain fabric choice, to personalised mini-bars and every flavour in each mouthful of food, The Mitre is truly a shining force in a time of darkness.

by Imogen Clark 

The Mitre Hotel, Hampton Court Road, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9BN

Tel: 020 8979 9988