There can be few lovelier spots to enjoy breakfast on a sunny Sunday than at The Mitre on the banks of the Thames across the road from Hampton Court Palace.
Scullers, skiffs, narrowboats, swans and even a few brave swimmers float by gracefully in a passing parade like no other.
But, then, by the time breakfast comes around, we’ve been wholly beguiled by this brand-new hotel.
The Mitre boasts a sublime Thames-side setting with both restaurants overlooking the water
There are 36 bedrooms at The Mitre, with doubles starting at a reasonable £180. Above, the Catherine Parr suite, named after the last of Henry VIII’s six wives
Afternoon tea is served in the Orangery, pictured, which the hotel says also makes for a great wedding venue
Actually, it’s not new at all. It dates back to 1665 when Charles II needed extra accommodation for guests — but it’s been transformed by Hector Ross, a founder of the Bel & The Dragon chain (now in the hands of Fuller’s) who more recently was in charge of the Beaverbrook hotel in Surrey.
This is his first solo venture (with the help of backers) and everything about it is gorgeous.
No expense has been spared in dressing up the wisteria-clad (the second oldest wisteria in the country, apparently), Grade II-listed building in all the finery it deserves.
There are splashes of rich colour, delicate de Gournay-style wallpaper, oak floors, original art and an atmosphere of such positivity that it’s tempting to dismiss Mr Covid as nothing but a fraud.
The Mitre is located across the road from Hampton Court Palace. The facade is dressed with what’s said to be the second oldest wisteria in the country
The interior has ‘splashes of rich colour, delicate de Gournay-style wallpaper, oak floors and original art’
A peep inside a bathroom in one of the hotel’s ‘Culture Rooms’, designed to ‘reflect the literature and arts heritage of the Mitre’
The 1665 brasserie, where The Inspector had a ‘superb’ lobster and prawn cocktail
Manager Claire Fyfe, MasterChef finalist and artist, greets guests with bubbly enthusiasm and a glass of English sparkling wine. She has no hotel experience but it was clever to put her in charge.
The 36 bedrooms start at a reasonable £180.
Ours is called Sir Christopher Wren, and, with its high ceiling, three tall sash windows and exquisite carpentry, we think the architect would be pleased to lend his name to such a triumph.
There are two restaurants, both overlooking the river.
The fancier is 1665, which spills out on to an outrageously pretty courtyard terrace with a huge fireplace at one end.
Pictured here is the Coppernose all-day cafe and wine bar. According to The Mitre’s website, Coppernose was the nickname given to Henry VIII, after his funds ran low and he was forced to issue cheap copper coated currency towards the end of his reign
Guests can watch their food being whipped up at the Coppernose restaurant thanks to a large kitchen window
The Inspector watched scullers, skiffs, narrowboats, swans and even a few brave swimmers float by gracefully as he enjoyed breakfast at The Mitre
We have drinks here and then move inside for a feast.
My wife’s ‘bang bang’ chicken starter is so generous that we would happily have shared it — but then I might have been deprived of my superb lobster and prawn cocktail.
An unadulterated ribeye steak and tender barbecued lamb rump follow.
During dinner we hear three renditions of Happy Birthday — but you don’t need a special occasion to come here.
And when you do, you’ll feel special.
The Mitre, Hampton Court Road, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9BN. Doubles from £178, room only.
For more information call 020 8979 9988 or visit mitrehamptoncourt.com.