For Eva Ramirez, a staycation in London Paddington’s Inhabit hotel offered the ideal spot for a little rest and relaxation. She shares how to make the most of the peaceful atmosphere, eco-focus and cosy environment.
I spent a considerable amount of my childhood in London’s Paddington, so I know it well. To non-locals, I can see how it seems more like a transit area than a neighbourhood, but tucked away behind the bustling railway station and tourist-filled pavements are quaint little streets that are surprisingly charming and uncrowded.
Elegant Georgian architecture, grand white-stucco terraced houses and cobbled mewses make up most of the residential streets in Paddington, an area which is sandwiched by two royal parks – Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Venture down one of the tree-lined rows and you’ll find Inhabit, London’s first mindfulness-led boutique hotel. Deceivingly large, it’s set across six Georgian townhouses which were knocked through and combined to create the hotel. Aesthetically, Inhabit has a modern, urban feel to it which is infused with a sense of calm, and their ethos is one which encourages sustainability, community and wellness.
I recently booked in for a staycation to experience this little haven. Checking in to my room, the minimalist design with strong Scandinavian influences made for a clean space which despite not being huge, felt spacious nonetheless. The room was delicately scented with a calming smell which I’d chosen ahead of my visit. At the time of booking in, I was asked to choose from three different types of oil – a lovely, bespoke touch. Ren Clean Skincare products in the bathrooms were also a great surprise. I noticed a wooden hand-carved box by the bed with a little note on top, which was to store your phone in while you sleep – it’s clear that Inhabit aims to inspire good habits for their guests. I decided to leave my phone inside despite it not being bedtime, and ventured downstairs to try out the infrared sauna.
A 45-minute sweat in one of their saunas provides head-to-toe benefits, such as alleviation from back and joint pain, glowing skin, better energy, improved circulation and a strengthened immune system. I emerged feeling invigorated and refreshed. After a quick shower, I took a look around the rest of the hotel. Walking around, I kept stopping to admire the photographs which decorate most of the corridors – all polaroids taken around London which depict the city with little handwritten notes. I also noticed filtered taps on every landing, which encourage guests to stay hydrated without the use of plastic water bottles. In fact, you won’t find any single-use plastic at Inhabit.
The atrium is a cosy, meditative space at the heart of the hotel where guests are invited to pause for thought and enjoy a moment of calm. It also serves as a fitness space for yoga and guided meditation classes which are open to guests (complimentary) and non-guests of the hotel. Inhabit encourages guests to get out in the open too, providing maps for walkers and jogging guides for the parks in the area and hosting meditation walks. There are also two Tokyo bikes available to hire.
In the library, desks provide a quiet co-working space and the shelves are stacked with psychology, art and design books. Bespoke fragranced candles from Self Care Co were also dotted around. I spotted a meditation pod just off reception complete with headphones, where guests can zone out to 5-minute guided sessions from positive psychology coach Mercedes Sieff, who is also the founder of Yeotown. Speaking with the wellness-savvy staff, I learned that the hotel is proudly free of single-use plastics and also partners with several social enterprises such as Globechain, an online reuse platform to make use of unwanted and surplus items.
Back in my room that evening, I sunk into the marshmallow-y bed, which was topped with an eco-friendly VOC-free mattress made of organic wool and cotton. In-room spa treatments such as aromatherapy massages and reflexology can be booked, but I was already feeling pampered and ready for a good night’s sleep after my infrared sauna session.
In the morning, I headed downstairs to the gym for a quick workout on one of the hotel’s Peloton bikes before heading to the light-flooded Yeotown cafe for breakfast. Open to both guests and the public, the food on offer is mainly plant-based, with cold-pressed juice, organic coffee and superfood lattes on the menu. The restaurant also serves as a space for community learning and hosts wellness related events such as cooking classes, gut health talks and aromatherapy blending workshops. Striving to reduce food waste, they partner with apps Karma and Too Good to Go and also have a ‘happy hour’ when they sell food at half price at the end of the day.
During my stay I spotted solo business travellers, middle-aged couples and young individuals around the hotel – evidence of the increased awareness of mindful, health-conscious travel. It’s clear that Inhabit are succeeding in raising this awareness and fulfilling the needs of those who crave a mindful stay in what is undeniably a busy, over-stimulating city. Luckily at Inhabit, you can seek a little respite and stay nourished, rested and calm while on the road.