Sitting at the crossroads where Marylebone, Mayfair and Soho meet, you’ll find The BoTree, a brand-new hotel, which opened just last month (September 2023). With Bond Street station visible from its front door, this place is in a desirable location.
The hotel’s name radiates through their lobby, not in words, but within their gorgeous decor, particularly wood ceilings and foliage. You’ll feel as though you’re in a luxury treehouse. The service in the lobby, and throughout the hotel, is reminiscent of that in a spa – it feels personal, and check-in is conducted by roaming staff on an iPad, as you relax into the luxe seating. The restaurant, LAVO, is a destination in its own right – in fact, there are flagship venues in New York, LA, Vegas, and Singapore. From the moment a glass of water is set down in front of you, with a plate of different fruit to infuse no less, you know it’s going to be an exquisite experience.
A celebrity-filled launch week back in September marked LAVO restaurant’s entrance into London’s dining scene. The week saw Naomi Campbell, Jared Leto, Poppy Delevigne, and Damson Idris dining under the winding vine ceiling – and, now a month later, Secret London. The restaurant bills itself as a coastal Italian restaurant, and boasts rather impressive credentials. The restaurant was created by the team behind lauded London restaurants, Hakkasan and Yauatcha, and LAVO’s head chef has over 24 years of professional experience – plus a childhood of cooking with his grandma in San Severino Marche, central Italy.
As you enter the restaurant, the vibe feels elegant – although not stuffily so. The dining area is spread over two floors and is flooded with natural light. Much like the lobby, the hotel’s theme continues throughout the space, this time with forest green booths and floral seating. The glittering gold stairway definitely makes for an “I dined at LAVO” Instagram snap. On the lower level, there is a bar area, with an intimate terrace.
I ate lunch at the restaurant. I started with the yellowfish tuna tartare, and was surprised by how generous the serving was; it was refreshing, and gently lined my stomach for the next (heavier) course. There was a selection of beautifully presented pizza, pasta, specialities, and sides to choose from, and I went for the ox cheek agnolotti pasta. It was delicious. The flavours and textures of this dish were well balanced, the meat was soft, and the crunchy hazelnuts and balsamic created an almost sweet-savoury effect. I personally think you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose here; even the tomatoes in my partner’s salad tasted especially nice. His pizza was pretty darn good too!
When it comes to dessert, classic options lead the way, such as tiramisu, affogato amereto, and gelato. However, the creme de la creme of LAVO’s desserts is the indulgent 20-layer peanut butter chocolate cake. Now, I didn’t try it on this occasion, but my goodness, was I tempted. At over 3,000 calories though, I don’t think I’d have made it out of the restaurant.
A curated wine list awaits at LAVO – it’s an Italian restaurant, after all – plus a vibrant cocktail menu. I was in a cocktail mood (as per usual); the cocktail menu features dramatic interpretations of classics (like the LAVO Negroni, which allows guests to build their own version of the iconic tipple), and bold signature drinks. The spicy strawberry mezcalita proved a good choice, and took me on a flavour journey. It was initially sweet, then followed with a smokey, spicy kick.
The BoTree’s approach is to deliver a high-end, high-energy hotel, with eco-conscious credentials. The team is committed to reducing its resource and carbon footprint year on year, opting for digital methods that aid this mission. As previously mentioned, the interiors – particularly those in the lobby – adhere to this earthy feel.
There are 199 rooms within The BoTree, 30 of which are suites – the largest, and most expensive of all even boasts its own entrance and outdoor terrace. One day, eh. However, all rooms, no matter the room type, ooze decadence; they’re adorned with colourful natural fabrics and eclectic textures created exclusively for the hotel. Every floor has a dedicated ‘floor host’; it’s just like having a butler, 24/7. I tried to live my best celebrity lifestyle, but genuinely couldn’t think of any outrageous demands that I actually needed to be fulfilled.
There are a number of standout features in the guest rooms, from the state-of-the-art Dyson hairdryer to the plushly lined robes, with fleece towelling. My favourite element of my room was the integrated cocktail station, with its mini and full bottles of margaritas, and jars of sweets (at an additional charge). The hotel’s eco-conscious commitment shows in their choice of bathroom amenity partner, Jo Loves, which were all vegan, natural, and cruelty-free products in OceanBound ‘plastic’.
Another element at The BoTree I must shout about is that the turndown service was crazy attentive. I left my room in a rush, having emptied my bag on the bed (not something I make a habit of, so please don’t judge me!), and came back to find the contents of said bag neatly lined up in fun shapes on a flannel, with the rest of the room spick and span too.
I’ve got to give the new hotel its flowers (just like they gave me some, in the hotel room) – a stay at The BoTree and a meal at LAVO is seriously impressive. Their brand identity is distinctive, their service is second to none, and you just feel blissful as you leave the space. The team are still working on expanding: the next stage of their opening hopes to include a unique event space, a private bar, a wellness space, and a rooftop area. I can’t wait to see what comes next.