Chill out at Winter’s Hot Spot – The Howard, London, goes Chalet Chic! – review

The Howard has a superb location. It’s just across from Temple Underground station and has a magnificent view of the River Thames. A favourite hotel with this reviewer who has enjoyed not only its location but its friendly staff, quality food and attention to detail.

The Howard Hotel
Swissotel The Howard, London now tempts us with some truly Swiss charm with the addition of a traditional Swiss Chalet. It sounds improbable but there really is a bit of rustic Switzerland in the heart of London.

It’s a shame that for most of us Switzerland conjures only thoughts of pointy chocolate and big dogs with barrels of booze, but there is also, for some, that other impression of après-ski culture, log fires, broken legs and fondue.

The winter is here and this chalet beckons. Cold-weather entertaining is about comfort and convivial evenings with friends. What could be more sociable than an evening around a gently bubbling pot of delicious cheese – and I talk from delightful experience.

The Howard has a Swiss chalet complete with traditional Swiss furniture especially imported from the Alps to Central London, the décor looks authentic with genuine antiques and red gingham tablecloths. The fireplace has a flickering faux fire which invites visitors to linger with an after-dinner drink or coffee.

The Fondue will be the best you will find either in or outside Switzerland. You will be presented with a non-ending supply of bread and some cured meats which complement the dish so well. There is a green salad to help you feel virtuous and some surprisingly good Swiss red wine. We were two hungry diners and were unable to finish our fondue. The pot looked a modest size but this is rich stuff and although one of my favourite meals, I was unable to eat another bite. If there was such a thing as a doggy-bag for fondue then I would have been content to carry my supper home on the Underground.

For dessert we were offered Apple Strudel or Zuger Kirschtorte, which I can recommend. This was a cake of three layers of wafer interlaced with cream and its sweetness was a marvellous foil for the savoury cheesiness of the main meal. Trust me, you will not walk away from the table with even a chink of empty space. If you still have a mind to enjoy something special then treat yourself to a Coffee Luz. This is a liqueur coffee with a punch. Take the bus home… or stay the night at The Howard.

Other restaurants might suggest a Swiss theme but we would be comparing the sound of a cuckoo clock to the William Tell Overture. This is a smart hotel that nevertheless offers value for money. There are few places in Central London where one can eat to a standstill for £23.00 per person.

Situated in a quiet oasis close to London’s Embankment, the Swiss Chalet at Swissotel The Howard, London, will also be available for parties and corporate entertaining for 35 to 250 guests. This is a party venue with a difference. OK, so if you want black-painted walls and defrosted frozen nibbles then go to the place around the corner from the office where you have spent every Christmas for the past five years. OR, do you want some casual style and a bit of a winter adventure? The Howard offers great packages for business events and groups.

Until 31st March 2010, the chalet will be open for couples and small gatherings every Tuesday evening from 6pm to 10pm. I’d book now, as this is bound to be a hit for the holiday season.

[This venue is now closed.]


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018