A visit to the antiques market at Kempton Park Racecourse in London always calls for an early start, so I decided to head up the day before. A stay at the nearby Mitre Hotel Hampton Court - which I’d seen a few times on Instagram - looked a good bet.
About the hotel
Not only is it a stone’s throw away from Kempton Park Racecourse, the Mitre Hotel is (literally) across the street from Hampton Court Palace - a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 12 miles south west of central London.
With its location on the Thames, there are some lovely walks in the immediate area of the hotel. The Mitre itself dates back to 1665 and today offers 36 “individually-designed” rooms and suites, as well as bars and restaurants and even a private boat launch.
Booking The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court
I had some questions ahead of my stay so I tried to contact the hotel by phone. Unfortunately, they didn’t answer, either time I called, so I made my reservation, one day before my stay, at hotels.com.
I paid £108 (USD 143) for a 14 sqm “traditional” double room, with free wifi but without breakfast. The hotel accepts dogs, so I sent a message during booking to let them know I would be bringing one well-behaved French bulldog, Bruno.
The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court - Review
On arrival at the hotel, I was quite sternly asked to put on a mask - which was fair enough, and totally my mistake. Masked up, I confirmed with the hotel staff that it was okay to leave my vehicle in their parking area in front of the hotel.
The hotel were fine with this, though there was a little messing around trying to get my 4x4 into a space whilst staying clear of the double yellow lines on the road (which mean no parking). Note that the hotel website says parking charges apply, but we weren’t asked to pay.
If indeed it is free, and our case wasn’t an oversight, free parking is a great perk of staying at the Mitre, as parking can be expensive anywhere in London.
Our party of five (three adults, one child and a dog) headed inside and we were asked to take a seat in reception as our rooms weren’t quite ready. It was around 2.30pm at the time (check in is officially from 3pm, check out at 11am), so I’m glad we didn’t arrive any earlier.
I’m not sure whether it was especially for us, but the hotel had put a dogs’ bed and water bowl in reception, and all the staff made a fuss of Bruno.
In the end, we ended up waiting for around 20 minutes, which was a little stressful, given the dog likes to run around and jump up at everybody around.
The good news - booze! The adults were offered a glass of white wine, and there was apple juice for the young man. Just to be polite, I also sampled the ‘King’s’ ginger liquor, which is on the house and available both in the room and in reception. It went down pretty well.
Before we’d finished our wines, it was time to check out our rooms. I’m sure we got an upgrade of some kind, because my room was much bigger than the 14sqm room I booked. According to the hotel’s dog policy, only certain rooms (just four) are used for those travelling with dogs.
The rooms are located on the ground floor and open out to a large outdoor terrace area, which was a great space for Bruno to stretch his legs, and do his business. Speaking of which, there didn’t seem to be a litter bin on the terrace, so we would just leave the bags outside by the door.
As well as biodegradable litter bags, the hotel provides a chew treat and a cute bed for your dog. Note that you need to pay an extra £20 (USD 26) per night to bring your pooch.
While I wouldn’t call it high-end luxury, the room was very nicely done. Hats off to designer Nicola Harding, who has done a great job.
The bathroom was small but functional, though it didn’t have any flannels or cotton wool pads etc, which could be an inconvenience for the ladies.
There was no fridge in our room, though two cans of soda water were given, as well as the King’s ginger. There was a fridge in our second room, so I guess that’s just pot luck.
My friend's room was also nice, with a view overlooking the Thames:
The only real complaint we had is that the problems reaching the hotel by phone continued during our stay. Despite calling several times from our rooms, nobody would ever pick up, which was pretty infuriating!
On one visit to reception, I noticed the agent's phone was lit up with incoming calls, but she was unable to pick up as she was helping a guest. This left me with the impression that the hotel isn't employing enough staff - or just doesn't care that calls don't get answered!
Dining at The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court
The hotel has two restaurants and bars, Coppernose and The 1665 Brasserie, as well as the Orangery, which is used for private parties.
During our stay, only 1665 was serving dinner and was very busy. After a little perseverance I was able to convince the team to let us have a dinner reservation for the four of us (minus Bruno).
We were seated in a dimly lit private dining room (though there was one other table) just off the main bar. Funky music was playing and the staff kindly offered to turn the volume down, but we were fine with it.
We ordered cocktails and some wines to get things going, but I was very disappointed to find they had only one rose wine available by the glass - and that was unavailable. As a rose drinker, I was pretty upset!
We ordered three starter dishes - a crab toastie (£13/ USD 17) which was just okay, a tasty prawn and avocado cocktail (£12/ USD 16) and a very generous portion of Scottish salmon (£9 / USD 12), which was served with pink peppercorns, pickles and watercress.
They offered us a children’s menu with a limited number of dishes, but in the end the young man decided to share a regular sized ribeye steak (£28/ USD 37) with one of the adults.
I went for the roast pork with celeriac mash (£22/ USD 29), which was perfectly fine, but in all honesty I was distracted by a severe case of food envy. The steak was absolutely delicious and by far the best dish we ordered. I wish I’d had it!
We ordered a selection of sides to go with our meals, including sweet potato fries, and my favourite was the battered courgette.
For dessert, we all enjoyed a white chocolate chip and honeycomb brownie, served with elderflower berries and vanilla bean ice cream (£7 / USD 9). Yum!
The bill came to £232 (USD 308), including a £25 (USD 33) gratuity, which I thought was reasonable for dinner in a London hotel (especially as there were quite a few drinks as well as the food).
Due to an early start the next morning, we had no time to have breakfast at the hotel, though the setting at Coppernose was very nice:
Finally, the hotel has an outdoor riverside terrace, though there was no chance to enjoy that on a drizzly autumn evening.
The hotel’s other facilities
Just off the reception area is library - a cozy snug with a jukebox and an honesty bar. This is where you’ll want to head to get your Instagram snaps, though the space is a little on the small side, so it might get crowded at times.
There are no gym, pool or spa facilities. A final point is that the Mitre has really pleasant herb-scented hygiene products (hand gel, conditioners etc) - much nicer than the ones you’ll normally come across!
Sunbury antiques market at Kempton Park Racecourse
For those who are interested, I just wanted to include a few words on the “Kempton antiques market”, which has been running for over 40 years.
Held every second and last Tuesday of each month (except December), the market opens at 6.30am, with free entry for buyers. The largest and longest-running market of its kind, Kempton attracts both buyers and sellers from across the UK, Europe and even further afield.
On a typical day, you’ll find furniture of all kinds, chandeliers, exotic rugs, ceramics, paintings, jewellery. Even if you don’t buy much, it’s a great to get up early and take in the atmosphere at one of Europe’s best antiques markets. Highly recommended if you happen to be in the London area on market day.
If you are interested in finding out more, visit the Sunbury Antiques website.
We really enjoyed our stay at The Mitre, and it’s a great choice if you are planning to visit the nearby Kempton antiques market (which was the purpose of our stay) or Hampton Court Palace. It’s also one of the best dog-friendly properties I’ve visited.
The rooms are lovely and the hotel offers great value for money, but it’s incredibly frustrating that nobody picks up the damn phone! Management are letting down their hard-working team members by not giving them the slack to take calls from their guests, and I can’t recommend the hotel unreservedly until they get this issue sorted.
What do you make of the Mitre Hotel? Where do you like to stay in London?