Given the hotels of London and a yearning to get away from the centre of town on most occasions, I would have to look a long way before finding a more thoroughly desirable place to be than The Bingham, at Richmond.
Ideal for easy access to some of London's most visited attractions, and Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace and Twickenham Rugby come immediately to mind, this boutique hotel really does have it all. Fifteen bedrooms embody tranquillity and sensuous style, with bespoke art deco inspired furniture, sumptuous furnishings and state of the art comforts.
All the facilities that you would associate with a top quality hotel are there to be had. The River and Superior River Design Rooms enjoy restful river views, with Whirlpool baths. Two rooms have antique four poster beds. In room beauty treatments, same day laundry, room service and complimentary newspapers assist in encouraging thoughts to turn towards a lifestyle of convenience and freedom from everyday worries.
To ensure that these luxuries are enjoyed to the full, proprietor Samantha Trinder and her team offer a range of experiences such as The Bingham Lazy Sunday, the Bingham Theatre Experience, Sunday at the Polo or the Wimbledon Experience. Such activities generally require the background of a restaurant of impeccable charm and performance, and the award of 1 Michelin Star and 3 AA rosettes, both in 2010 is likely to engender more than just polite interest.
The Bingham's highly acclaimed executive chef, Shay Cooper, sees to it that these expectations are amply met, starting with an ą la carte that explores the very best in British and regional dishes. Roast quail or smoked eel risotto pave the way for slow cooked suckling pig or roast monkfish with razor clams, squid, scallop, fennel marmalade, seafood bisque and citrus oil. An Amedel chocolate tart lives well up to its promise. A tasting menu of six courses weaves deftly through the various ą la carte options to give a meal of infinite skill and pleasure respectively.
A prixce fixe luncheon shows The Bingham is capable of combining value with quality, and on Sundays both menu and price make this a serious venue for family parties and leisurely Sabbath breakaways, possibly followed by their Afternoon Tea for the mega indulgent, a luxurious event that manages to escape the excesses of city prices with more than equalling the variety and sheer fun of this old English custom.
Visiting Twickers for the rugby? What better way to start than with a hearty lunch at The Bingham, well suited to supporters of both gender and finishing thoughtfully with a pre-lunchmatch livener.
In keeping with its philosophy the wine list shines strongly on the 'boutique' winemakers and fine champagnes, and an inviting selection of wines are available by the glass and carafe. Wine Courses handled by that feisty and dynamic expert in such matters, Angela Reddin, are not unknown at The Bingham.
In an attempt to do the decent thing and give the whole balanced picture, one seeks for some area of perhaps slightly less than excellence at The Bingham. Don't waste your time, or if you do notify this correspondent and I will prepare my hat for eating.
Their polished Website
tells you lots, lots more, as well as keeping you up to date with this real hideaway by the river in Richmond.