British hotel chain Birch has opened a new hotel, in south London. The original Birch Community based in Cheshunt in Hertfordshire , is one I visit often, either to meet friends, or to spend a weekend with kids. We were excited to get a chance to visit (maybe compare) the new Birch hotel near Croydon. And what a treat it was. But also how incredibly grand is the new Birch – it is huge set in acres of land (an old golf course rewilded by designer Sebastian Cox), and wit immaculate interiors conceived by local studio A-nrd.
Birch Selsdon is housed in a 19th-century mansion in the borough of Croydon and accommodates 181 rooms alongside chilling rooms and lido, co-working facilities and a couple of restaurants and bars.
The building was first turned into a hotel in the 1920s, with slapdash extensions (including the family wing, where we stayed) and modifications added over the following century.
Local studio A-nrd stripped back much of the existing fit-out to allow the building’s original architecture to come to the fore.
The vintage lovers will appreciate the moss-green sofas as well as wicker armchairs, potted plants and vintage petal-shaped pendant lamps made from Murano glass.The different chilling areas brings atmosphere as well as light for an afternoon drink or evening tipple. We had a chance to go around as it rained all Saturday, and we ended up visited quite a bit of the hotel whilst the kids enjoyed their all-day adventures organised by Birch.
The Vervain, all day restaurant, is a beautiful light place. There are still some tweaks to be had to make it a seamless experience, probably symptomatic of the opening having only been in May. There were plenty of delicious options for the kids and adults. And having found the start of the kitchen garden shows positive signs of farm-to-fork seasonal menus to come.
Not unlike the original Birch, the hotel is full of pockets of different relaxed interiors and artwork, respecting the original feel of the building.
I had a particular love for the orangerie/veranda – painted green, rattan furniture, abstract artwork. And near the bar but still surrounded by the greenery of the expanding rewilded landscape.
But Birch really came into its own in the evening light – full of twinkling garlands to go back to the family wing, agains the ambiant lighting of the restaurants. The cosy terrace is peppered with fire pits and big cosy sitting (all inspiring for my much much, microscopique garden).
We had a great time at Birch Selsdon. The Birch spirit is there, we had time without the kids. It is a shame we did not make it to the Lido but the weather kept turning as soon as we thought we were able to. I feel that Birch Cheshunt is more mature though, and free flowing. It happens to be much nearer and only a couple of stops on the M25 from where we are. If you enjoy long walks, and rewilding, I would go to Selsdon though. If you are looking for a more boutique feel, I would go to Cheshunt – knowing that in both someone will be willing to look after your children, and give you the space you need.
The stay was organised by Margaret London, the views my own.
If you would like to have more inspiration for UK weekends away with the kids, go here.