Wonderland.

THE RAFAYEL

This Thames-adjacent hotel is as eco-friendly as it is luxe (and that’s really saying something).

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The Rafayel in London’s Battersea – part of the Luxury Hotels Group – is aiming to redefine the way we think about luxury: a grandiose statement, perhaps, but it seems accurate here to describe the commitment this place has to its ethos. Rather than seeing luxury as an exercise in excessive waste and “unsustainable opulence”, The Rafayel is all about keeping things green and Eco-friendly – by utilising new technological advances in LED lighting, air conditioning and rainwater harvesting, the hotel will reduce their CO2 emissions by 500,000 kg this year.

All of which would be somewhat moot in this high-end hospitality sector if the whole thing gave off a sack-shirt-commune vibe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to pairing athletic socks with a pleather Birkenstock and whipping up a Jamie Oliver tofu-chocolate pot, but generally speaking, we’re all too selfish to sacrifice the luxe-factor for green-credentials when it comes to shelling out for a 5 star hotel. Thankfully, my concerns evaporated as soon as I saw the unbelievable riverside view through my room’s giant floor-to-ceiling-windows and then hit the spa for an (organic) coconut wrap treatment – as relaxing as it sounds, to be honest.

Things don’t let up when it comes to the dining either: The Rafayel is sensitive to the needs of the “modern-day health-conscious generation” of which I should presumably be a member but am not. If you are inclined towards raw juicing and the use of kale in over half your meals, then dishes like the quinoa and pomegranate salad with passionfruit dressing should be right up your street – it was certainly delicious, in a virtuous sort of way. Less virtuous, but more delicious, was the grilled Maine lobster tail served with a profoundly creamy leek and potato mash. I paired it with a pink Perrier-Jouët Blason champagne because it seemed like the most fabulously 80s choice (not a decision I regretted). After all that richness, I kept pudding low key with an apple tart tatin complete with honeycomb ice cream and salted caramel sauce.

All very decadent, but there was still room for one of the Lobby Lounge’s guilt-free, super sustainable, cocktails – not something I had tried, or indeed heard of, before. You see, the great thing about staying at this eco-friendly hotel is that whilst you can feel guilty about cost and calories, you need never, ever, worry about the damaging environmental implications of overprinting and plastic use: that’s right, The Rafayel has a “no plastics” policy and is nearly 100% paper-free. What’s not to like?

Plan your next break with Luxury Hotels Group here.

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THE RAFAYEL

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