Launches and Openings

New Hotel – The Relais Henley

  • July 2021

July 2021 – The Relais Henley, opens this summer following a complete reimagination of the 16th-century coaching inn as a stylish new waterside retreat.

Formerly The Red Lion, the sensitive renovation preserves the hotel’s important history, woven into the fabric of life in Henley-on-Thames. Each of the 40 guestrooms have been individually designed as havens of calm and well-being, taking inspiration from Henley’s rowing tradition and the natural beauty of the Chiltern Hills. The opening of The Relais Henley sees the introduction of The Clipper Restaurant by Mosimann’s London with an elegant outdoor courtyard and The Quarterdeck Bar, serving local craft beers and artisan gins, the scene of new stories to be told.

The Relais Henley is the vision of international hotelier, Grace Leo who was drawn to its idyllic riverside setting and the bustling atmosphere of the market town. “Henley-on-Thames is a pedigree town which most people only know for The Royal Regatta and yet, there is always something going on; the town has a rare combination of things that attract people to live here as well as to visit.

When the opportunity to purchase The Red Lion arose, I could immediately see the opportunity to transform the heritage property into an elegant riverside retreat – one that would become a retreat from the city as well as become a stylish and convivial meeting place for the genteel residents of Henley.” comments Grace.

No two rooms are the same, giving the overall feeling of staying in the familiar home of a cherished friend, elevated by international hotel service. Located in the heart of Henley-on-Thames, the rooms offer a choice of views over the bustling river, the charming courtyard, or the quintessential English market town. Bold stripes, inspired by traditional rowing club blazers, run through the rich wool carpets and ‘armoires’ with botanical illustrations pay homage to the surrounding countryside. An eclectic selection of bespoke furnishings, designed by English craftsman, invite guests to feel completely at ease.

The Clipper Restaurant is the new Henley outpost of Mosimann’s London, featuring signature dishes from the Belgravia restaurant and using a selection of the best locally grown produce. Open all day serving leisurely breakfasts, traditional afternoon tea, romantic, candle-lit dinners as well as alfresco dining in the courtyard. The Deli offers gourmet ‘grab and go’ sandwiches, pastries and coffees as well as picnics for excursions on the river. The Quarterdeck Bar, is found in the oldest part of the hotel where original beams frame the charming views of Hart Street leading to the historic market square. Vintage photographs of The Royal Regatta provide a nostalgic backdrop to the club-like atmosphere.

The Palm Court introduces a more dramatic setting, with high ceilings and planter fans, over-sized mirrors, and a mosaic of Persian and Chinese rugs, reminiscent of the romantic images of the silk route. Designed as a dedicated space for co-working and evening rendezvous with friends and colleagues; a new membership concept will be introduced from September.

Henley-on-Thames is internationally renowned for hosting one of the world’s best-known sporting events, Henley Royal Regatta, a highlight of the English social season, attracting legendary sportspeople and luminary guests. Taking place from 11 – 15 August 2021, guests of The Relais Henley can participate in the festivities and watch the exciting races. Throughout all seasons, guests of the hotel will be able to enjoy life along the Thames and idyllic places to stop and roll out the blanket for a delicious picnic. Henley is bustling with galleries, shops and traditional pubs and the Chiltern Hills are perfect for country walks and biking trails. There is also a lively calendar of events running throughout the year including the Rewind Festival, Henley Festival and the Literary Festival.

The rich history of the Grade II listed landmark building is written into the ancient timber and stone, originally built to house the craftsmen who build the parish church of St Mary the Virgin. The hotel has played host to royalty and nobility throughout history, including King Charles 1st whose Royal Coat of Arms is preserved over the fireplace in the room he stayed in. The First Duke of Marlborough stayed whilst on his way to Blenheim Palace; Grace Kelly visited during the Henley Royal Regatta in 1947 and the poet, William Shenstone, carved a poem into a pane of glass with a diamond in 1750.

Courtyard Rooms start from £300 per room per night, including breakfast – available from mid-July.