After a 15+ year hiatus, I moved back to the motherland, AKA the town I grew up in. A lot has changed in this South-East London suburb since then; gone is the pen shop (yeah, they were a thing) where I had my first Saturday job and instead there’s a gigantic Apple store, plus a flurry of Instagrammable restaurants. But, what really caught my eye? Brama, Bromley’s first boutique hotel.
At the risk of sounding too gushy, what I loved most about this place is that it has breathed new life into a gorgeous, historically important building that was previously left abandoned. Having opened in 2023, Brama, alongside its neighbours Clockwise (a co-working space and podcast studio) and Dorothy and Marshall (the hotel's in-house restaurant) have sympathetically restored Bromley Old Town Hall to its former glory. Not only have they retained the astonishing original Art Deco features, but they’ve given the whole plot a modern and sustainable makeover, including a spacious, tree-lined terrace for the community to enjoy.
Fact time, incoming: David Bowie had his first wedding in 1970 here and during World War II the basement provided shelter in the event of a nuclear fallout. The latter partly explained the maze of corridors and annexes; needless to say, sometimes we found ourselves a bit lost getting from A to B. In a similar vein, the actual entrance was relatively concealed down a side street. But don’t let that stop you from discovering this hidden gem. Once inside, Brama’s lobby was bright, airy and full of character. There isn't a reception, but you’re welcomed and given the downlow inside the ‘library’, where you can also stop by for a tea or coffee.
Our spacious room (prices start at £144 for two) was a real treat. Think tones of rust, gold and leafy green, paired with Soho House-style statement armchairs. Danish-like dark wood gave things an expensive feel, plus the huge geometric headboard tied in the 1920s decor perfectly. The super king-sized bed was comfy as hell, and we slept like an absolute dream (props to the incredible soundproofing too). Our en-suite bathroom lacked a bath, but who needs to waste time washing when you’ve got London and all its attractions on your doorstep? The luxurious, herringbone floors complemented the marble-topped sink, plus we noted the nice additions like a rainfall shower, GHD straighteners and Brama x Bramley toiletries. Finally, make sure to do the recommended yoga poses described on the wall, you’ll start the day much more zen.
Brama Hotel’s restaurant, Dorothy and Marshall (named after the Charter Mayor of Bromley's children) can be found in what was formerly the courthouse. And she’s a beauty alright. The panelled walls worked nicely with the playful artwork and huge, sloped windows which flooded the space with light. Mirrored tiles surrounded the bar area, which gave the restaurant a classy, contemporary edge. Matched with the abundance of flowers and candles, it felt very cosy and intimate. I found myself sitting back to admire the setting for ages, made even better with a signature cocktail in hand. The True Jimador (£12.90), was a fine, potent mix of mezcal, Manzanilla and Cointreau, finished off with sweet lime and agave syrup. It could be referred to as a cool twist on the margarita, especially as it was served on the rocks with a salty rim.
As for the Dorothy and Marshall menu, think locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from the UK, including Kent. The deliciously buttery chargrilled cauliflower steak (£15.90) was damn tasty, from the crispy kale accompaniment and curried leeks to the thick ‘n’ silky coconut yoghurt base. Oh, and don’t forget about the smoked almonds that boasted a nice mix of textures. As a chip fanatic, I couldn’t help but order the truffle salted fries (£5.30). While the crispy outside and fluffy inner layer was a delight, I would have liked much more truffle to really hit home the earthy flavour.
The portions were generous, so I was too full for pudding, but among all the chatting (the restaurant was bustling come 8pm) I found room for a glass of N.V. Dea Del Mare prosecco (£6.30). A subtle yet fruity and bubbly number that finished off my evening in style.
Got somewhere to be the next morning? The Grab & Go Breakfast (£9.95) should do you right. It comprised of a strawberry granola bowl, juice and a frankly enormous, perfectly flaky croissant. No lie, it was literally the size of my head.
The DesignMyNight Digest
There’s no denying Brama (and its friends) have spent a lot of time and energy creating this elegant, Grade II-listed hideaway, having painstakingly restored original details like the glorious stained glass windows back to where they rightfully belong. The rooms were stylish and modern, plus the in-house restaurant was a destination in itself. Service throughout was friendly, plus gotta give a special shout-out to attentive manager Alasdair.
💰 The damage: £185.35 for a stay, breakfast and dinner (excluding service).
📍 The location: 6 Court St, Bromley, BR1 1AN.
👌 Perfect for: After catching a show at the nearby Churchill Theatre Bromley.
⭐ Need to know: There's no parking, but the city is just 15 minutes from Bromley South station.