A discreet and grant hotel. The bedrooms and suites on five floors, which lead off the magnificent staircase, have large comfortable armchairs, lovely old guilt mirrors, his and hers chests of drawers and wardrobes, crisp sheets on a huge bed and a marble bathroom with a large bath. The Connaught is loved by it's affluent clientele, which includes foreign royalty, famous actors and international businessmen, for it's old-fashioned style and "commitment to personal service".
It's worth staying at the The Connaught just to float down the magnificent mahogany staircase. It dates back to 1897 and is looked after daily by a French polisher. A famous American designer once asked to buy the stairs, whole, to ship to New York but his request was declined. The old-fashioned room door keys are also charming; not only are they rare and precious, but this is one of the only remaining hotels in London not to succumb to using plastic. The gym at The Connaught will appeal to even the least athletic guest.
Sample the cuisine at Hélène Darroze’s two Michelin-starred restaurant; Hélène is one of the most highly respected chefs in the UK. Or relax in the brasserie-style Mayfair restaurant and it's all-day menu. Afternoon tea is served in the relaxed elegance of the Espelette. These restaurants really come into their own in the evenings when candles burn and diners are treated to a warm and intimate eating experience. No stay is complete without checking out the old-world charm of The Connaught Bar or The Coburg Bar, both of which attract Mayfair locals as well as guests.
From the uniformed doorman with shiny shoes, umbrella at the ready, to reception and waiting staff, everyone is friendly and caring.
If there is a hotel in London that embodies English gentility and glamour, it is Claridge's. Right in the heart of Mayfair. The lobby has a rich golden glow, gleaming black and white floors, swooping chandeliers and a dramatic winding staircase.
In the Foyer and Reading Room at high tea you may see Tom Ford sipping his tipple while at another table a gaggle of Saudi wives and children take tea (one of the 30 different kinds) munching cucumber sandwiches.
The Michelin-starred Fera at Claridge's is a creative and natural take on modern British cuisine. Claridge's bar is also a hive of activity, with London's suited financiers and intellectuals gather for drinks and fashionable gossip. Claridge's draw, of course, is that it is slightly stuffy and a bit old-fashioned, as all very charming British things are. The little extras, like the Claridge's "C" monogrammed towels.
World class service and facilities. Rooms are either decorated in a Victorian fashion or
with authentic 1930s detailing.
This discreet hotel, in a small street near Victoria, was the first hotel in the world to have aprivate bathroom and central heating in every room, says the owner, Jeremy Goring, whose great-grandfather built it in 1910. Mr Goring frequently sleeps in all the bedrooms to check that standards are maintained.
Even the single rooms are attractive, with mouldings, striped wallpaper, handsome chinz curtains, writing desk and easy chairs, and a bathroom done in marble and wood. Many face the private garden (not accessible to guests); some have a balcony, where breakfast can be served on fine days. Guests tend to upgrade when rooms better than those they have booked are available. All rooms are air-conditioned.
There are two bars, the Goring Bar & Lounge has a warm atmosphere and where the delightful afternoon tea is served daily between 3 and 4pm, or sample cocktails and canapés in the glamorous St. Moritz Ski Bar. Then there's the elegant Michelin-stared Dining Room, aglow with chandeliers at night, where chef Shay Cooper has created an exceptionally menu of traditional and modern British dishes. There is an extensive, fairly priced wine list.
Elegant rooms, fine dining, access to a fitness-club, and Buckingham Palace is close by.
Built by an Anglo-French architectural partnership in 1907 for the Morning Post, this impressive building later became a bank. In 1998 it was opened with much publicity as a hotel by Gordon Campbell Gray, whose aim is to provide understated luxury combined with cutting edge technology. Soon, the food critics were flocking to the restaurant on the lower ground floor. A second restaurant, Indigo , with chef Dominic, is on the mezza, overlooking the huge lobby, adorned by a giant statue of an oars man in his boat. An eclectic art collection is displayed throughout the building.
For guests in need of exercise, there’s a gym, an 18-metre lap swimming pool with underwater music, and personal trainers; two suites have their own private gym. In the bedrooms, internet plugs, fax lines, mobile phones, etc, are provided; fresh flowers and fruit are replenished daily; fibre optic lights allow discreet reading in bed. All this might sound daunting to the private traveller, but guests are made to feel special. I was greeted by name by a smiling concierge, who parked my car. Our room, approached via the grooviest of lifts had an enormous bed; the granite bathroom had a separate power shower, large TV and high-class toiletries. Brunch in Indigo, while watching the comings and goings below. Informal, helpful staff. Stunning views across to Waterloo Bridge. Excellent sound-proofing. Great choice at breakfast (continental, healthy or English). Trendy if tortured flower arrangements.
The high-energy Lobby Bar, opening on to Aidwych, serves pastries, sandwiches, fruit juices. Within walking distance are theatres, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Westminster; easy access to the City.
One of a small group of luxury hotels designed by Kit Kemp, the Peiham stands by South Kensington tube station (where three lines converge), close to Hyde Park and the Victoria and Albert and Natural History museums.
The decor is lavish, with chandeliers, heavily draped fabrics, panelling, antiques, china ornaments and elaborate flower arrangements. But alongside all this, comes a modern, deluxe bathroom and air-conditioning, a boon in summer. Rooms have every amenity - bottled water (no charge), chocolates, mini-bar, classy bathroom goodies. The breakfast buffet, in the yellow and blue basement dining room, was copious and very good. A cooked breakfast and light meals can be brought to the bedroom.
The restaurant is popular with local business people for its excellent value set menus at lunch and dinner. Two choices of each course, including, eg, seafood tortellini with a caviar and chervil sauce; grilled poussin on a salad of roast tomatoes and pine nuts; panna cotta with a raspberry compote. There is also an à la carte menu, and one for a light club lunch. Some top rooms are small.
The Dorchester dominates London's Park Lane with its yellow and white awnings blinking like giant eye-lids. If you can navigate your way through the Bentleys parked out front and make your way to the door, then be braced: the Art Deco at The Dorchester is seriously over the top.
Sit on one of the sofas at the Promenade lobby restaurant, sip tea accompanied by a plate fo macaroons and spy on the weird and wonderful mix of American belles; English families nibbling finger sandwiches; men and their veiled wives; and sugar daddies accompanied by women tottering around in vertiginous heels. The Dorchester is a favourite choice of celebrities, world leaders, royalty and high society. Pick a luxurious English-style room with views over Hyde Park (all rooms have views of the park) and enjoy the space: many rooms come with walk-in wardrobes, all have Italian-marble bathroom and the bathtubs are meant to be the deepest in London. Gorgeous Floris products in the bathroom.
If hunger strikes, head down to The Grill for a traditional roast, or the three Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester for contemporary French cuisine, or a classic afternoon tea at The Promenade. Located between Marble Arch, Mayfair and Hyde Park Corner, The Dorchester also has a luxury spa.
Truly delightful. Convenient for public transport, yet far enough from the hustle and bustle to be a quiet refuge. This little jewel boasts a near perfect location, near the Victoria & Albert and Natural History Museums, a short walk to Harrods and other great shopping, and near South Kensington station with direct underground trains to Heathrow airport.
The sparkling white row of Victorian townhouses that make up Number Sixteen give away little about how fantastic this hotel really is. Decorated by Kit Kemp in what is best described as South Kensington chic - a bit flowery, a bit contemporary, very London - Number Sixteen is bright, modern and very fresh. The two cosy drawing rooms have fluffy sofas and sun streaming in through the windows. There is a conservatory decorated with African and Asian prints collected by Kemp on her travels around the world; it is light, airy and leads out to a tranquil garden with flowers, bushes and a fountain with carp swimming around.
The bedrooms are well appointed, vary in size, and the beds are very comfortable. The staff were without exception friendly and efficient, yet unobtrusive. The other guests were friendly too. Much praise for the full afternoon tea, with delicious home-made scones.
Since long before Notting Hill was made famous by the film of that name, Tim Herring’s trendy hotel near the Portobello Road has been a favourite of famous figures in the worlds of pop music, fashion and cinema. From Mick Jagger to Raquel Welch, Tina Turner, Paula Yates, Van Morrison, Francis Ford Coppola, Robbie Williams are among its regular visitors. Van Morrison allegedly wrote an album here. Its atmosphere has been described as one of graceful debauchery, and it has catered for many strange requests: Alice Cooper asked for mice to feed to his boaconstrictor; Kate Moss and Johnny Depp had their bath filled with £750 worth of champagne.
Composed of two six-floor Victorian terrace houses on a residential street, it has a quirky decor of gilt mirrors, military pictures, marble fireplaces, potted palms, Edwardiana, cane and wicker furniture. The best bedrooms are spacious; the Round Room has a round bed and a large free-standing Edwardian bathing machine; Room 22 overlooks the gardens at the rear (no access for residents) and has a Victorian decor, an antique carved four-poster bed, and a bathroom with a Jules Verne bath. Rooms at the top are on the small side; they squeeze in large TVs with hundreds of channels, and a fridge, but some have thin walls.
The laid-back style doesn’t suit everyone. But many visitors warm to the discreetly informal atmosphere and the eccentric charm. Porterage and room service operate only between 8 am and 4 pm, but reception is open day and night, so is 24-hour guest-only honesty bar/restaurant. Parking is awkward. Nearby Clarendon Cross is known for its arty little shops.
Behind a sober facade, in a residential street in Belgravia, this small hotel, with staff dressed by Armani, is the last word in post-modern design chic. During the week many of its guests are business-oriented. A Reuters area supplies up-to-date financial news. The bedrooms have a sitting area, fax, video, two telephone lines, wired and WiFi high-speed internet and 24-hour room service. The unbridled technology takes some getting used to, especially after a brush with the bedside panel that controns lights and air-conditioning.
In the Ametsa restaurant, which overlooks a private garden, serious, black-clad waiters serve the Michelin-starred modern Basque cooking of chef Sergi Sanz and his highly talented team. Light meals are served in the bar and the lobby.
The staff are warm and friendly, without a hint of attitude. Its bar is a fashionable London watering place. A few minutes walk from Hyde Park, Harrods and the shops of Knightsbridge.
Once you’ve checked into this small town house hotel on a quiet Knightsbridge square, there’s no reason to put your hand in your pocket, for almost everything is included in the price. This includes all drinks (champagne is available around the clock, and vodka comes with caviar), cream tea, Swiss chocolates. You can have an arornatherapy massage, or a free lift to the airport, and there’s a no-tipping policy.
Owned by Lady Wilmot Diana Wallis and her husband, Sir Michael Wilmot, who once worked for Sir James Goldsmith, The Beaufort has a pretty decor, a fine collection of original English floral water colours, a mainly female staff. No reception formalities; arriving guests are given a front-door key. Also in the bedrooms are sherry, flowers, biscuits, a telephone with a personal number, a fax and an answering system, video, bathroom scales, jogging map and a teddy bear. There’s a complimentary bar in the drawing room. No restaurant, but light room service meals (included in the price) are available. Breakfast (freshly squeezed orange juice, warm rolls and croissants) is served in the bedroom on fine Wedgwood china.
We found the staff professional and the atmosphere friendly and delightful. Harrods is round the corner and the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum are within walking distance.
This hotel, composed of three Edwardian houses, is in a residential area of north London, five minutes' walk from Hampstead village, and a quick tube journey to the centre. It offers good value for a quiet and comfortable stay. It has good-sized, pleasantly decorated bedrooms, some suitable for a family; those at the back are quietest; some bathrooms are small. Staff are friendly and informal.
Plenty of choice at the buffet breakfast, served in a room overlooking the sloping rear garden; there is a licensed bar, and 24 hour room service available. Cas Giovanni, a nearby Italian restaurant, is warmly recommended. Street parking only, plentiful but said to be expensive. The Freud museum is within walking distance.
In a relatively quiet street near Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Road, this luxurious small town house is convvenient for transport to the West End and the City, and has rail links to Heathrow Airport. Kensington and Chelsea, Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall are all within easy walking distance.
Outside are window-boxes, bay trees and carriage lamps, inside antique and period furniture and imposing flower arrangements. There is a small red-walled sitting room and a pretty conservatory where breakfast, light meals and tea are served; they can also be brought to the bedroom.
The bedrooms are mostly medium-sized, though singles can be small. They vary in style from grand to quite cottagey; some have four-poster beds, others a brass bed; armchairs and a desk. All have marble bathrooms with a whirpool bath. Not for the infirm - five storeys, no lift, and stairs up to the enterance and down to the basement. Guests may use a nearby health club. All manner of restaurants nearby.
A lovely hotel with a very nice staff. It has been upgraded considerably, but it still has a splendidly private feel. This is how hotels used to be. Rambling through a row of Victorian houses near Victoria station, owned by the Topham family since the early 1930s. It was a regular haunt of James Bond author Ian Fleming, how would order martinies from the bar - shaken not stirred.
Purchased a few years ago by the Imperial Hotels London group, they have been upgrading - underfloor heating has been added for example - but without detriment to the delightfully old-fashioned atmosphere. Their aim, they say, is to evoke the charm of an English country house. Mirrors, pictures, bits of china adorn the small public rooms; there are floral sofas and armchairs in the lounge; traditional dishes (eg, bangers and mash; steak au poivre; fried cod and chips; treacle tart) are served in the basement brasserie (open to the public). Many of the staff are long-serving.
Some bedrooms are small, but all are tastefully done. Air-conditioning and climate control.
A remarkably well-staffed hotel, reminiscent of another era. One of London’s oldest privately owned hotels, it opened in 1790 and it has been run since 1921 by the Miller family. It is composed of a row of terraced houses, which gives a quaint and rambling interior.
Small panelled lounges with leather settees and chairs lead off a corridor. Original Paintings, prints and engravings of London hang above antique furniture. The polish on the brass is a wonder to behold, and there is not a finger mark on the sparkling glass panels in the doors. The bedrooms are well maintained, but they vary greatly — some are small; the largest ones, at the front, get some traffic noise. An American guest was pleased to find “an efficient shower, for once”.
Durrants is liked for its convenient location, close to Oxford, Harley and Baker streets and its stylish but restrained atmosphere, like a rather exclusive club. The staff are to be praised too: check-in with a mini mum of fuss; helpful porterage. The panelled restaurant has a full ‘a la carte’ menu for lunch and dinner; it serves good traditional food (not a great deal of variety), eg, steak and kidney pie, boeuf Bourguignon, with excellent service. Breakfast has decent marmalade and excellent smoked haddock. The bar staff were very helpful, providing good sandwiches after theatre or for a late lunch. Women travelling alone are welcomed and so are children (high chairs, cots, babysitting, early suppers are available).
The Wallace Collection (one of the world’s finest art collections) is opposite, and the Wigmore Hall, beloved by concert goers, is close by. The Millers also own the Red Lion, Henley On-Thames.
Smart but comfortable, with a good atmosphere. Nice lounge and library and a pleasant walled garden where guests can have breakfast. This 18th-century town house in Bloomsbury, at the side of the British Museum, is handy for theatreland, Covent Garden and Oxford Street.
It has a friendly air and a helpful staff. Arriving guests are greeted with a glass of sherry or whisky. Some bedrooms are small; quietest ones are at the back, looking on to the museum. All double-glazed. No restaurant as such but a light meal, accompanied by sensibly priced wines, can be served in the small but elegant lounge/bar, and there is a 24-hour room service menu. Private dinner parties can also be arranged. At breakfast, there is a buffet of fresh fruit, cereals, etc, and hot dishes are cooked to order.
Newspapers, games and books in the library, as well as fresh flowers. Bay trees and flowers in tubs outside the front door. Guests wishing to have lunch or dinner can dine at sister hotels The Beauchamp or the Grange White Hall, located just across the road on Bedford Street.