Top 10: the best luxury hotels in London
London does Grande Dame hotels much better than maybe any other great capital (though Paris would demur) and they have actually never been on better type, all of them now having actually been either thoroughly brought back (such as The Savoy and The Connaught) or thoroughly embellished and brought up to date. Only one (The Goring) is still in the hands of the exact same household that opened it, however all these hotels maintain, if not all, then a great deal of the character that defined them when they first opened their doors in Victorian and Edwardian days, when these flamboyant palaces first made their mark in society and the life of London.
1. The Savoy – Covent Garden, London, England
The Savoy hotel is set back from the busy Strand and above the river on an island in between 2 hectic roadways. The style is Edwardian on the river side – see the well-known lacquer-and-gilt Red Lift – Art Deco on the Strand side, where Gordon Ramsay has resumed the Savoy Grill. The American Bar handles Deco glamour and (just) views of the Thames. Bed rooms are big and fresh, securely traditional without being frumpy.
2. The Dorchester – Hyde Park, London, England
Housed in a landmark Art Deco developing dating from 1931 and facing its own tree-filled green, The Dorchester looks like a terrific ocean going liner, and stands on among the most prominent thoroughfares in London, Park Lane. The service across the hotel is second to none, an impressive combination of easy-going but constantly courteous appeal and personality and exceptional efficiency. The suite I stayed in, developed by Alexandra Champalimaud, was mercifully unshowy, an unified, gently diverse rendition of timeless English design.
3. Brown’s Hotel – Mayfair, London, England
Brown’s includes 11 townhouses inhabiting 2 parallel streets off Piccadilly. Established 175 years earlier by the former valet to Lord Byron, it was a favourite of Agatha Christie, Alexander Graham Bell made the very first phone call, and it was where Rudyard Kipling completed The Jungle Book. Refurnished in 2005, the dark mahogany panelling and fittings on the ground floor were kept, however modern-day home furnishings and notable modern art was added. Spaces are trendy and sophisticated, with cream carpets, cosy sleigh beds, antique dressers, modern-day lighting and high windows.
4. The Ritz London – Mayfair, London, England
The Long Gallery and Palm Court are ravishing and the dining room is among the loveliest in Europe. From the doormen with their white gloves tucked into their epaulettes and the set of bellmans who open the double doors to each showing up guest to the chambermaids in their pinnies and caps, the service was perfect. Bedrooms and suites– salmon pink, rose pink, yellow and blue– have been brought back in their initial XVI style.
5. The Langham, London – Marylebone, London, England
The Langham is currently among London’s finest hotels and is now in the hands of hoteliers from Hong Kong. As soon as you get over the fact that there is absolutely nothing British about the way the Langham now looks, you realise that its brand-new quasi-Oriental slant is actually very welcome and well-executed. The hotel’s dining establishment, Landau is a gorgeous oval space developed by David Collins (likewise responsible for the hotel’s romantic new cocktail bar, Artesian).
6. The Connaught – Mayfair, London, England
7 years after it was reopened after significant and extremely needed remediation, The Connaught feels right, an effective mix of standard and contemporary. The staircase makes the location, obviously, and the shoe-shine chair on the first landing shows how tradition is still important with service at its core. Of the 119 spaces, 30 are in the new wing: modern and slightly oriental in feel, with Japanese Toto heated seat/bidet bathrooms. The rest, by Guy Oliver, are more conventional, but light. Butlers are on hand for all the bed rooms; service is generally very good and personnel commitment high.
7. Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park – Hyde Park, London, England
The Mandarin Oriental backs on to Hyde Park itself, with a welcome brand-new outside terrace. You’ll discover a Far Eastern slant on the people-friendly, easy-going part Edwardian, part modern ground flooring however corridors and bed rooms that are so deeply traditional in design that I needed to pinch myself to keep in mind that I remained in an Oriental hotel at all. The Queen would undoubtedly feel comfortable; quite best– after all, it remained in the dreamy ballroom (where today you can have yoga lessons) in the 1930s that she and Princess Margaret learnt how to dance.
8. The Lanesborough – Hyde Park, London, England
Beginning life as elegant nation home for Viscount Lanesborough in 1719, the Lanesborough was reconstructed in 1827 as St George’s Hospital and only ended up being a hotel in 1990. Maybe this newness is what has given it most likely the most cosmopolitan feel of all London’s Grande Dame hotel, helped by its place neglecting ever-busy Hyde Park Corner. After a year-long closure it will, in June, end up being the most recent address in the superb collection of Oetker hotels (which include Le Bristol and Eden Roc). Expect intelligent opulence and careful yet characterful service: Oetker Collection is family run and all their hotels have great beauty.
9. Claridge’s – Mayfair, London, England
Claridge’s hotel is a famous bolthole for kings, queens, grannies and Barbara Cartland (until she finally ended) now more often visited by those in search of British pomp with a modern-day twist. Pointers of a more dignified age consist of the wrought-iron lift with its comfy seat and uniformed attendant. My old design space was a world away from that whiff of bling on the ground floor. It felt frozen in time, an Art Deco duration piece that should never ever alter. Tea in the Grand Foyer, to the strains of violins, is the real emphasize.
10. The Goring – Belgravia, London, England
Throughout the roadway from Buckingham Palace. The hotel has the excellent advantage of a huge private garden, surrounded by flower borders and shrubbery, with a central lawn on which croquet is played in the summertime. The current remodelling revealed its ravishing brand-new Front Hall, outfitted with hand-painted wallpaper of exotic animals (some caricatures of personnel and owners) in a romantic English landscape. Numerous spaces have actually been designed by Russell Sage and his bedrooms are glamorous yet homely, decorated with Gainsborough silks on the walls.