CHECK IT OUT THE LANESBOROUGH LONDON
London’s Lanesborough hotel has reopened for bookings following a lavish, 18-month refurbishment. Ideally situated in Knightsbridge with Buckingham Palace as a neighbour, the Grade II-listed former hospital first opened as a hotel in 1991 following a highly publicised refit under the watchful eye of English Heritage, and quickly became the go-to pad for well-heeled visitors to the capital. New managers Oetker have ratcheted up the luxury in 93 guestrooms (almost half of which are suites) where tablets and televisions are hidden in armoires or behind paintings, bathrooms are panelled in the finest Italian marble and British master perfumer Roja Dove has created a range of bespoke amenities.
Le Bristol Paris (also from the Oetker stable) has dispatched Florian Favario, sous-chef de cuisine at the three Michelin-star Epicure, to run The Lanesborough’s Celeste restaurant (formerly Apsleys).
The Lanesborough closed its doors in December 2013 enabling a team of 300 specialists in embroidery, cabinetry, bronze, lacquering and gilding to realise the vision of acclaimed designer Alberto Pinto who died before work began. His sister and business partner Linda completed the project, wherein almost every element in each guestroom is bespoke. While the fitout is grand, the mood is residential. Every guest has the services of a butler 24/7 and can expect a cup of tea or coffee with their wake-up call and personalised business cards and stationery provided in guestroom desks; there’s also gratis Wi-Fi and free calls to the US and Europe.
Public areas number a clubby library bar, elegant garden room, cigar terrace and a spa studio.
DON’T MISS: Dipping into the Library Bar’s “Liquid History”, a collection of vintage cognacs, including the world’s oldest, dating from 1770, a mere bagatelle at £6500 ($13,598) a shot.
The in-house restaurant may have a new name and a new executive chef but the gorgeous interiors are Regency to a tee; the largest chandelier, one of 54 fashioned by British firm Wilkinson, weighs 200kg. Expect the best British organic produce and classic French technique from Favario, such as jellied mackerel with cream of horseradish and blueberries; Devon lamb with courgette couscous and harissa; and raspberries with coconut sorbet.
DINING OUT: It’s walking distance to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (order his meat fruit and tipsy cake signature dishes). ASK THE CONCIERGE: Simon Thomas says, “A summer must do, the Serpentine Gallery, in Kensington Gardens, is hosting its annual Summer Pavilion. This year’s work is designed by Spanish architects SelgasCano and is a chrysalis of opaque and translucent plastic polygons. As an bonus, Fortnum & Mason’s will be hosting the daily cafe.”
CHECKING IN: Opening room rates from £715, including VAT. More: lanesborough.com.
ALSO TRY: Le Bristol Paris; The Plaza Hotel New York; Palais Namaskar Marrakech.