Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London
BACKGROUND This iconic London hotel harks back to the early 1960s when it was known as The Carlton Towers and, managed by the Hotel Corporation of America, was the first five-star hotel to open in Knightsbridge. Since Jumeirah took over the property in 2001, the Dubai Holding company has become a firm favourite of business and leisure travellers from the region. WHAT’S IT LIKE? There’s an old-school elegance in the rich textiles and burnished colour palettes used throughout the entry level public spaces that segue to a more contemporary mood within the suites and the upper levels of the hotel. A glass lift elevator connects the lobby to the rooftop, including the vibrant space occupied by The Club Room, offering panoramic city views across the private Cadogan Gardens and beyond. WHERE IS IT? The location is about as prime as you can get. With fashionable Knightsbridge on your doorstep, it’s not hard to see why the property is a magnet for wealthy Middle Eastern jetsetters. From Lowndes Street (home to a more boutique Jumeirah Hotel), a quick stroll around Belgravia takes in ubiquitous brand-name stores such as Christian Louboutin and Amouge while the adjacent Sloane Street is home to Hermès, Chanel, Prada and YSL. The new gourmet quarter in Pavilion Road, with its buzzing eateries and wine bars (Pavilion Wine Bar and Granger & Co. are highlights), is within walking distance as are major attractions such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the Victoria and Albert Museum. ROOM FACILITIES The majority of rooms underwent extensive refurbishment about five years ago and the suites are some of the largest in London. I stayed in suite 1701 which offered apartmentsized proportions and included a large living area with dining room, sofa and desk, and decorated in a soothing masculine palette of slate, chocolate and grey with textured silver walls. The tech offering is plentiful and includes a SuitePad system and charging dock with several ports for video, PC, HTMI and USB connections. There are 216 rooms in total, including 58 suites with the signature Royal Suite a popular choice of Middle Eastern VIPs. RESTAURANTS AND BARS Light meals and afternoon tea are served in the bustling Chinoisery that features an impressive fairy light-strewn centrepiece, moreish cake trays and both formal and relaxed dining spaces. The famous Rib Room – the setting of many a high-powered business deal over the years – has just reopened and beyond the hotel, some of London’s finest restaurants are located within a short cab ride. MEETING FACILITIES The conferencing and banquet rooms can accommodate anything from a meeting for two to a party of 700. The hotel has nine private dining and meeting rooms designed to accommodate a wide range of functions, from cocktail receptions and dinners to major events. The aesthetics of the ballroom nod to an Art Deco inspired design, while the Garden Rooms are ideal for smaller meetings or drinks receptions. There is a neat business center offering three partitioned cubicles with workstations and printers. LEISURE FACILITIES Take the glass elevator to the ninth floor for The Club Room – a striking plumbcoloured space streaming with natural light. The Peak Health Club & Spa and a gym is accessed by a mezzanine staircase with domed windows looking out across London offering an almost 360-degree vista. Guests also have access to a 20m indoor swimming pool and outdoor tennis courts. The hotel currently offers a number of lifestyle packages; A Night At The Opera that includes tickets to Opera; Passion, Power and Politics at the Victoria and Albert Museum; and a Family Fun package is available to coincide with the opening of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Gina Johnson VERDICT Oldworld charm meets contemporary hospitality, a spacious hotel and one that defines the ‘location, location, location’ adage.