With baby #2 due in September (it’s another girl, thank you for asking), travelling outside of England will be banned by decree of Wife Law from July onwards. So in order to fulfil my life-term dream of being a part-time blogger, I must find a way for the show to go on.
As luck would have it, I already planned for this very scenario (the lack of international travel, not the second child – I have no plan for that except hiding in a wardrobe and crying) earlier in the year when I set out to revisit some of London’s finest. I have stayed in most of the top luxury hotels in London, but the majority of these were a number of years ago and things can change. Apparently, hating scientists is now a thing and any time you see a yacht you have to throw bottles of piss at it, so that’s new.
I can also come at the reviews from a different angle, as we will be staying in suites and come bearing a toddler, one that might be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. Maybe I’ll add a new criteria “how easy was it to wash out strawberries from the beige sofa” and “were those paintings on the wall really that expensive?! God I hope not”.
Here’s the list that I intend to follow (in no particular order)
- The Berkeley
- Four Seasons Park Lane
- The Cadogan
- The Lanesborough
- Ham Yard
- Mandarin Oriental
L’Oscar and Cadogan are relatively new, boutique properties, which are located away from the best spots, so I’m really going purely for your benefit. Ham Yard is another I’ve visited but not stayed, in another part of London I don’t particularly care for. I’m really setting myself up for misery, aren’t I?
The Mandarin Oriental had just been refurbished during our last stay, but then they took “hottest new property” literally and it set on fire, so they had to refurbish it yet again. Corinthia and The Lanesborough are two of the newer London properties, so I’m not expecting much change, whilst I can only hope for a design change in Four Seasons Park Lane, but the website is making me think some of the rooms were designed by the Babadook.
Maybourne Group owns The Berkeley, Claridges and The Connaught, and whilst the first two properties have been going through major renovations and extensions, The Connaught is still our regular. Another review, you may ask!? I’ve stayed in The Connaught a bazillion times, but they built The Mews, a modern two-bedroom suite, a few years ago and I’ve still not had a chance to stay. In recent years they’ve added a patisserie and grill, but we all know by now my food reviews wouldn’t get past the editor of a 6 year-olds school newspaper.
What’s not included?
I’m not made of money, don’t ya know, so sticking to 10 seems fair. That does mean not every hotel could win the chance to spend the night with me.
We last stayed in a suite at The Bulgari in 2020 and seeing that their design philosophy seems to be “never change the design philosophy” I don’t see much having changed. Good pool, great rooms, and the best views, Shangri-La sounds awesome, but being in this part of London is surely classified as torture? I considered a revisit to The Beaumont, as they’ve reopened after 500 days and with a new GM, but I’ve stayed in every room category and their new 27/28 rooms extension does not open until 2023. Finally, Cafe Royal. Lucie used to work here and would rather eat her own face than re-enter this charisma vacuum.
Congratulations on the new arrival Tom. Looking forward to what you think of the hotels, in particularly the Mandarin and Ham Yard. We stayed at the Mandarin last summer and were underwhelmed. We really didn’t like the layout, especially the reception and lobby.
We’ve stayed at the Ham Yard a lot since it opened but had a couple of poor experiences recently. Their pricing has also increased dramatically. Prior to the bad experiences I would have recommended it. It’s the only London Firmdale Property on the FHR programme and we like the location.
Thanks, Jon. Pricing has increased everywhere dramatically and Mandarin seems to be the most expensive property in London at the moment – I can’t find a suite for less than £4k/n.