When friends are visiting London they often ask me where they should stay. London's grand hotels with more than 10 to choose from is an enticing option. The grand hotel is a style the Brits excel at and staying in one of these very posh establishments overnight or longer is part and parcel of enjoying a particular type of London experience.
The Lanesborough London Hotel, a landmarked building of Regency architecture, was originally St George's hospital dating back to 1733. The hospital was moved to South London in 1977 and after laying empty for a decade Lanesborough House was purchased by the Starwood Hotel group. Following an extensive and lengthy renovation it was converted to the luxury five-star Lanesborough London Hotel in 1990. The hotel was later sold to The Oetker Collection and another complete two year overhaul undertaken, meticulously carried out by the Studio of Alberto Pinto, known the world over as the master of the grand interior. Taking luxury and elegance to a whole new level, the hotel re-opened July 1st of this year, grander than ever and now boasts a seven bedroom Royal Suite. One can only imagine...
The Lanesborough London Hotel is a perfect example of classic British grand house style, incorporating an air of formality with doormen in full-length grey coats topped with bowler hats, Regency-period furniture, wingback chairs, tufted leather chesterfield sofas, classic floral fabrics, passementerie and tie-backed drapes. Although the interior design is a little traditonal for me, I admire the grand scale and rigorous attention to every detail. Also, the former library was one of my favorite spots to meet for drinks, so I'm thrilled it's back in all its refurbished glory looking even cozier than before, if such a thing is possible.
Another recent entrant to London's Grand Hotels sweepstakes, Rosewood London has opened in Holborn. This building's architecture is from the Edwardian period designed by H. Percy Monkton, completed in 1914 and housed offices for an insurance company for many decades. Taken over by the Rosewood Hotel group the building has been converted to the five-star luxury Rosewood London hotel. This hotel exhibits some marvelous neoclassical architecture, including a grand seven-story marble staircase, cupola and a grand Edwardian courtyard entry. The interior design by Tony Chi & Associates has maintained the Edwardian heritage, while incorporating contemporary flourishes of glossy black lacquer, mirrored finishes, chinoiserie elements and graphic black & white patterns. Rosewood London's decor is definitely less passementerie, historically referenced floral fabrics and tie-backs; more leather, cashmere and elegantly tailored drapes hanging straight to the floor. None the less it's as lavishly appointed as the Lanesborough Hotel.
I enjoyed reading Claire Wrathall's column in the Telegraph about her stay during Rosewood London's initial opening. I'll be checking it out on my next trip...
Grand courtyard entrance