Where: Lancaster Gate, London, England.
Long story short: A hotel with ideas (about being nice to people) below its station.
Short story long:
I’ve been to hotels with bigwigs before. A lot of them. Nice hotels with ornate details, fancy cutlery and heavy toiletries (sometimes glass!). But this might be the first time I have been to a hotel with fatcats before. I am pretty sure that 70% of the people at breakfast were fatcats. Or fatcats’ wives. It was pretty thrilling, I can tell you. You can tell a fatcat by the way he struts into breakfast, doesn’t immediately check his phone (because someone else does that for him) but instead looks around to see where His People are.
The breakfast room was pretty much everything you’d want it to be in central London. Floor-to-ceiling glass and a whip-ma-whop-ma view of Hyde Park. Options included fried English breakfast, yoghurt, cereal, croissants and chicken ginger curry. Wait, WHAT? Oh, right, for the fatcats. Amazing. I bloody well had seconds. The breakfast was practically perfect in every way, to quote another, different, temporary resident of posh London, but that wasn’t even where the greatness began.
The greatness began in the lobby with the friendliest check-in staff of all time. Fatcat paradise or otherwise, the check-in staff paid no heed to my rucksack and as I sauntered up Pretty Woman-style, ready to be told that I probably wanted the Travelodge round the corner, the welcome couldn’t have been warmer and more helpful, despite the chandeliers and gold statues (possibly real gold).
The greatness continued to my (Executive Double City View) room, in all its corduroy
armchair and stunning views-over-London beauty. But the real highlight was the bum soap; a tiny little square of capital-lettered PALM OIL (wait, that’s a bad thing these days, no?) soap subtly placed next to the edge of the bidet saying gently, “You’ve just been on a very long journey, wouldn’t we all be happier if you washed your arse a bit?”.
Arse duly cleansed, I set about checking out the details. Kettle, check. Option for fresh milk, check. Clarity on whether the bottled water was free or not, check (phew). MASSIVE bath, check. MASSIVE bed, check. Secret door behind armchairs, through which Hugh Grant might pop at any time, check. Actual brilliant views across Hyde Park and London from the window, worthy of a Richard Curtis American-in-London shot (call me, Richard), check.
Fantastic night’s sleep, oh check IT.
The hotel’s proximity to Lancaster Gate makes it ideal for tourists in London, though to be honest, most of the people I saw at breakfast Probably Weren’t Going To Be Getting The Tube. It’s in a stunning location, close to the park and close to All The Rich People, but all that knobbery aside, it’s just a really, really nice hotel.
Champagne tastes: Knock yourself out in the Presidential Suite, for £1,329 per night.
Shandy Pockets: Weekday rates for standard rooms start from a not-unreasonable £179 per room per night, with weekend rates from £159.
Review by Hazel Davis