This grand old dame, perched on the corner of Hyde Park redefines service and spoils to the max
Hotel check-ins are maddening. In at 4pm, out at 11am, wham, bam, thank you M’am! They make you feel like you can’t leave the room. Why would you? There’s so much to cram in. You need to work out how to switch the lights on and turn the air con off. You need to do a couple of lengths in the bath, take approximately three naps and waft around in a dressing gown. You need to order room service (a crusts-off club sandwich and chips, always) and admire the view. Well, imagine this then, that at The Lanesborough, as part of their staycation package, you can check in and out whenever you please. And that’s of course, exactly what you do.
Fantastically fussy and opulent, the detail smacks you in the face. There's more marble in the lobby than in the whole of Italy's Carrara Mountains, and you'll struggle to find a surface that hasn't been gilded in 23-carat gold leaf. In the Grand Hall, the striped green trompe-l'oeil attracts countless double takes – and in our case, fondlings of the wall. Downstairs, the subterranean spa is ensconced in pin-drop peace. Beds sit around a hydrotherapy pool that glows bright blue and gushes water, almost meditatively. There are a handful of treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room and a shadowy relaxation room. There's also a state-of-the-art gym if Hyde Park if doesn't beckon you first.
In our sunshine yellow suite, an ice cold bottle of Moet with a selection of snacks – crudités and pomegranate studded hummus – greeted us. Every room has a personal butler, offers a complimentary clothes press service and is replete with intoxicatingly lovely, glass bottled Roja Dove products. Technology is hidden in plain sight, with televisions in gilded frames covered by paintings. The bed and the bath was predictably ginormous, and the interiors, divinely decadent, with plenty of florals, trinkets, antiques and books.
The panelled Library Bar is an excellent people watching spot. On one table, a Russian family nursing candy floss topped cocktails with a learned nonchalance, on another, the undertakings of a tie-straighteningly serious business deal. Dinner is in Céleste, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Its glass-ceilinged dining room, baby blue and lined with Greek key cornicing, neoclassical friezes and Wedgewood, runs like clockwork. A six foot wide chandelier dominates the room – and the conversation, hanging over diners tucking into reworked European classics. Using seasonal British ingredients, the food, by head chef Darcio Henriques, is exemplary. We ate a slow-cooked egg bathed in luminous pea purée, silky angelotti and audibly crunchy cubes of pork belly with hispi cabbage, alongside an expert and exacting flight of wine.
The Lanesborough is formal but welcoming, polished but not posh. Pomp is proffered cheerfully, with no airs and graces, as Lilibet, the hotel cat, pads around sleepily. Nothing, literally nothing, is too big an ask; if I’d have asked the concierge to do my tax return they probably would have agreed. In at 12am, out at 5pm, wham bam, thank you ever so much, Sir. Yes you, decked in dove grey, smiling profusely under your silk mask.
The ‘Staycation’ package at the Lanesborough starts from £735 per night. Visit oetkercollection.com to find out more