The Berkeley Hotel in London Is a True Hospitality Haven | Savoir Flair
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The Berkeley Hotel in London Is a True Hospitality Haven
article THE BERKELEY
by Grace Gordon 6-minute read July 10, 2023

From luxe car services and huge, harmonious rooms to amazing dining, discover everything The Berkeley hotel has in store for guests.

I have a theory that if I stayed at The Berkeley in London for more than a few days I might forget how to function in the real world. The whole time I was there, I never lifted a finger to do anything for myself. I was like a spoiled King Charles Cavalier puppy riding around in its own Burberry-upholstered stroller. In other words, I was pampered. Everything, from the room and the dining experiences to the impeccable staff service, was examined down to the most minute detail and calibrated for comfort and luxury. Need a ride to Harrod’s? The Berkeley’s car service, exclusively for guests, will drop you anywhere in a two-kilometer radius, which in this area of London covers a lot of spectacular sightseeing and shopping. Need your bags unpacked or packed for you? Simply ask. Don’t want to bend down to throw away a tissue? Even the bins in the room open and close automatically. 

The Berkeley, a modern oasis in the heart of Knightsbridge, is part of the Maybourne Hotel Group, which also holds Claridge’s,  the soon-to-open The Emory, and The Connaught. With its own distinct personality, this five-star luxury hotel is home to the world-famous pastry artistry of Cédric GroletMarcus Wareing’s Michelin-starred restaurant, the iconic Blue Bar designed by David Collins, London’s most fashionable ‘Prêt-à-Portea’ afternoon tea, and more. You’ve surely stumbled across each of these destinations on travel guides before; the fact that they are all located inside one fabulous hotel is nothing short of extraordinary.

A BIT OF HISTORY

The Berkeley began as a humble coffee shop at the corner of Piccadilly and Berkeley Street in the 1700s, catering to the coachmen of the Western Mail, and later was transformed into a hotel in 1897 and made popular by being one of the first to introduce air conditioning. Later, a unique double-glazing technique on windows made the hotel practically soundproof, which was ideal for its discerning guests who wanted to escape the hectic city pace outside. It’s still preternaturally serene – more on that later.

In 1972, The Berkeley relocated to Wilton Place and was designed by famed architect Brian O’Rorke who installed a swimming pool on the seventh floor (making it the only hotel with a rooftop pool in London until well into the 21st century) and restored the building’s original features. In 2016, the hotel’s facade got a facelift, courtesy of a new glass entrance and neighboring glass pavilions that house extensions of the Blue Bar and the Collins Room.

article THE BERKELEY

ROOM WITH A VIEW

Rooms at The Berkeley are generously sized and contemporary, featuring both Scandinavian and Japanese flourishes courtesy of bleached wood. They are built for both comfort and relaxation. In fact, the enormous room we stayed in, which had a separate living room with huge dining and seating areas, reminded me of a very chic therapist’s office, replete with soothing, beautiful curves and lines and well-appointed decor that shared a pleasing harmony with the modern space.

Windows surround the room, flooding it with sunlight. Given its proximity to Hyde Park (it’s literally across the street), the hotel is surprisingly quiet. At night, we would throw the windows open and listen as the clip-clop of horse hooves passed by below. It sounded like London. The bathroom was simply enormous, with a freestanding tub, two closets, a dressing area and vanity, a heated towel rack, a wide shower that fit two enormous rain shower heads, and more. The room was so relaxing and peaceful that it was difficult to leave.

article THE BERKELEY

STATE OF THE ART

When it comes to the hotel’s artistic endeavors, it is architecture and interiors that reign supreme. Many of the world’s most notable architects and interior designers have left an imprint on the hotel, from David Collins’s Blue Bar to Joyce Wang’s lavishly appointed ‘Hyde Park Penthouse’. Mural artist Chiara Perano has just finished up a dazzling mural on the seventh floor in the corridor leading to the rooftop pool, while T.M. Davy, a New York-based artist, decorated the ultra-feminine, retro snug corner of The Berkeley Bar. Inside The Berkeley Bar, exquisite wood cocoons the space. I am told that is from a 300-year-old tree from an estate in Lincolnshire. When the tree fell in a storm in 2007, the hotel reclaimed the wood. It is thoughtful and rare touches like these that make The Berkeley stand out.

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FOOD MATTERS

The Berkeley really puts the fine in fine dining. There are so many spots to choose from, all you really need to determine is how hungry you are and for what type of cuisine. Collins Room acts as the main restaurant where guests can enjoy breakfast, all-day dining with a really lovely menu, and the hotel’s famous and ultra-stylish afternoon tea that changes according to the fashion season. Over at Marcus, you can enjoy modern British cuisine so good that it earned a Michelin star, and choose from either the Chef’s Table, the tasting menu, or the à la carte menu.

The Berkeley Bar has delicious bar bites and wonderful signature cocktails, while the Blue Bar, which is famous for being the first bar in London to really become a “scene” (populated by rock stars, models, celebrities, and other famous faces), is known for its upscale late-night bites like Manchego and truffle churros and steak tartare crumpets, as well as an artistic cocktail menu crafted by mixologist Marcello Cauda. Burn a few Blue Bar calories on the dance floor as a rotating roster of guest DJs light up the evening with thumping music (with vinyl-only sets from Thursdays to Saturdays).

Finally, there is Cédric Grolet, the undisputed master of the pastry arts. I highly recommend booking an eight-course Chef’s Table experience, which comes with drink and coffee pairings and has courses that are both savory and sweet. The cloud-like burrata course is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted, while a perfect little replica of lime is sliced open to reveal a tart and creamy interior. Every dish at Cédric Grolet is more impressive than the last. Book early, because this place is always packed. Pro-tip: If you don’t have time for the full dining experience, there are plenty of pastry and bread options for takeaway.

article THE BERKELEY

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Because of its prime location in Knightsbridge, there is so much to see and do within walking distance of the hotel. It’s an easy trek to some of London’s most prized tourist attractions like Hyde Park, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Buckingham Palace, and more. Meanwhile, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Convent Garden, and Kensington Palace are all a quick car ride away. If it’s shopping you’re after, this upscale neighborhood offers Harvey Nichols and Harrods nearby, as well as standalone stores like BalenciagaJimmy Choo, and Burberry. Speaking of shopping, don’t miss the hotel’s own boutique gift shop that offers you the ability to take home specialized stemware, home goods, and more from the hotel.

To book a stay at The Berkeley hotel in London, visit The-Berkeley.co.uk.

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