Being a Londoner, I thought I knew everything my home city had to offer. The coolest restaurants, the best bars, the top hotels…but apparently, I didn’t. In fact, it turns out I had been walking past one of the hottest hotels in the capital, and I didn’t have a clue. Slap bang in the heart of London, it’s hard to believe that the Hotel Café Royal is situated in one of the prime spots right in the center of town. A stone’s throw away from the elegance of Mayfair, the trendy restaurants in Soho, and the life and soul of the West End, a blink and you could miss it. Swarms of shoppers rush along Regent’s Street whilst the grand building looks on, a secret gem waiting to be discovered, a secret you’ll want to share but will want to keep to yourself at the same time.
Since 1863, the Café Royal has been associated with words like luxury, class, glamor, and rock stars. No really, this is the place where the likes of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Lou Reed hung out in their heyday. Not to mention that Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor were regular visitors, and some of the world’s most significant literary greats came to write and be inspired, including Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolfe, and Rudyard Kipling. As soon as you step foot through the doors and enter the world of Café Royal, you’re instantly transported to another time, another era. It’s opulent yet classy, traditional yet modern. It’s like no other, a unique place to disconnect from the magical madness in the buzzing streets that surround it.
Entering the hotel lobby, for a moment I was left speechless (a rarity, trust me). After a few times of trying, and failing, to find my way inside, I couldn’t quite believe what I saw. Here I was, literally on Regent’s Street, in a huge entrance hall covered entirely with marble lit magically by streams of sunlight pouring through stained glass windows. Paying homage to the history of the building (it’s a grade II listed building) the attention to detail is staggering, and historic areas have been restored whilst modern accents have been added to create something truly unique and special.
Home to 160 guestrooms and suites, an enormous underground spa and pool, a private member’s club, a café (made of marble, of course), two bars, an informal dining room, a fine-dining restaurant, a decadent salon that serves up the most scrumptious of high-teas, a state-of-the-art gym…it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of corridors, and to be quite honest, I wanted to so I never had to leave. Especially when I stepped foot in my bathroom (made of marble, of course), with its under floor heating, huge sunken tub, a rain shower big enough to fit my whole family, the most luxurious bathrobes ever (which I basically lived in throughout my stay), and a TV built into the mirror, it pretty much ticked every box I could imagine for the best bathroom ever.
The rooms themselves are seriously spacious, both cosy and contemporary. A huge Bang & Olufsen TV takes center stage (your remote control means you can make it face you no matter where you are in the room, amazing), and the color scheme is the perfect neutral palette of lightwoods, and stone and pale pink accents. Incredibly peaceful and serene, I had to keep looking out of the huge windows to remind myself that I was, in fact, in one of the busiest parts of London, and not tucked away in a remote village somewhere. There are, of course, the more – shall we say – ‘elaborate’ suites, such as the ‘Club Suite’ which features red, royal blue, and gold gildings in a nod to the hotel’s French heritage, and of course the ‘Dome Wing’ which features its very own LED ceiling, a DJ sound system, and an outdoor terrace that looks out over Piccadilly Circus. Maybe next time…
But for me, the luxurious Frette bed linen (and pillow spray to spritz it with), fully stocked butler’s pantry, handmade chocolates, butler service, dressing area, and King-sized bed of dreams (literally), would have been hard to beat. The only problem is, I don’t know how I’m going to visit home again without wanting to check-in for another night. So, that Dome suite..?