#SuiteStay: A Review of London’s First (and Finest) Hotel

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Browns Hotel London Exterior
Photo: Courtesy of Brown's

If you’re looking for the most perfectly placed hotel in London, you can’t really beat Brown’s Rocco Forte. Located in the heart of Mayfair, it not only boasts one of the most prestigious addresses in town, but it’s also a hop, skip, and a jump away from some of the city’s most beautiful parks – Green Park and Hyde Park included. There are art galleries and theaters galore in the vicinity, and shopaholics will be pleased to know that the luxury boutiques of Bond Street and Regent Street are just around the corner.

Despite its central location, the hustle and bustle of London seems like a world away as soon as you step through its wooden doors. Brown’s beautifully blends boutique-y vibes with high-end luxury to leave you feeling like you may have just entered the home of a (rather important) friend as it’s warm and familiar, but still oh-so-special.

Need to Know

Browns Hotel London Lobby
Photo: Courtesy of Brown's

Opened in 1837, Brown’s is a place of many firsts. Not only was it London’s first ever hotel (which is impressive in itself as it remains one of the best), but it’s also steeped in history. It’s from here that Alexander Graham Bell made the first ever telephone call, it’s where Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book (try to sneak a peek of the stunning suite named after him), and it’s where President Roosevelt honeymooned.

Made up of 11 townhouses, Brown’s comprises 115 guestrooms and suites in total. It was bought by Rocco Forte in 2005 and underwent a huge renovation that cost an eye-watering $32.5 million, so it’s pretty incredible – as you’d expect. Keeping its original classic character and touches like the dark-mahogany panels and antiques, the hotel now houses modern artworks by the likes of Tracy Emin and John Rankin.

Each room has been individually decorated to make each experience totally unique. It has been the go-to destination for royalty, presidents, writers, and superstars since the day it opened, and boasts an impressively high return rate – hardly surprising given how it ticks every box.

What You'll Like

Browns Hotel London Bathroom
Photo: Courtesy of Brown's

The attention to detail and little touches are what put Brown’s in a league of its own, and the fact that each room is different makes it that much more exciting when you first step in. Lucky enough to stay in the ‘Brown’s Suite’, I stood with my mouth hanging open for a good few minutes as I took in my surroundings.

Not only did it have two humungous bathrooms featuring Bisazza mosaics and marble, its own living room complete with a mini library, a king-sized bed that dreams are made of (no pun intended), my own walk-in wardrobe, and some seriously Insta-worthy wallpaper, it was far from intimidating and, instead, felt inviting and comforting. I could easily move in.

Your in-room ‘Handy Mobile Device’ comes in, well, rather handy as it gives you access to unlimited internet and calls whilst you explore and get lost in London. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll find mini robes, slippers, and their very own cuddly toy waiting for them. I also particularly loved the Forte Organics amenities, which not only smell sublime and look chic on the marble counter top, but are also good for your beauty routine.

What You'll Love

Browns Hotel London Studio Suite
Photo: Courtesy of Brown's

There’s literally nothing that Brown’s hasn’t thought of. Need an outfit for a special event or want to treat yourself to a fancy new frock? There are “Stylists-in-Residence” just for that. Not only will they liaise with you by phone before you arrive and find out your exact needs and requirements, but you’ll also arrive to a carefully curated selection of garments to try on and buy without having to step foot outside your room.

Foodies will delight in the bespoke dining experiences created by Tom Parker Bowles, who has been commissioned to create a personalized “menu” of restaurants and exclusive dining experiences. This way, you can enjoy some of London’s finest foods and best-kept culinary secrets with a gourmet tour that has been designed according to your palette’s preferences.

In fact, some big names have teamed up with the hotel to create exclusive and one-of-a-kind experiences. Best-selling author and nutritional health coach Madeleine Shaw has designed a healthy afternoon ‘TeaTox’ menu so you can indulge on the likes of spinach bread with miso-glazed salmon and raw white-chocolate cheesecake without the guilt. Want to learn more about London’s art scene? Then join one of the exclusive art tours that make their way around Mayfair’s galleries and include a three-course lunch. Transfers in your own chauffeur-driven Bentley? No problem.

Staying Put

Hix Mayfair Restaurant
Photo: Courtesy of Gourmet Guide

Despite the fact that there’s so much going on outside the hotel, don’t be surprised if you find it hard to make your way out – especially if it’s to treat yourself to a top-notch meal. Brown’s’ signature restaurant Hix Mayfair isn’t only London’s first ever hotel restaurant, it’s hands down one of the best from what the city has to offer.

Serving up quintessentially British fare with a unique and quirky twist, celebrity chef Mark Hix has put together a mouth-watering menu featuring carefully sourced local and seasonal ingredients – think: roast Dorset blue lobster with garlic butter and chips, herb-roast loin of lamb with peas and wild flowers, and Albermale smoked salmon with homemade soda bread. A special shout-out goes to the ‘Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse with honeycomb’ – it’s worth saving room for.

If you need to burn off some of those new-found calories, the state-of-the-art gym is open 24/7. You can also book in with a personal trainer to take your workout up a notch. For those who just want to relax and unwind, the underground spa offers the perfect place to get pampered. With just three treatment rooms, it’s cozy and inviting, offering everything from organic facials to deep-tissue massages and everything in between. Bliss.

Venturing Out

Browns Hotel London
Photo: Courtesy of Brown's

With stores like Tiffany & Co, Aquazarra, Paul Smith, Amanda Wakeley, and Graff located just outside the hotel’s doors, shoppers will be in high-end heaven. A short walk and you’re on Bond Street, the famous foods and delights from Fortnum & Mason are just across Piccadilly, and the art galleries of Cork Street are so close that you can almost smell the paint. Check out the latest exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts or see what’s on at one of Shaftesbury Avenue’s numerous theaters.

Health freaks will be happy to hear that Whole Foods is just minutes away, while leading salon Daniel Hersheson is just three streets over if you’re after a new ‘do or beautiful blow-dry. Brown’s is also close to the buzz of Oxford Circus and the hotspots of Soho, so you can’t really get much closer to the action than here. But that’s if you manage to drag yourself away because let’s be honest: Brown’s Rocco Forte has everything you could possibly want – and then some.

For more information or to book a stay at Brown’s, click here.

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