London is without a doubt one of the most cosmopolitan and fascinating cities in the world. With a rich heritage, some of the world’s best attractions, museums, art galleries and activities I chose to head back to the capital for a few days of life in the big smoke.
“Quintessentially English” is the phrase that describes the Chesterfield Hotel perfectly. Located in one of the UK’s most desirable areas, Mayfair – it is just off Berkeley Square – the hotel oozes old school etiquette, décor and service. The 94 rooms and 16 suites are of the luxurious standard you would expect of a four star city hotel. Originally three Georgian townhouses, they were pulled together to form what is now known as the Chesterfield.
The hotel is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection all which have a very distinctive look, reflecting the tastes of South African-born Bea Tollman who is the current owner. Above all else Bea places a great deal of value on service, and requires an exacting standard from her staff. Most important to Bea is that the staff should try to anticipate the guest’s needs before they have to ask.
I was greeted upon arrival by the doorman who looked quite dandy in his top hat. And the classic British theme continues throughout with the marble-floored lobby, which has a couple of Chesterfield (of course) leather chairs dotted here and there. You could easily think you have mistakenly wandered into one of the private members clubs around Mayfair, with the abundance of dark woods, busy carpets, antique furnishing and paintings that adorn all the walls.
The suite itself was beautifully decorated in an elegant timeless style, the only negative point was that the windows are so high you cannot look out to the street, very odd. The padded fabric walls in lovely calming, neutral hues set the tone. The suite is spacious, with a large master bedroom, the ensuite bathroom with both individual shower and separate bath has Elemis products. It has a mirrored ceiling, first I have ever encountered in all my years travelling the globe. Off to the right is a lounge area, with comfy furniture and a good selection of books should you fancy a night in, instead of hitting the town. Classy chandeliers light up both rooms and the furniture is tasteful.
The afternoon tea was definitely the highlight of my stay. I invited my sister to join me and she thoroughly enjoyed it as well. The chef pulled out all the stops catering for my culinary requirements, I am a pescetarian. The Mediterranean roasted spiced vegetable sandwiches were delicious as were the home-baked scones, all washed down with Lanson Champagne. Which did indeed come in handy as the conservatory was over-run with children who had booked in for the special Little Oompa Loompa Afternoon tea.
Ten out of ten for service, no request was too big, for example even though check out was in the morning, the staff accommodated us by giving us access to one of the unoccupied guest rooms so we could get our glam on for our evening event, The F1 Ball. A public convenience would not have sufficed for the level of ball gown glamour we were aiming for.
Ten out of ten for location as well. The hotel is surrounded by all the top end London eateries, Nobu, Sexy Fish and Hide just to name a few. And is also ideally located to soak up nature, as Hyde Park and Green Park are both within walking distance. And as far as the shops go, you have arrived at a designer mecca, the new Stella McCartney store, the Victoria Beckham boutique and also Saville Row are all under ten minute’s walk. The closest tube station is Bond Street, but we opted to walk everywhere, as it is the best way to soak up everything London has to offer.
All in all it was a wonderful trip, enhanced by the delightful service of the staff at the Chesterfield. This was our first experience at a Red Carnation hotel, it certainly will not be our last.