Fantastically positioned between Belgravia and Knightsbridge, two of London’s top neighborhoods, this hotel, recently renovated in June 2021, is set amongst the supreme department stores of both Harrods and Harvey Nichols not to mention all the luxury shopping to be done on the hotel’s Sloane Street.
In September 2019 the hotel closed for a £100 million renovation. It reopened on 27 July 2021 and rebranded slightly as The Carlton Tower Jumeirah. When it first opened in 1961 it was the tallest hotel in London with 17 stories. Its Sixties tower-block exterior remains and the hotel is still one of the very few with balconies that look down upon the luxury shops and over the fairy tale that is the lighting of Harrods at night.
The entrance overlooks Cadogan Gardens, which guests can use to stretch their legs, walk their dogs or play tennis. On arrival, you are greeted by smart doormen who are warm rather than forbidding and there‘s even a complimentary chauffeur available. As you’re personally escorted into the foyer you’re struck by the dominant and stunning crystal chandelier resembling shards of ice. Here at the reception, the male staff uniforms suggest the glamour of years gone by while the female staff wears silk or satin full-skirted dresses with botanical prints to reflect the gardens.
“Where iconic heritage meets modern sensibility” states the hotel’s website and certainly the rooms are stylish and luxuriant. The tones are complimentary and the paneled wallpaper and deep teal leather bedhead surround the pleasingly piped royal blue velvet chairs and the marble bedside tables. The all-marble bathrooms have rainforest showers that are impressively powerful, the king-size beds are deep, plush, and snug in their high-quality linens, and, as for the personal touch, your slippers and leather room keys come embossed with your own initials.
The Al Mare Italian restaurant on the ground floor also offers open-air dining, the confident menu offers tuna and caviar for crudi, blue lobster linguine for pasta, and wild seabass with salmoriglio (a pungent Italian sauce of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and oregano) for Pesci. It’s the ultimate in elegant dining with seats spaciously arranged in booths if discretion is preferred. With plush luxurious deep blue velvet and leather seats on a parquet wooden floor, with modern artworks and cast-iron railings, with marble steps and counters, all these rich colors and textures are trumped by the stunning signature Art Deco pendant lights.
On the 9th floor is The Peak Fitness Club with its wonderful glass-walled lounge offering newspapers and snacks and looking panoramically across London for, as with many of the hotel’s vantage points, it’s all about the views.
And then there’s the pièce de resistance: the remarkable feature that is the swimming pool. It’s the ultimate in indulgence and enjoyable exercise. It’s set at the perfect temperature, is twenty meters in length, and is naturally lit through its double-height glass ceiling. It’s surrounded by cabana beds and a raised Jacuzzi. The adjoining spa is simply yet elegantly decorated with lovely lighting and offers aromatherapy treatments of which I recommend the ylang ylang oil from this yellow, star-shaped flower which makes for a wonderful aroma.
For breakfast, at the Chinoiserie the room has the elegant and pleasing tones that come from the combination of gold and royal blue along with dimensions that feel reassuringly solid and grounding. It’s all highly luxurious.