Living Like James Bond in London

May Fair hotel

The latest James Bond film, "Spectre," lit up the box office its opening weekend in the U.S. It’s on track to become the second-highest grossing Bond film in history (after 2012’s Skyfall). That’s welcome news for London hotels eager to promote the Bond theme. Here’s a few examples available this month.

At the May Fair, a “Live Like Bond” package promises a luxury experience that Bond himself would appreciate. The hotel’s Mayfair district setting can claim a Bond-related connection. It’s where series novelist Ian Fleming was born and raised.

The May Fair’s Bond package includes accommodations in a one or two-bedroom suite; airport pick up in a Jaguar XJL and a personal bartender to prepare in-suite martinis daily.

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Specialty martinis are the signature of the hotel’s May Fair Bar. Recently reopened after a refurbishment, the venue now features floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on Berkeley Street. A new kitchen offers breakfast, brunch and small plates throughout the day. That may come in handy for guests interested in testing Bond-like gaming skills. The hotel’s Palm Beach Casino (in the former Grand Art Deco Ballroom) is open 24 hours a day.

At the Draycott Hotel, the “Ultimate James Bond Experience” awaits guests this fall. The town house hotel occupies three restored Edwardian homes near Chelsea’s Sloane Square and Kensington.

A Bond Cocktail Hour features complimentary champagne. And an honesty bar is available for guests to concoct their own 007-inspired cocktails. Other services include a personal stylist who will guide guests through the nearby designer boutiques in Chelsea.

The Draycott Hotel has all the old-world elegance and charm synonymous with London in a central Chelsea location, yet with an unassuming exclusivity of surrounding private gardens that creates a home away from home or the perfect secret headquarters,” spokesperson Lucy Ballantyne tells Travel Agent.

Cafe Royal hotel Grill Room
Cafe Royal, Grill Room

Spy-like secrecy is often what VIP clients are looking for in a London hotel stay. A paparazzi-proof discreet entrance is one of the features that sets the Hotel Café Royal apart. The luxury hotel in the heart of the West End is built around the iconic Café Royal Grill Room. Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger, Liz Taylor and Princess Diana frequented the one-time legendary restaurant and meeting room over the years.

After a four-year, $400 million-dollar transformation, it reopened in 2012 as a 160-room hotel. New minimalist design elements are combined with original Belle-Époque features, such as gilt walls and an historic Regent Street entrance.

“The actual building itself is an absolute killer. There’s lots of shopping of course. You can walk back and forth to the theater. And if you haven’t seen what’s going on in Soho right now, you’re missing something tremendous,” general manager Anthony Lee tells Travel Agent.

Lee joined the hotel in 2014, after three decades at The Connaught Hotel, where he was general manager from 2000 to 2010. He also served as general manager of the Mayfair Hotel and a board director for the hotel’s owner, Edwardian Group London.

“It takes time to build up something iconic. Any hotel worldwide takes time to settle. We’re now ready,” said Lee.

In addition to a rotunda-topped Dome suite, private members club and holistic wellbeing center, the hotel features five bars. One of them, the Oscar Wilde Bar, is located in the former Grill Room. It features live cabaret on the weekends and an elaborate martini trolley.

James Bond himself would appreciate some of the hotel’s fine touches in the mixology department.

“The oxygen in ice makes it melt faster and dilutes the drink. That’s a problem. We buy de-oxygenized ice that melts slower. I actually had a barman who took a block of it to Kentucky. He won a bourbon competition in Kentucky. That’s what you call passion,” said Lee.

Lee promises some major news will come soon on the hotel’s food and beverage front. Published reports speculate that famed Spanish chef Ferran Adrià may be opening a restaurant there.

For now, Lee is keeping the news hidden behind a spy-like secrecy.

“I can only tell you it will be world news,” said Lee.

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