by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor from The Telegraph, February 6, 2019
There’s nothing new about a luxury hotel saying it wants to make its guests feel entirely at home, but when the Belmond Cadogan hotel opens in London at the end of this month that claim will actually carry meaning - and a unique benefit.
Dating from 1887 and comprised of five conjoined townhouses that at one stage or another served as the home of socialite Lillie Langtry and the Cadogan Hotel (a favoured haunt of Oscar Wilde), the property is owned by the Cadogan Estate and for the duration of their stay guests will be classified as Cadogan Estate residents.
That means they’ll enjoy some of the same benefits extended to occupants of the exorbitantly priced private homes that encircle them. In particular, they will be given the keys to the private Cadogan Place gardens, one of Chelsea’s largest garden squares and formerly the site of the 18th-century London Botanic Gardens.
Belmond will no doubt make creative use of the resource, likely facilitating picnics and afternoon teas. Should we experience another heatwave this summer, I’ll be expecting a press release to say the team will be mixing jugs of Pimm’s and providing punnets of strawberries for their guests to lazily imbibe on the grass.
There are big plans for the hotel itself, too. Although Belmond - known for The Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace hotel in Rio and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train - is headquartered in London, this is the brand’s first hotel in the capital.
The team is now nearing the end of a multi-year, $48 million (£39 million) renovation of the building; the new Belmond Cadogan is due to open its doors on February 28.
The restaurant should be one of its biggest draws. The eponymous chef behind Adam Handling, Chelsea, is already well known in London for his Frog restaurants in Covent Garden and Hackney.
This venture on the cusp of Knightsbridge, with its expansive open kitchen that guests must walk past in order to reach their table, will offer a ‘Best of British’ menu that, claims Belmond, “takes its inspiration from the building’s illustrious cultural history”.
What that means in practice is yet to be revealed, but at last night’s preview event hotel manager Klaus Kabelitz was careful to point out that the potato croquettes we were being served were “snacks, not canapés. We’re British”.
Handling will also devise an afternoon tea to be served in an adjacent tea lounge and bar - cakes, cookies and chocolates will all be prepared in the in-house bakery. The hotel’s bar, with its entrance on the corner of Sloane Street and Pont Street, will serve classic fuss-free cocktails. Bottled cocktails will also be stocked in each bedroom’s minibar.
As for those rooms and suites, there are 54 in total. Some will feature gold-leaf wall sconces, wooden panelling is generously deployed, bathtubs are capped with reading stands which, handily, include a drinks holder precisely the right size for the hotel’s wine glasses.
Art, too, is everywhere. There are over 400 words on show throughout the property, many of them specially commissioned and the majority by British artists. The few forthcoming staff uniforms I saw too deserve a nod. They’re inspired by 1960s London and the legacy of Kings Road.
Expect strong check prints (a nod to Mary Quant), doormen in bright red overcoats and housekeeping staff in botanical prints - another allusion to the pretty private garden that will remain at residents’ disposal just across the road.
Rooms at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel start from £470, B&B.
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This article was written by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]