Big news from London this past week: The Oetker Collection is advancing into the United Kingdom for the first time to manage the historic Lanesborough Hotel.
The 93-room Lanesborough overlooks Hyde Park Corner near Buckingham Palace and has been closed since the end of 2013 for complete renovation. Under Oetker Collection management, the property will re-open as a "masterpiece hotel" in spring 2015. (No specific date has been announced.) Managing Director Geoffrey Gelardi, who began his role in 1990, will continue to run the hotel on a daily basis.
What to expect: Guests can spend three meals per day at Apsleys (four, if they include the Lanesborough Afternoon Tea). Next to Apsleys, the Withdrawing Room and the Library bar house the "Liquid History," a collection of vintage cognacs, some of which are reportedly more than 200 years old.
Tucked away at the rear of the hotel, guests can unwind in the Garden Room, the first cigar terrace in Knightsbridge. Good to know: For special functions, The Lanesborough has seven individually designed private dining rooms, the largest accommodating 180 guests for a reception.
The Lanesborough will serve as a sister hotel to Le Bristol Paris on the other side of the Channel. Le Bristol also emerged several years ago from its own renovation, but never closed while construction was underway. (In fact, the hotel has never closed since its debut 90 years ago, even during World War II.)
Le Bristol is also a notable destination for foodies, as it is reportedly the only hotel in France with four Michelin stars: Head Chef Eric Frechon, who oversees all of the hotel's dining options, earned three stars for the hotel's main restaurant Epicure, and collaborates with chef Jean-Charles Cauquil, whose 114 Faubourg has one star. (Good to know: Gourmands can watch Frecon at work in the restaurant five days per week.)
The Oetker Collection owns and manages eight hotels worldwide, in addition to The Lanesborough – Le Bristol Paris, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa, Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Eden Rock - St. Barths, Fregate Island Private, Palais Namaskar, and L'Apogee Courchevel. Villa Stephanie at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa will open in January 2015.