“It’s nice to have some continuity you can come back to. I feel that incoming home, coming back to London.”
For any weary traveler, coming home to familiar comforts is a balm for the soul. The Lanesborough, an elegant five-star residential hotel in Knightsbridge, prides itself on being that elegant home away from home that is sure to deliver continuous excellence in unparalleled service, unmatched prestige, and inimitable style in a manner befitting a person of taste and refinement.
The history of the original Lanesborough House begins almost 300 years ago, in 1733. That year, St. George’s hospital was opened in the House, but early in the 19th century, the original building had to be torn down due to disrepair. Construction on a new hospital was began in 1827, under the supervision of famed architect William Wilkins, and by 1844, the site was home to a new, fully operational hospital. The House served in this capacity continuously, until the mid-1970s, but by 1980, the premises on Hyde Park Corner were vacant.
Rosewood Hotels and Resorts immediately began an extensive renovation project, cutting no corners and sparing no expense. The restoration project was supervised by the Royal Fine Arts Commission, and jointly overseen by three different preservation societies; the Georgian, the Victorian, and the English Heritage, and eventually cost 100 million pounds.
The Lanesborough opened as a five-star luxury residential hotel in 1991. Currently, the hotel is operated by Starwood’s St. Regis, and the Lanesborough is its only hotel in England.
The Iconic Look of the Lanesborough
Special care was taken to ensure historical accuracy. The chandeliers and the fabrics for draperies and upholstery are directly copied from early 19th century museum pieces. Historical archives and prints from the time period were consulted for adherence.
The magnificent results speak for themselves and reflect the art and architecture of the Greek Regency Era, the 19th century time period of the original reconstruction. The exterior is done in a neoclassical design, in a style inspired by the Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus, which is part of the Acropolis and showcasing beautiful columns and friezes.
The grounds overlook Hyde Park, and guests can marvel at a true English tradition as the Royal Horse Guards pass by daily.
Because of its aspirations to welcome guests as if they have been received at the country home of an old friend, each of the 50 guest rooms and 43 suites at the Lanesborough is designed to be different from every other, and therefore unique unto itself. Authentic art and meticulously reproduced furnishings and decorations are inspired by the Greek Regency era of the 1820s, yet the utmost in 21st century technology designed for comfort, convenience, and entertainment is also unobtrusively provided.
Depending on each guest’s needs, eleven separate classes of accommodations are offered, from the Deluxe Queen guest room to the world-famous Lanesborough Suite.
The Lanesborough Suite
Albert Pinto, the world renowned interior designer, created the Lanesborough Suite to be one of the most magnificent luxury hotel suites in both London and the world. The culmination of this vision resulted in a sumptuous appointment that is the very epitome of grandeur and opulence, and is a suite at the truly fit for a King.
This suite offers its inhabitants a magnificent view of both Wellington Arch and Green Park, framed by majestic ceiling-to-floor windows that have been triple glazed to ensure comfort and privacy.
As the largest of the Lanesborough’s accommodations, this suite provides its inhabitants with more elegantly appointed living space than any other room or suite at the hotel. Over 4000 square feet was allocated for the Lanesborough Suite, which can boast of five and a half bathrooms, four bedrooms, two living areas, a dining area, and a kitchen complete with convenient modern appliances.
As a special amenity, inhabitants of the Lanesborough Suite may avail themselves of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, driven by a professional uniformed chauffeur.
Although the hotel offers all the standard amenities one could expect from a five-star residential luxury hotel, the Lanesborough is proud to be the only hotel in London to provide all guests with their own private butler, available to assist them at any time of day or night. As highly-trained paragons of professionalism, each butler can assist with personal tasks such as the unpacking and pressing of clothes upon arrival, arranging social activities, the drawings of baths, and much more, always with a smile and always with complete discretion.
Guests receive a welcome gift of fine chocolates upon arrival, and fresh fruit, bottled mineral water, and a variety of sweets are hand-delivered to each guest’s room several times during the day.
Dining at the Lanesborough
The premier restaurant at the Lanesborough is Apsley’s, which holds the distinction of having the fastest-awarded Michelin star ever given to a London restaurant. Overseen by three-star chef Heinz Beck and his hand-picked staff, Apsley’s offers the very finest culinary creations featuring light Mediterranean fare inspired by and showcasing the Venetian region of Italy.
Apsley’s interior decor is highlighted by its brilliant glass ceiling, the talked-about centerpiece of what many call the most beautiful eating establishment in London. Guests may also dine in comfort and splendor at any of the Lanesborough’s six beautifully decorated dining rooms.
The Library Bar and the Garden Room
Whether it is for an aperitif or to round out a sumptuous meal, this iconic Lanesborough establishment offers a wide assortment of fine wines and spirits to its guests. Decorated in style reminiscent of classic private English gentleman’s clubs, replete with dark, smoky wooden fixtures and richly upholstered leather furniture, the Library Bar offers an incredible “liquid history” featuring fine spirits and aged cognacs going back almost 300 years.
After cocktails, patrons so inclined can retire to the Garden Room to enjoy the finest cigars available from Cuba and other locations across the globe.
High Tea at the Lanesborough
No stay at the Lanesborough would be complete without experiencing that most British of traditions, Afternoon Tea. Guests in attendance may avail themselves of the services and advice of London’s only tea sommelier, who can offer education and advice as to the relative merits of a vast array of premium teas.
At once calling to mind both the most opulent and steeped-in-tradition private English clubs and the warmth, comfort, and a deep sense of well-being that is usually only found at the home of a beloved old friend, the Lanesborough in London has rapidly become the luxury hotel of choice for heads of state, royalty, dignitaries, celebrities of stage and screen, and other luminaries, comprising the very upper crust of society.