When it comes to luxury hotel groups, Belmond is one of the best in the world. With properties such as historic Mount Nelson in Cape Town, foodie paradise Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire and chic Villa San Michele in Florence among their hotels, it’s safe to say that Belmond knows one thing or two on style and substance.
The Cadogan is the small London residence of the group with a glorious past filled with gossip, located a stone’s throw from Sloane Square and Knightsbridge and, therefore, all the attractions of Chelsea and central London.
Over its 135-year history, the hotel has hosted many famous faces – and it was here that writer Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1885 after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry. Lillie Langtry, an actress, socialite and, most sensationally, the mistress of the future King Edward VII, was also often spotted enjoying the Cadogan’s hospitality.
Service is king at this 54-room hotel and the staff will do anything for their guests. For example, someone rushed to give my granddaughter a new soft toy from Harrods when she arrived, which she (well, I) quickly named Caddy after the hotel. Often in a crowded London hotel market, the personal touches really make a difference.
The super comfortable and warm rooms are all decorated with style and opulence, like the rest of the hotel. And you’ll eat like a king at their fabulous modern European restaurant, The LaLee. It’s also home to the hotel bar, which offers killerly delicious negronis – trust me!
Where is he?
Right in the beating heart of London luxury. The closest tube station to the hotel is Sloane Square, which is a three-minute cab ride or seven-minute walk. That of course means it’s close to the high-end and designer shops of King’s Road, as well as Chelsea’s many museums, theaters and art galleries. It’s a similar distance to Knightsbridge – home to some of London’s best and most expensive shopping, as well as Hyde Park.
It’s also, for a good distance, about a 45-minute drive from Heathrow Airport.
The style of the Cadogan is sympathetic to its heritage and therefore classic yet modern and glamorous. Set in a Queen Anne-style building, the hotel underwent a four-year, £40million refurbishment around three years ago with help from Blair Associates Architecture – the firm also carried out work on other historic hotels in London, the Ritz, the Savoy and the Goring. Throughout the work, great effort has been made to retain, enhance and restore period details such as mosaic floor patterns and 13-year-old woodwork. It is both welcoming and impressive.
Although there are only 54, at the Cadogan you are spoiled with different styles of rooms and beautiful suites to choose from for a variety of budgets. We were lucky enough to stay in a suite with amenities such as a king-size bed, a separate living room, and a gigantic marble bathroom with a separate tub and luxury bath products. It was big enough for two adults plus a little lady and all the necessities for traveling with a five month old.
If you have the cash to spend why not stay in the Royal Suite or Room 118. This is the room where Wilde was arrested – and it is the most prestigious accommodation in Cadogan costing around £7 £000 a night.
The hotel’s restaurant, The LaLee, pays homage to the fabulous life and travels of socialite Langtry, known for her fine tastes in sophisticated European cuisine. You will find some classics on the menu like steak tartare and Caesar salad, some of which are served with a touch of theatre. You can also order from LaLee’s to your room, with a limited menu available 24 hours a day.
Meanwhile, in the hotel’s Maison Lounge, Executive Chef Chris Hill and his team have created a spectacular afternoon tea inspired by the gardens of Cadogan Place opposite the hotel. It is served daily from 12pm to 6pm, from £60 per person.
The Cadogan’s location means it’s perfect for exploring the city – and the hotel’s experienced and highly connected concierge will help organize anything you wish to do outside the hotel grounds. If you want some me time, visitors can get away from it all at the spa with Elemental Herbology products and treatments.
If the outdoors is more your thing, then you might want to explore Cadogan Gardens, with ornamental plantings and expansive lawns that have remained relatively unchanged since its inception in 1886. You can order a picnic and staff will install mats and outdoor games. There are even tennis courts, if you’re feeling up for a game.
Besides its hotel, Belmond is also known for its luxury railroad adventures. Departing from London Victoria Station, which is perhaps a 20-minute walk or 10-minute drive, UK Pullman trains depart for day-long food tours across the UK or, if you want to go further, why not hop on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and embark on one of the most famous rail journeys in the world.
Rooms start from £490 per room per night for bed and breakfast; belmond.com