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LUXURY HOTELS: THE LANESBOROUGH, LONDON, UK
Style: Unrepentant regency
Scene: Heart of London
Seen in the Lobby:  Bowler hatted doormen
I AM reclining on the satin sofa in a boudoir draped with emerald green silk like a sheik’s tent.  I am awaiting my lover, Viscount X, a dashing regency rake.
Ok, actually none of this is true. Not even the silk drapes are real, they are in fact a Trop d’Oeil painted on the ceiling of the vestibule in The Lanesborough hotel London. However the air of romance is very real indeed. The Lanesborough was renovated in ornate and opulent style last year  after it became part of the classy Oetker Collection and is now, without doubt, the best hotel in London for a lovers’ liaison. 

Lanesborough London Royal Suite
Lanesborough London Royal Suite
lanesborough library
lanesborough 3
lanesborugh Celeste
lanesborugh boudoir
lanesborugh suite

It’s not just the wonderful absinthe green boudoir that makes this hotel perfect for passionate encounters, it is the canopied beds, the glittering gold leaf, the fabulous chandeliers and the very French and very fabulous restaurant, Celeste.

The hotel itself is a touch coquettish these days with a new set of clothes that has transformed this Grand Dame into a somewhat showier Madame - think Becky Sharpe in Vanity Fair (the book, not the magazine).  And she flourishes under this new finery.

As well she might because a rumoured £80 million was spent on making the lady look this good.  The new design was spearheaded by the late Alberto Pinto and executed after his death in 2012 by his team and sister, Linda. The brief was to keep the previous regency theme but to lighten and brighten the hotel. And there has been no expense spared in the ornamentation the gleaming gold leaf, the wooden panels and the reproduction oils. 

This is a hotel that is unrepentantly faux-regency with all the frills that entails. Modernists and minimalists walk on by, do not stop.  The rest of you check in, lap it up and enjoy.

Not everything is showy however there are some discreet highlights: a modestly displayed collection of original 18th-century artworks (including three by Joshua Reynolds) for example and some wonderfully intricate wood inlay and delicate stencilling work.  If you look carefully there are also touches of humour too, in the cut out birds perched on the mirrors in the restaurant and the leopard print carpet in the private dining room; proving the designers were having a little fun with the theme.

Outside night is settling on the city like a velvet cloak.  Black taxis and red buses are carrying passengers around Hyde Park corner and home, so it is time to head to the justly famous Library Bar, which is as wood-panelled and cosy as ever. If you want to make your cocktail hour more of an occasion then order The Corner Martini.  The bar staff will pour then from a great height from a crystal jug and then spray essence of lemon into the air above your drink  so that  it infuses your cocktail.  It’s rather like being serve mint tea in the same pouring style in Morocco, only sooo much more alcoholic. 
The stage is already set for seduction - and that’s before you’ve even headed in to eat.

The best hotel in London for a romantic liaison

There is nowhere more suited to a dinner a deux than the main restaurant, Céleste, which has to be one of the most spectacular dining rooms in London.  A glass-domed roof lets in the city sky, chandeliers have a diamond sparkle and lovers are reflected in the myriad of gold-frame mirrors which grace the power-blue walls. It is all a bit like sitting in a giant piece of Wedgewood china, except that the food despite British ingredients (venison and hare for example) nevertheless has a decidedly French flair. The menu comes from Florian Favario protégé of Eric Frechon, late of three-Michelin-starred Epicure at Le Bristol, The Lanesborough's sister property in Paris, also part of the Oetker Collection of hotels.

After dinner gentlemen - and ladies - can retire to the cigar bar which has an outdoor courtyard with leather seats and some of the finest and rarest cigars in the world on offer.  Of those if we’re talking romance couples may be prefer to head back to their rooms. 

Every one of the 93 rooms and suites at the hotel has been individually styled to suit the shape of the rooms in this historic building and little touches such as vases of rose and magazines make them all special. The grandest romantic gesture might be is to book the impressive Royal Suite, which at £26,000 a night, is said to be the most expensive in London. However I’d rather be wooed in one of the beautiful Junior Suites; some with wonderfully draped beds, others with polished panelling - all of them perfect for a lovers encounter.

General Manger Geoffrey Gelardi has been at the helm since 1991 and he was the first to introduce butler service and now butlers are provided for every room, not just suites. The Lanesborough remains the only hotel in London with 24 hour butler service, so you can order champagne at any time and have someone to pour it for you. 

If you do want to leave your suite the hotel is perfectly placed for a little serious shopping Mayfair and Knightsbridge are both 5 minutes away on either side. 
Or you could simple stroll hand in hand through Hyde Park which is, quite literally, just across the road. 

Check in: The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, and London SW1
Ultimate Luxury: The Royal Suite with its gold leaf and ornate furnishings
Most Indulgent Moment: Afternoon tea – cakes and champagne
Insider Secrets: The beautiful glassware and the china were special commissioned for the hotel and were there before the renovation
The Little Things: Fresh roses are matched to colour scheme of your room
Junior Luxies: Not specifically catered for … we did say’ romance’ didn’t we?
Dress code: Classic, you don’t want to compete with the decor
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Hotels Link: www.oetkercollection.com ,  www.lanesborough.com
 Hilary Doling 10/2/16
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