In keeping with its history as a cafe and restaurant, the luxury hotel that London's Cafe Royal has become makes sure to keep a selection of bars and restaurants. A stay here will make sure that you won't go home disappointed . . . or hungry.
There's a tea room that offers all-day British informal dining. The bar serves cocktails to help you unwind after a day spent shopping up and down Regent Street, cool Soho and classy Mayfair.
In the grill room, things step up a little and celebrate the Louis XVI decor. Reservations are advised, and guests are asked to dress up in a sophisticated and "celebrative" manner to sample the British-inspired dishes. Lastly, a cafe on Regent Street offers up the European cafe culture of many of the hotel's guests - it's open to guests and passersby.
Glamour and swanky elegance at Cafe Royal — Photo courtesy of Ewan-M
In the hotel, David Chipperfield architects designed the revamp, as you snake up past the beautifully ornate cast iron and gilt staircases. To keep the history from the 1860s and the 1920s embedded in the building, they even employed some specialist historic architects from David Insall Associates to make sure attention to detail was maintained.
Stone, copper, iron and guilt keep everything both historic and contemporary. Originally, the building was created by a French couple in the 1860s who brought that continental spirit to the heart of London. The hotel with its 160 rooms and five historic suites maintains that feeling of sophistication and edge today.
At its height, the cafe was frequented by the likes of Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Later in the 20th century, Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, Noel Coward, Graham Greene and D.H. Lawrence could be seen dining there or wandering through the hallways. And it wasn't just literary flames. Edward and Mrs. Simpson, the Duke of York who became King George VI and even Princess Diana of Wales would dine there.
The public spaces of the hotel are historic, in keeping with the building, but as you move into the guest rooms, a more contemporary style is introduced. Think parquet floors, Portland stone, fumed oak panels and bathrooms cut out of beautiful Italian Carrara marble.
Frette bedlinen graces the beds, and well-stocked butler's pantries complete the feeling of luxury on offer. Bathroom products come from the British company Floris, and once you've finished using them, you can wrap yourself in fluffy "oversized towels" and bathrobes and pad across the floors heated from below, to watch your mirror TV screen or listen to your choice of music on the Bang and Olufsen stereo system.
A daily newspaper and complimentary high-speed Internet come as standard, and there are 24-hour laundry services and personal butler services on offer, too.