London is filled with an overwhelming array of hotels. When planning a visit, where do you even begin to look? Foodies visiting the English capital will want to take note of the following hotels, which combine comfort, luxury, and show-stopping style with some of the city’s finest gourmet cuisine.
The Dorchester is in a class of its own. One of the best hotels in all of Europe, this five-star hotel in the heart of London’s Mayfair district overlooks Hyde Park, and is the perfect destination for an extra special occasion, or just an ultra luxury retreat.
From the minute you step into the hotel, with its splendid marble promenade, you’ll be charmed. Opulent banquet rooms, mirrored halls, spiral staircases with elongated chandeliers, chic rooms outfitted in stylish chinoiserie, and elegant, sumptuous suites all await you at the Dorchester. Each floor is decorated in varying color themes, leading to 196 individual rooms and 53 suites. Perhaps the most beautiful of all is the Dorchester Suite, a large apartment-sized suite overlooking Hyde Park with multiple lavishly appointed rooms—including a stunning marble bathroom, a roomy dining room, an elegant bedroom with an ornate canopy bed, and a fairytale living room—all adorned with plush curtains, designer furniture, original oil paintings, and regal views.
The Dorchester is filled with dining options, two standouts being The Grill and The Promenade. The Grill is decorated in red and green plaid—an homage to the Scottish ancestry of the Dorchester’s original owners—with a huge vase brimming with 200 red roses, placed in the center of the dining room. Here, cooked pigeon carries with it the aromatic scent of oak and pine straight from the oven, and drinks are extra fancy. Take the “Queen’s Jubilee”—a fruity cocktail served in a stemware-teacup hybrid with an equally fancy accompanying tea pot.
The Promenade, with its rich silk draperies and gold frame mirrors, serves a full English breakfast and is the perfect spot for Afternoon Tea. Awarded “Top Tea Place in London” three times by the British Tea Council, there are multiple fancy tea services to choose from, featuring over 20 varieties of tea. With a dedicated tea-time chef and a team of 15 pastry chefs, the resulting scones, petit-fours, quiches, chocolates, and pastries are nothing short of spectacular, including treats like white chocolate and praline pyramids, fruity macaroons, pineapple financiers on coconut mousse, fresh berry crumble tarts, and exquisite chocolate creations.
The Dorchester will spoil you and leave you wanting more. Over the years it’s played host to countless royalty, political leaders, and celebrities, and it’s not hard to see why everyone keeps returning for more.
Dorset Square Hotel
If you’re seeking a hotel with a perfect blend of British chic and classic elegance without a hint of stuffiness, look no further than Dorset Square. This regency townhouse hotel situated in Marylebone, combines the comfort of a modern manor home with a summery garden theme accented by original art collected from around the world.
A color palate of light fabrics dominate, with lots of white and muted colors accented by bright splashes of color and floral patterns. The drawing room, with its cozy fireplace, has the feel of a comfortable living room. The staircases are adorned with garden-inspired wallpaper featuring various illustrated plants. Dorset Square Garden, located across from the hotel, was the original site of Thomas Lord’s first cricket ground. In homage, a cricket theme is carried throughout everything from the hotel logo to the cricket bats mounted on the walls. The 38 individually designed bedrooms are comfortable and modern, with high ceilings and decor that celebrates floral fabrics.
The downstairs Potting Shed bar & restaurant is open all day for breakfast as well as meals and afternoon tea. An airy glass ceiling fills the restaurant with natural light and the playful interior design lends an elegant style. Afternoon tea here is particularly lovely, with tea served in beautiful floral dish-ware. Starting at £19.50 per person, you get scones with homemade jam and clotted cream accompanied by sweets like lemon tarts, carrot cake, and chocolate fruit-infused brownies. The finger sandwiches are creative as well, featuring tiger prawns, rare roast beef with horseradish crème fraiche, smoked trout with cucumber and lemon, and my personal favorite: truffled egg and cress.
10 Manchester Street Hotel
Ten Manchester Street is located off a quiet street in the Marylebone district of London. Great bargains are hard to come by in London, but up-and-coming 10 Manchester Street Hotel has clean, stylish rooms for a reasonable price in a trendy part of London that is close to all the sights. Best of all, the hotel’s restaurant is truly one of London’s hidden gems.
The decor is classic business contemporary, with lots of glass design accents and a neutral color palate. Rooms feature sleek bathrooms with modern elements like egg-shaped bathtubs and glass enclosed showers.
The hotel’s restaurant, Dieci (literally 10 in Italian), is adjacent to the lobby and overlooks Manchester street. It’s a hidden gem with an unexpectedly fantastic menu. Chef Christian Gamarri from Cremona, Italy cooks up mouthwatering Italian and mediterranean dishes that will knock your socks off. When you dine here, you must—and I mean MUST—try “Andria’s Burrata,” which comes on a bed of smoked eggplant with a slight hint of grilled chiles that give the dish an unexpected kick. It’s all topped with a mini Bloody Mary cocktail. Another great starter is the “grilled Spanish chorizo,” served on a bed of arugula and toasted bread, topped with red pepper foam accompanied by soft goat cheese sprinkled with poppy seeds.
Standout main courses include the “black ink risotto with Dover scallops and Scottish rock oysters.” This dish comes on a white plate smeared with a bold, black stroke of seafood ink, upon which scallops have been plopped. A pile of black ink risotto accompanies a single oyster. Another tantalizing dish is the light and fresh “Dover sole, with citrus sauce and sweet potato mash.”
For dessert, be sure to try one of the homemade ice creams or sorbets, which come in mouthwatering flavors like lemon, coconut, and peach & champagne. Another specialty are the “spiced plum fritters” topped with honey dressing and accompanied by lemon sorbet.
Whether you visit Ten Manchester Street for an overnight stay or just for dinner, you’re in for a treat.
St. James’s Hotel and Club London
Mayfair District, near Piccadilly and West End
The St. James’s Hotel and Club is located in the heart of London, minutes from Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, and the West End theater district. This 60-room grand old hotel sits right on Park Place—which just ups the swank factor—in a historic red building with white trim flying the Union Jack. The St. James’s Hotel and Club has been host to a long list of famous figures, including the likes of Winston Churchill, and Ian Fleming (the creator of the James Bond series), as well as celebrities like Sean Connery, Liza Minnelli, Cher, Keith Richards, Tom Selleck, and Elton John.
Inside, the hotel is modern and sleek with a color palette of chocolates mixed with black and gold accents highlighted by colorful oil paintings adorning the walls. Guest rooms are outfitted in golds, from lush gold fabrics, silk blankets, and pillows to Murano glass chandeliers with gold lamps. Completely redesigned in 2006, the interior design now incorporates the hotel’s prestigious gentleman’s club history with the stylish trappings of an upscale townhouse hotel.
The St. James’s Hotel is a perfect place to take afternoon tea. In William’s Bar and Bistro, afternoon tea is served with all the trimmings: finger sandwiches, homemade scones served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, plus plates filled with petite, tempting pastries. Starting at £19.00 per person, all these treats are made by Michelin star chef William Drabble. In addition, the hotel also offers a gluten-free afternoon tea that includes gluten-free bread and scones, plus sweets like raspberry macaroons, almond and chocolate cake, lemon drizzle cake, and chocolate mousse cake.
Whether you pop in for afternoon tea, a meal, or for the entire night, none of these hotels will disappoint when it comes to eating and sleeping in style in one of the most exciting cities on earth.