The Luxury London Address Frequented By Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor And Princess Diana

Words by Savanna Smith

5 min read

In the heart of London, yet simultaneously worlds away from the hustle and bustle, you’ll find a celebrity-loved haven straight out of the Golden Age

Hotel Café Royal appears to have a peculiar name for the uninitiated. Delve a little deeper, though, and you’ll uncover a century of culture, history and celebrity shenanigans. With humble beginnings as a café-restaurant in 1865, Hotel Café Royal has lived many lives (and, if the walls could talk, there would surely be a scandal or two). Founded as a Parisian-style eatery, it quickly adopted the moniker of ‘London’s living room’ as it morphed into Oscar Wilde’s stomping grounds; a haven for writers and artists; a rendezvous for Royals and decision-makers; the go-to London address for Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor, David Bowie and Mick Jagger; and now one of London’s most luxurious stays.

The lobby boasts an incredible Murano glass chandelier

Nestled between the glamour of Mayfair, history of St. James’ and electricity of Soho, Hotel Café Royal is every traveller’s dream, as the best of London is on the property’s doorstep; theatres, museums, restaurants, Hyde Park and luxury boutiques galore are mere moments away. Through discreet revolving doors on Regent Street, guests are greeted by a vast lobby with a spectacular 350-kilogram chandelier of cascading Murano glass taking pride of place. The property’s gilded opulence is not only fitting for its luxurious postcode, but honours its storied history. You would be forgiven for making assumptions about the rooms of the Grade II listed hotel due to grand staircases with intricate ironwork, mosaicked floors and frescoed ceilings, however the elevator’s art deco doors open to a world of surprises.

Grade II listed features include ornate staircases and elevators

Japandi-esque interiors offer a thrilling juxtaposition to the floors below. Think: angles, seamless lines and a masterclass in contemporary minimalism. The work of famed British architect David Chipperfield, the ultra-modern approach flows through each of Hotel Café Royal’s 154 rooms and suites. Decked-out in subtle shades, ashlar blocks and splashes of millennial hues, rooms are contemporary, but never cold.

Delightfully different from Hotel Café Royal’s entranceway, the rooms are modern, playful and flooded with natural light

And while abundant in stellar amenities and high-tech features, the real showstoppers are the bathrooms. Hear us out. They are positively drenched in Carrara marble (we are informed Hotel Café Royal is the heaviest hotel in London) and are as baffling as they are breathtaking – plus, the bathtubs are so large that we are frankly appalled that the hotel doesn’t hold a world record.

Bathrooms are covered wall-to-wall in Carrara marble

In addition to its impressive rooms and suites, the hotel also offers a selection of signature suites. The Tudor Suite for instance is adorned in oak-panelled walls and centres around a roaring fireplace, while the Royal Suite embodies extravagance. London frequenter? Book a stay at the Dome Penthouse for a unique view of the city’s landmarks courtesy of a sprawling terrace (best enjoyed with bubbles in hand).

The Dome Penthouse has a private terrace that is perfect for an aperitif

While butlers are on-hand to secure reservations at London’s renowned restaurants, the property’s offerings make straying unnecessary. One of the culinary delights is Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal. A two Michelin-starred restaurant serving modern French cuisine, the venue is Alex Dilling’s first self-titled venture. Every dish is exceptional in both flavour and presentation and is served as part of either a three-course or eight-course set menu. Continuing to rack-up the hotel’s Michelin stars is Albert Adrià. Regarded as the world’s best pastry chef, Adrià’s Cakes & Bubbles offers a parade of mind-boggling desserts. The best part of all is that explaining them here would be doing the desserts a disservice as, quite delightfully, nothing is as it seems. We offer one example: sponge cake ‘corks’ which serve as a nod to both the restaurant’s partnership with Veuve Cliquot and the hotel’s grape cellar that was once regarded to be the finest in the world.

Indulge in an array of decadence at Cakes & Bubbles

Hotel Café Royal’s most famous restaurant is The Grill Room. This was the dining room of choice for Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger, Princess Diana and David Bowie, the latter of whom retired his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego with a spectacular soirée here. The Grade II listed room is wonderfully whimsical and over-the-top with rococo furnishings, gilded ceilings and mirrored walls illuminated by intricate sconces. Immerse yourself in history and settle in for an award-winning afternoon tea in the same room that Oscar Wilde conjured his greatest works.

Where Oscar Wilde retreated for inspiration, The Grill Room now serves as the afternoon tea location of dreams

The Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre is situated in a section of the property once occupied by the County Fire Office. The award-winning spa counts an 18-metre lap pool, hammam, sauna and nine treatment rooms among its offerings and is a haven for tired travellers or those that have well and truly shopped ‘til they dropped.

Get some much-needed R&R at The Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre

An amalgamation of grandeur, elegance and modernity, Hotel Café Royal is a bonafide monument. And, if any doubt about its luxuriousness persists, seek validation from the words of its famous patron, Oscar Wilde: “I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” Book now

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