On the list of London hotels aiming to impress, it’s difficult to look past the moves at Hotel Café Royal. Stunning central location? Check. Architectural chops? Check. Roll call of famous patrons? (Churchill, Winston; Jagger, Mick; Wales, Diana Princess of) check, check, check.
But beyond the noise, beyond the Working Title movie-ness of it all, your abiding memory will be one based around how impressive it is as a hotel rather than an icon. The unique rooms and suites, the first rate restaurants and bars and the rooftop views. This is a hotel that doesn’t really want to rest on its reputation.
Of course you’re paying for a slice of history – the building itself dates back to the 1860s – and while there’s been a subtle renovation process, Hotel Café Royal still holds some original features tight.
With 160 smartly designed rooms, any bed to lay on will suit, but we advise opting for one of the 49 suites – and specifically one of the hotel’s seven signature suites. We won’t list them, but here are the highlights: the Club Suite pays homage to Napoleon, the ornate Empire Suite has probably the best view of Regent Street going (it’s also the biggest single suite in the house). The Royal Suite, combines golden-hued walls with Bang & Olufsen tech (not before time), and the Tudor Suite is an ode to all things Elizabethan. However, we’ll reserve our biggest push for the Dome Penthouse. Located in a Grade II listed section of the building, it’s basically a rock and roller hang-out. DJ sound system, LED projectors and two huge terraces from which you can profess a misguided – but nevertheless impressive – desire to rule the world from. Anybody who lives the suite life will have a butler on call and a London transfer up their sleeve, too.
But the icons are rarely far away, here. Least of all when you’re hungry. Grab a bite at Ziggy’s, honouring former regular David Bowie, or afternoon tea at the Oscar Wilde lounge. Aiming for something a little less formal? Head to Cake and Bubbles by Albert Adria for, well, you know. All bases covered with the glamour that comes as standard with the address.
But while you can easily get lost amongst it all, you should only stay inside for so long. London is waiting. You’re on Regent Street, but some sharp moves will have the shopping of Oxford Street dangerously at your mercy. Saville Row is a few minutes’ walk away and the members’ clubs of Mayfair lie there along with it.
As locations go it’s tough to beat – this is the heartbeat of the city. But don’t stray too far, there’s an argument to be made that, here, you can have way more fun indoors.