Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

The Lanesborough

United Kingdom

Fabulously traditional, offering a superior London service that is second to none

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The Lanesborough
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The Lanesborough


Hyde Park Corner, SW1

Travel Information

London City airport - 30 mins London Heathrow - 40 mins London Gatwick - 1 hour 10 Nearest Tube - Hyde Park Corner

Top Tips

Take a quick walk to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guards

5-Star X-Factors

Views of Hyde Park and Wellington Arch Céleste - a hidden Michelin star in London's gourmet scene

The Lanesborough is the real 5-star deal

It's easy to understand why many discerning travellers remain faithful to The Lanesborough, now part of the  Oetker Collection (new review coming soon). It is classically traditional and while the luxuries are sensational, it adheres to refined British sensibilities. When in London, many luxe-trotters want the real deal and The Lanesborough delivers. Occupying a prime location on a corner of Hyde Park, the views are nothing short of spectacular and Wellington's Arch (Constitution Arch), which was originally the grand entrance into London, will fill you with British pride.

In addition to the arch, there is the Monument to the Cavalry of the Empire, a statue of Byron, the Royal Artillery Memorial, and an Australian and New Zealand War Memorial. To the north of the roundabout sits the grandest house in London, Apsley House, which was the home of the first Duke of Wellington. Not only is the hotel surrounded by a catalogue of cultural and historical achievements but it is also only a short seven-minute stroll to Harrods and Harvey Nichols, situated in the shopping nirvana of Knightsbridge, as well as a ten-minute walk into Mayfair Central.

For lovers of the outdoors, Hyde Park brags one of the finest landscapes in England with over 350 acres of meadows, a meandering lake, thousands of magnificent trees and horseback riding. Really, this location has it all.

Grand entrance

The service at The Lanesborough is second to none. I knew it had a reputation for making guests feel über-special and that the butler service was one to be revered by all other like-minded hotels, but I never expected it all to be true. It exceeded expectations. My sister and I are familiar with 5-star accoutrements and dislike the obsequious manner that often mars attentive service. Here they manage to do everything for you with the utmost respect for your 'personal space'. It's just done no intrusive questions and fussing about.

Many of our prerequisite desires were covered prior to arrival i.e. food allergies, pillow choice, dinner times, theatre choices, spa treatments and so forth. However, when we were taken to our richly-decorated Buckingham Suite, it was rather difficult to know what more we could possibly ask for.

While we ogled the fine Regency antique furniture and golden silk fabrics within our becoming wood-panelled sitting room, the platinum service from our polished butler had only just begun. After sorting out the bags and selecting a dress for the press (I packed in a hurry), he dropped down the side of our Georgian drinks bureau to reveal a row of aged spirits with silver breast plates in crystal decanters. He then pointed us to the deliciously chilled bottle of Verve Clicquot, beside the scarlet roses and cornucopia of late summer fruit that cascaded alongside the silver platter of lightly dusted homespun chocolates truffles.

The 21st century was miraculously hidden beneath flawless surfaces and revealed instantly at the press of a button, while all the usual and, for me, unique additional services (including the 24-hour butler service) were on tap and complimentary. These included, extraordinarily so, landline calls to the USA and EU countries, WiFi, personalised stationery and business cards, mobile phones for use throughout the hotel, an extensive film library, and so much more.

Champagne and canapés

Before our butler left he asked what time we would like our Champagne served. Looking across to the arch and Hyde Park, with a filtered autumnal sun shedding its mellow haze across this awesome luxe-city landscape, we suggested the golden moment of 5.30pm. Bang on time, our fastidious butler arrived with yet another silver platter offering an array of spectacular canapés, from foie gras to smoked salmon to rare beef (how were we going to fit in our designated dinner)? Once he had filled our golden-rimmed flutes and talked us through the delectable morsels, he was gone. Outstanding service.

A few minutes into our vintage champagne and the doorbell sounded. My delighted niece arrived hungry and bursting with fresh engagement excitement. This is a fabulous venue in which to celebrate, either in-suite or in one of the many glorious public spaces such as the Withdrawing Room and Library Bar or, for larger events, in one of the glamorous private banqueting rooms.

Our oval mahogany dining table with Regency chairs seats six comfortably, while the entire room accommodates at least eight for cocktails. We were totally spoilt being only three. The Lanesborough is also extremely sensitive to guest's privacy requirements; discretion here is paramount. What's more, for a hotel of fair stature with 95 rooms and suites, there is a remarkably intimate aura about the place. I suspect this is due to its world-renowned exclusivity, a bespoke blend that renders it a 'one off' private, elegant, residential 'home' in the finest part of London.

Suite luxury

For many, our luxury suite would be a desirable and mostly unobtainable London apartment, minus a kitchen. The bathroom has twin vanities, encased in off-white Carrera marble with mahogany surrounds, enhancing lighting and mist-free mirrors, plus a large mahogany encased spa bath and a vast walk in shower.

The boudoir in butterscotch and deep plum had a bed that I will yearn for forever more. It is a 'benchmark' for beds and I would recommend a sleep here for both luxe-trotters and hoteliers alike. The only other bed that has come close was in Switzerland. Not being a techno-buff, I find myself playing around with the complicated media/lighting mechanisms housed in many a high-tech hotel suite; but here, in a sliding shelf beside your bed, is a fool proof and quite genuinely masterminded gizmo: pictures with buttons that won 11/10.

The following morning we were served the full English with shafts of light streaming through our glorious Regency period windows revealing a proud and majestic Wellington Arch. Feeling almost completely spoilt I had just one more indulgence to endure a La Prairie facial in the Spa Studio downstairs. After an expert pair of hands primed, prepped and preened my face in no less than 11 restorative and hydrating products, I glowed for several days. This was perhaps the best facial I have had in London but then you'd expect nothing but the finest from The Lanesborough.

Our updated review will feature our stunning 5-course tasting menu in Michelin-starred Céleste - a hidden gem in London's fine dining scene.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer