Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Metropolitan by COMO

United Kingdom

A fresh, contemporary 5 star hotel on exclusive Park Lane, with a peaceful ambiance and cosseting service

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Metropolitan by COMO

Location

Old Park Lane, London, W1

Travel Information

London City airport - 35 mins
London Heathrow - 40 mins
London Gatwick - 1 hour 10
Nearest Tube - Hyde Park Corner

Top Tips

Don't miss out on dinner at Nobu or a cocktail at the super cool Met Bar

5-Star X-Factors

The fabulous suites with panoramic views of Hyde Park and beyond

MORE REVIEWS OF
THIS PROPERTY

A suite with a view
Child's play at the Met
No place like Nobu

MORE REVIEWS OF
THIS PROPERTY

A suite with a view
Child's play at the Met
No place like Nobu

A suite with a view

Our corner suite at The Metropolitan by Como offered the luxury of space and the most astonishing views of Hyde Park. Almost every kind of pursuit takes place within its 625 acres: jogging, horse-riding, roller blading, swimming, boating, tennis, cycling, cricket and football and, of course, leisurely strolls. At Christmas, it hosts Winter Wonderland, which electrifies the view.

Hyde Park is a fascinating world hosting a number of famous attractions: the renowned Speaker's Corner, the romantic Serpentine Lake, Lido and the Serpentine Gallery and, further towards Kensington Gardens, the Albert Memorial (opposite the Albert Hall) and the Diana Memorial Playground. All sides are steeped in royalty: Henry VIII recalled Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster Abbey and used it for hunting. It is beautiful, landscaped yet natural, steeped in history and culture, and a priceless treat to face.

The Met, as we tend to call it, offers exquisite views from dusk till dawn, with the vista stretching from the Albert Hall to Chiswick in the distance distance. The vibe here is sleek and contemporary and the attention to comfort is obvious in its carefully designed interiors. In our suite, space is plentiful and the mini bar rates amongst the very best in the world. My 'hands-off' approach was thrown into the dusky distance, as exclusive treats were ripped open with delight, while London lit up below like a massive Christmas tree; careful though, it's not gratis.

Como Shambhala

After visiting various galleries nearby, a massage seemed like the perfect antidote to weary limbs, and with the hands of COMO Shambhala at my disposal, it seemed absurdly abstemious not to have one. The massage here really is the 'ultimate' of massages and the products totally addictive. The essential oils really do become essential. For a quick retail fix, the boutique off the lobby is great. The buyer has an eclectic mix of French and Thai accessories; from finely chipped chunky mother of pearl rings to that 'must have' long jet necklace. The spa products and incredible coffee table books are also in the boutique.

It's always an aesthetic education staying at the Metropolitan by COMO on Park Lane: it's modern, comfortable subtle in its detail and having three flat-screen TVs in your L-shaped suite is one up on channel flicking. Like the enormous bed, fitted with soft Egyptian cotton and a perfectly togged duvet, it's luxury without the frills or ornate paraphernalia so prevalent in many 'luxury' hotels. With sassy simplicity in mind, the food that complements such style is, without any doubt, the type that comes out of the famous kitchen of Nobu downstairs. It's a perfect match.

The XXX-factor

Eating in Nobu is always a treat. The simple interiors and modest table displays don't jar with the array of dishes that you will no doubt savour. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that you will dine here without a celebrity or three popping in for their lobster carpaccio or some caviar tempura.

The menu at Nobu is quite daunting, but the staff are extremely keen to assist with your choices and will determine from the outset what style of Nobu cuisine you are interested in; the wine and sake menu is fully loaded too. It is difficult not to order a little of everything, as each mouthful is a taste sensation and explodes the buds from one plate to the next. One minute you have reached perfection with a foie gras miso soup, and the next you are orbiting on snow crab. The sushi is indescribably perfect and the new-style yellow tail sashimi with jalapeño has the XXX-factor.

What makes a stay here combined with 'dining-in' so special is that, when you take the lift from the restaurant up to your room, it really feels like you're going up to bed: a little like home. You don't have to circumnavigate any other reclining guests or pass porters and a brightly lit lobby; you take to your suite or room in peace and this is what The Metropolitan hotel exudes: a sense of peace. However, if you really didn't want to leave the comfort of your room or suite then a bento box is available in-room.

A perfect stroll

The weather was kind and clear the following morning, and the sun rose with a wintry softness, lifting itself with much appreciated short day intensity behind the noble park. Breakfast was laid out in our chic suite with notable finesse (the fruit platter was a work of art), and sipping a frothy cappuccino to that view was, well, pretty awesome.

We ended our stay with a stroll across to Hyde Park Corner with the angel of peace above Wellington's Arch and all that stands before her. The arch, of course, commemorates Wellington's defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. There is a very rich crop of sculptures in the central island alone: an extraordinary memorial of vertical bronze sculptures, each inscribed with text and images to commemorate the relationship between England and New Zealand.

On the south side is a highly symbolic design in Bathurst granite, which represents sculptures depicting events and personnel involved in World War I, and above the east and west portals are bronze bas-relief panels which depict the activities and campaigns of the Australian Infantry Forces. It is well worth spending a humbling morning eyeing them over; it was also wonderful serendipity that we arrived in time for a spectacular sight of the Household Cavalry returning from Changing Of The Guard.

For 'going out' and 'staying in', you couldn't do much better than a stay at the Metropolitan with pampering on-hand from top to toe. A Valentine's treat perhaps?

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Child's play at the Met

With school exams beckoning, London seemed a fitting opportunity to combine kids' history studies with a colourful and fun stay in one of London's most inviting hotels: the super-suave five-star Metropolitan by COMO. Located opposite Hyde Park, taking the corner slot on London's most prestigious, tree-lined avenue, Park Lane, it is ideally situated for the plethora of pursuits that the city has on constant offer.

Having never stayed here with any of the children before, my expectations were overwhelmingly exceeded. It works, and with an ease and warmth that will make your stay leisurely on all levels.

We enjoyed glorious spring sunshine throughout our stay, making London's greenest pockets positively effervescent. This also meant that we could savour our locale on foot and in buggy, the very best way to appreciate just how special this city really is.

We had a Park Studio, facing, as it suggests, Hyde Park, with plenty of room for the children to feel comfortable and at ease. As it happens, I had three with me, and it was most definitely spacious enough. However, it did have X-factor appeal, a contemporary vibe and some very 'sweet' gestures, all included. The dressing table was adorned with personalised confectionery, chocolate shakes, yo-yos and slick black Metropolitan T-shirts. There was also a large fruit bowl, water, and of course, a well-stocked mini-bar if you required any further sustenance: a touching welcome that went down an absolute treat.

Stylish simplicity

The Park Studio is designed to take advantage of the view while also encouraging guests to feel unencumbered by eliminating the unnecessary. Its appeal lies in its stylish simplicity and, as we all know, less can be more fun-for-us when it comes to children. The flat-screen wall-mounted TV was a hit: playing Wii away from home is always more enjoyable, plus there was enough space to have a lengthy game of tennis.

The pastel mauve of the carpet sets a dashing contrast to the long cream sofa, deeply comfortable and inviting, while the bed, swathed in faux taupe suede, was big enough for all of us. Even so, we did have a spare bed which, thankfully, was used. The en-suite bathroom functions seamlessly while the Como Shambhala accessories sent me back to their haven in Bali.

So with bags dropped and the studio satisfactorily sussed, we began our little jolly into pastures beyond. First (and I have to point out that the concierge will assist you with absolutely anything) we chose to put together a picnic from Pret a Manger on Piccadilly, before placing ourselves in Green Park. Picnic over, we strolled down the park to Buckingham Palace and crossed over into St James's Park.

The children were genuinely surprised by how close significant London landmarks were to each other as well as to base camp. London on foot is way more impressive than from the back of a cab! St James's is an all time favourite because of its flowing layout and water features while there is no other inner-city Royal Park with such awesome birdlife as this either. We timed our visit to Duck Island, where the resident pelicans reside perfectly; it was fresh fish for lunch. The children were amazed by this spectacle.

Rich pickings

They simply could not believe that 'their' London was so rich in wildlife as well as serious historical landmarks. Moments from here we were walking out of the park and across to Horse Guards Parade where traditions were in full preparation for the Trooping The Colour. This custom dates back to Charles II, when the colours of a regiment were used as a rallying mark in battle and so were trooped in front of the soldiers each day in order to ensure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment.

This was our chance to shift from wildlife to history, a shift that worked a treat. I explained to the children that we were in the actual park that Charles I was allowed to walk in with his dog before his execution. With this mind-shift we strolled across to Horse Guards Parade where we watched the mounted sentries performing a dismounting parade outside the Whitehall entrance. Again the children were deeply impressed. It is an outdoors West End show, and it's free! Two monarchs down and next a left turn up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.

How did they stand Nelson's column up? I explained to the children to be happy with the fact that it is perhaps London's most famous square, laid out in the early to mid 1800s, to commemorate Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The technical issues were to be googled when we got home.

By now the children were pining for the calm and cool of The Metropolitan, aka a very special afternoon tea in the Met Bar! "Hang in there kids, it's closer than you think," I explained as we walked up Pall Mall, stopping outside the RAC to admire a Formula One car on display. Now they started to nag for a cab, not realising that we were shortly going to be passing the glitzy Ritz.

From hereon in it was all downhill, past Green Park, our picnic spot, the painted elephants and back to base camp. We did a quick shop in the Hard Rock boutique on the corner of Old Park Lane in order to trendy up their attire. There was a pretty famous heavy metal band staying in the Metropolitan after all. Thus with a black trilby, new T-shirts, and a fresh swagger, we arrived back to the smiling staff and a tea fit for a queen and her little princes.

Time for tea

Afternoon De-light certainly lived up to its double entendre. It was exquisitely presented, almost too pretty to tuck into and it was surprisingly light. It has turned a rather heavy tradition into something altogether more palatable and, in inimitable Metropolitan style, it is as avant-garde as it gets. We all, including the youngest, tucked in: demolishing both savoury and sweet delights with the utmost relish.

This is a perfect high-tea while in London this summer, because it really does not spoil you for your evening meal. The reason for this is that all the produce is waist-conscious without detracting from its 'deliciousness'. Also, a minimal amount of wheat is used, while the crème fraîche replaces clotted cream, the macaroons are butterfly light and sugar has been used sparingly.

All ingredients are natural, while the scones were unsurpassed, light but textured with the perfect balance of salt to sugar, together with homemade strawberry jam that I wish I could have bottled. Many do this with champagne or Eco-Tinis while we had fresh orange juice and iced-tea.

By now the kids were desperate for a game of tennis in-room, while a freshen-up and relaxation hour with our view did not go amiss. I pined for the Como Shambhala downstairs...next time. Early that evening I took the children to Trader Vic's next door, knowing that I had not left enough time beforehand to book a table at Nobu. There is a sushi bar in Nobu that does not require prior booking, however with a little one it seemed easier to have a table.

Trader Vic's at the Hilton is fun, dark, full of Pacifica memorabilia, and allows you the opportunity to introduce your children to a den of iniquity without indulging. After several spare ribs and chicken wings went flying, courtesy of the little one, it was time to enjoy the low sun hovering over Hyde Park before beating a retreat back to the serene calm of our beckoning Park Studio.

Heavenly haven

With a full day behind us, and the softest of beds beneath us, we snuggled up to a film and a mug of hot chocolate. I don't think I heard a squeak out of the children until the morning when they begged for a full English.

The Metropolitan is amazingly fresh right now: it's easy, trendy, stylish, and approachable while the staff are genuinely charming. There were a couple of other small families staying there, not that I heard them and hopefully vice versa, but I did strike up a conversation with a fellow Libran 'boutiquaholic' who said she would never stay anywhere else again when she visited London with her young one. Why? Because it felt welcome and child friendly, but still had the vibe of one of the coolest five-stars in London.

I guess they really do have the balance right here. This is also a sanctuary for romantic couples and a regular for business folk who want to escape the tired old school style of the corporate hotel. It houses Nobu, it has the Met Bar, a sexy lobby, a Como Shambhala Spa; plus, if you wanted to splash out on the whole family, the Park Studio can connect to a Deluxe Park Suite making your stay truly remarkable.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

No place like Nobu

Mark Edwards was born in Yorkshire, raised in Kent and sea-spelled in Folkestone. With plenty of classical, formal, Channel-crossed training between harbour-life and Nobu, it seems that Mark was always going to have a serious love affair with sea fare, though the rich turf pickings here (succulent tenderloin of beef) are unmissable too.

Mark is a Phil Vickery (ex England rugby captain) sort of chef: a leader, down-to-kitchen, modestly brilliant, and of similar physique. Apart from the fact that he appears a little like a prop forward, Mark creates delicacies that almost contradict his strong, physical prowess. Since the age of 13 he knew his destiny was food-related.

He loved creating the rustic Sunday roast with his skilled mother and was quickly hooked on the buzz that circulates in creative kitchens, both in and out of the home. Since his tender teens washing plates after school, he has focused primarily on the evolution of food along with the finest ingredients. Today, Mark is one of the most important chefs in the UK.

Overlooking glorious Hyde Park, Nobu, at the sexy Metropolitan by COMO, has not only good looks and location in its favour; it has an effervescent vibe like none other, making every day feel like Christmas. Moreover, Mark has designed and created a 'new style' sashimi cuisine that turns an occasion into multiple celebrations.

His obsession with ingredients, the exacting principles of Japanese cooking, along with the clean, fresh, unadulterated manner in which a dish is executed, led Mark from the Channel to the Pacific, resulting in a return to England in 1994 and the leading post at Nobu in 1997.

Palate schooling

With his constant desire to evolve, synergise and surprise, it was necessary for me to return several times this year in order to educate my palate. A hardship I know, but someone has to do it. Nobu is great for both lunch and dinner and with such a sublime setting it's hard to say which event is preferable. Do both we do. So, with Titian-tinted autumn leaves sweeping their farewell down Park Lane and into the Royal Park, I indulged yet again this week, only this time with one of my sons. It was, predictably, an uplifting, glistening, glittering lunch, with Nobu as ravishing as a crisp ocean sunrise.

The staff welcome you to your table with a chorus of 'irrasshaimase' (welcome to my place) and from hereon-in nurture your every whim without ingratiating themselves. The menu is not familiar to all, so their knowledge is imperative to your selection. As at Nahm, I chose to close the menu and hand over the decision making to the kitchen. The kitchen, as it happens, is surprisingly small, stainless, and spotless with a vast refrigeration system dropping to minus 80 degrees Celsius. Be nice to Mark.

Tucking in

We started with a delectable leaf covered tray of appetisers: a basket of salty, rice paper-thin sardine wafers; juicy, crispy, sea-salted and sweet green peppers and a must-have bowl of edemame beans. Next, Mark's personal favourite, the orbit thrusting yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno peppers, coriander and lime delectably refreshing.

Then, just when you think it couldn't get any better, out comes a plate of new style scallop sashimi, each succulent smooth slice garnished and flavoured to perfection and seared with hot soya oil. My son was so blown away he blurted, "This is as good as it gets". "Not quite," replied our beyond adorable waiter who was obviously enjoying this boy's genuine delight.

A sashimi salad of flash-seared tuna and salmon with Matsuhisa dressing followed soon after and, once again, we found it difficult to conceal our pleasure. Our squeals of ecstasy were so obvious that a charming hotel guest from New Zealand, seated beside us, went straight for "I'll have whatever they're having".

Time for the signature

Next, the rich sweet smell of miso was placed, heaven sent, before us. This signature dish of black cod with miso (the best the cosmos over) is actually not cod at all. It is a deep thriving Pacific sablefish and the procurement of this delectable species requires a unique skill set. Struggling to hold the butter-soft flakes with our sticks, we demolished another extraordinary delicacy with total relish.

Then, a sizzling mixed grill of maritime marvels: scallop, prawn, salmon, tuna, squid, clams, cod and more, seared in awesome slightly sticky flavours followed by a faultless platter of the freshest sushi in London. Surely no space for those crazily delicious white chocolate-coated decadent ice-cream lollipops...there was, and a little more for fresh mint tea.

It is a hugely memorable occasion dining at Nobu and more so because it is attached to the uber-chic, zen-honed, Metropolitan. Naturally complementary, the Asian flavours combined with an unbeatable location, make sleeping above this star irresistible. We had the incredibly good fortune of a coveted corner suite, surrounded on two sides by walls of glass, with eye-watering views across the park and beyond to Chiswick.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer