When it comes to luxury hotel groups, Belmond ranks among the best in the world. With hotels like Cape Town’s historic Mount Nelson, foodie heaven Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, and chic Villa San Michele in Florence, it’s safe to say that Belmond knows a thing or two about style and substance.
The Cadogan is the group’s small London residence with a gloriously gossip past, a stone’s throw from Sloane Square and Knightsbridge, making it a stone’s throw from all that Chelsea and central London has to offer.
Over its 135-year history, the hotel has been home to a wealth of famous faces – and writer Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1885 after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry. Lillie Langtry, an actress, socialite and – most sensationally – the mistress of the future King Edward VII, was also often seen enjoying the Cadogan’s hospitality.
Service is king at this 54-room hotel, and the staff will do anything for their guests. For example, someone rushed out to get my young daughter a new teddy bear from Harrods when she arrived, which she (well, I) was quick to name Caddy after the hotel. In a crowded London hotel market, the personal touch often makes all the difference.
Super comfortable and homey, the rooms are all stylish yet opulently furnished, as is the rest of the hotel. And you’ll eat like royalty at their fabulous contemporary European restaurant, The LaLee. This is also where the hotel bar is located, which offers deadly delicious Negronis – trust me!
Where is it?
Right in the beating heart of luxurious London. The hotel’s closest tube station is Sloane Square, which is a three-minute cab ride or a seven-minute walk away. Of course, this means it’s close to the high-end and designer shops of the King’s Road, as well as Chelsea’s many museums, theaters and art galleries. It’s a similar distance away as Knightsbridge – home to some of London’s best and more expensive shops, as well as Hyde Park.
It is also about 45 minutes by car from Heathrow Airport on a good drive.
Sympathetic to its heritage, the Cadogan’s style is therefore classic, yet modern and glamorous. Housed in a Queen Anne style building, the hotel was built around three years ago for four years with the help of Blair Associates Architecture – the company that also works on other historic London hotels such as The Ritz, The Savoy and The Goering renovated for £40m Throughout the work, much effort was put into preserving, enhancing and restoring historic details such as mosaic floors and 13 year old wood paneling. It’s both homely and impressive.
Although there are only 54 of them, at The Cadogan you will be spoiled with beautiful rooms and suites in different styles to choose from for a variety of budgets. We were fortunate to stay in a suite that offers facilities such as a king-size bed, a separate living area, and a huge marble bathroom with a separate tub and luxury toiletries. It was big enough for two adults plus a small lady and all the different things you would need when traveling with a five month old.
If you’ve got some cash to spend, why not stay in the Royal Suite or room 118. It’s the room where Wilde was arrested – and the Cadogan’s most prestigious accommodation, costing around £7,000 a night.
The hotel’s restaurant – The LaLee – pays homage to the fabulous life and travels of the aforementioned socialite Langtry, who was known for her refined taste in sophisticated European cuisine. The menu features some classics like Steak Tartare and Ceasar Salad, some served with a touch of theatrical. You can also order to your room at LaLee’s, which offers a limited menu 24 hours a day.
In the hotel’s Maison Lounge, Executive Chef Chris Hill and his team have created a spectacular afternoon tea inspired by the gardens of Cadogan Place opposite the hotel. It is served from 12pm to 6pm daily and costs from £60 per person.
The Cadogan’s location means it’s perfect for exploring the city – and the hotel’s well-connected and experienced concierge can help arrange anything you want to do off-site. When in need of some me-time, visitors can escape the city at the spa with products and treatments from Elemental Herbology.
If you’re more outdoorsy then you might want to explore the Cadogan Gardens, with ornamental plants and sprawling lawns that have remained relatively unchanged since their inception in 1886. You can order a picnic and the staff will set up outdoor rugs and games. There are even tennis courts if you fancy a game.
Aside from its hotel, Belmond is also known for its luxury rail adventures. British Pullman trains depart from London Victoria station, which is perhaps a 20 minute walk or 10 minute drive away, for gastronomic day trips across the UK’s Simplon-Orient-Express and embarking on one of the most famous rail journeys in the world.
Rooms start at £490 per room per night for a room including breakfast; belmond.com