A London charmer brimming with personality
56 Rooms / 25 Suites
11 Cadogan Gardens blends so well into its affluent residential surroundings, you could easily walk straight past and miss it, unbeknownst that what lies behind the unassuming façade is something quite special — a boutique hotel brimming with warmth and personality.
Originally built as four townhouses by Lord Chelsea in the 19th century, this luxury hotel is located moments from Sloane Square, with Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Victoria within close proximity.
Spread over four floors, it is a warren of eclectic spaces in which to relax, drink, eat and sleep: a bright conservatory, perfect for perusing the morning newspapers; a dark and moody bar made for late-night cocktails; a theatrical mirror room, where you can play “spot the hidden door”; and a cozy library to while away an afternoon with one of the well-thumbed, vintage books.
In warmer months, the outdoor terrace, where the London hotel has been known to set up a large screen to show the Wimbledon matches, is an intimate suntrap.
There’s also a gym in the basement, but with 350 acres of green space to stretch your legs out in Hyde Park, a walkable 15 minutes in one direction, and the just-as-close River Thames in the other, you’d be forgiven for ignoring the hotel treadmill.
The core clientele is made up of a mix of business travelers benefiting from the well-connected location, couples and families on vacation — the selection of adjoining rooms making it easy to keep the little ones close, while giving the adults some space to themselves.
Fresh from a yearlong renovation, 11 Cadogan Gardens is a prime place to book for a stay in the capital.
Glamour and eccentricity reign in equal measures. Post-renovation, this Chelsea retreat has managed to retain the exclusive feel of its former members club persona, while projecting the air of a private Victorian home. Warm, enveloping tones of deep plum and indigo, accented with gold and mirrors, together with original features such as dark wood paneling and dainty stained glass windows, make up the main communal areas.
A spiral staircase, dotted with oil paintings of regal-looking people with a tale or two to tell, takes you up to the guest rooms. Weekly replenished floral displays add a burst of color and fun (every May, the luxury hotel competes in the Chelsea in Bloom competition with a grand display out front).
The covetable interiors, pulled together by JSJ Design, have made it a popular choice with the fashion set, with the hotel frequently used for glossy magazine shoots.
The welcome you receive as you walk through the front door is akin to being greeted home for the holidays — it makes you feel warm and taken care of — before you’ve even made it through to a relaxed check-in area.
This London hotel adds thoughtful touches, such as little treats left your room on special occasions, no-expenses-spared interior design and two Golden Keys concierges who have the knowledge, connections and can-do to help you make the most of your stay in the city — and if you just so happen to want to jet off to Rome to attend a papal Mass, then Richie or William will do their best to arrange that, too (this actually happened). If you’re lucky, they’ll also get you into the charming private garden right opposite, usually reserved for the residents.
Each of the 56 rooms and suites offers something unique. The only shared traits are sleek marble bathrooms, Nespresso machines, LCD TVs and daily replenished complimentary still and sparking water.
The 25 suites serve up an extra-special dose of fun. We like the four Mews Suites, each with a separate living room and private entrance on to Pavilion Road, and the ridiculously romantic Velasquez Suite, where almost everything, including the Murano glass chandelier, is red. At the top of the scale, there’s the Sloane Suite, a high-ceilinged, 1,292-square-foot space swathed in a regal palette of black, gold and cream, an abundance of luxurious fabrics and a grand four-poster bed fit for a king.
Equally as comfortable are the Junior Suites, Superior and Deluxe Rooms, all combining touches of luxury, with a classic airy decor, custom-made furniture and Cadogan Garden, Pavilion Road or Mary Poppins-esque rooftop views.
As you descend the stairs to the bright, mirror-ceilinged basement, the smell of truffles wafts up from the Tartufo kitchens. The Italian restaurant, under the helm of chef Manuel Oliveri, serves the kind of food that gives you a hug and leaves you wanting to come back for more (the tortellini al tartufo nero — a rich pasta dish with walnut, mascarpone and a generous shaving of black truffle — is particularly good). For truffle enthusiasts, the themed tasting menu (also available as vegetarian option) is worth a look.
The 11 Cadogan Gardens twist on the afternoon tea, served in the floral-wallpapered Drawing Room, takes its inspiration from its green surroundings and proximity to the Chelsea Flower Show. It provides a selection of traditional British and French finger sandwiches, scones and pastries, prepared using flowers and herbs. The menu changes with the seasons, but all items are displayed on pretty Wedgewood crockery, accompanied by a selection of loose-leaf Jing tea.
The cocktails in the bar follow suit, with a seasonal red-leather-clad menu of delicious and decorative floral concoctions.