A modern classic in Mayfair
105 Rooms / 12 Suites
London’s oldest hotel, opened in 1837, Brown’s has had its fair share of distinguished guests over the years. But the past patronage of the likes of Queen Victoria and President Theodore Roosevelt is only half the story — it’s how this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel looks after its visitors today that really makes it stand out from the crowd. From the well-stocked bookshelves in every bedroom to the healthy snacks and beverages available to hungry gym goers in the 24-hour fitness studio, Brown’s Hotel leaves nothing to chance when it comes to ensuring you have a happy, comfortable stay.
A glorious amalgamation of 11 historic townhouses, Brown’s has the feel of a small boutique hotel, while offering all the luxury amenities and service touches that you’d expect from a member of the Rocco Forte group. Décor is a subtle blend of old and new, the original wood panelling of the Dover Street entrance and English Tea Room complemented by changing displays of contemporary artworks curated by leading local galleries. The bedrooms and suites, designed by Olga Polizzi, make the most of period features such as fireplaces and cornicing, yet don’t seek to pastiche the past. Furnishings are characterized by clean lines and neutral palettes, plus homely touches like fresh flowers and soft throws.
No two of the 117 rooms and suites are exactly alike, thanks to the London hotel’s layout, but all have spacious marble bathrooms with double sinks, bathtubs and separate walk-in showers, with luxurious Ren toiletries. Bathrooms in the 29 suites have televisions at the foot of the tub, too.
Technology in the rooms themselves isn’t too shabby, either, as you’d expect from the hotel where Alexander Graham Bell placed the first-ever UK telephone call in 1877. High-speed Wifi, multi-channel interactive flat-screen TVs with movies on demand and iPod docks keep you up to speed with the modern world.
Choose between courtyard view rooms — the quietest option available — and those looking out over the bustling streets of Mayfair, with its galleries, townhouse fashion boutiques and high-end eateries. The ones on the second story — what Brits call the first floor — have the highest ceilings, dating back to the days when these rooms were the main entertaining spaces for the occupants of these homes.
The Food and Drink
The Mayfair hotel is famous for its English Tea Room, where residents and visitors alike flock to enjoy traditional afternoon tea, with finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and cakes, all expertly produced in house. Pick from 17 different tea varieties.
There’s tradition served up at Hix Mayfair, too, where leading British chef Mark Hix presides over a menu featuring classic British dishes, like fish and chips, rump of lamb and roasted grouse alongside modern, international-leaning twists such as curried monkfish tail or crispy duck salad. Hotel guests can eat breakfast at Hix — the continental buffet is a cornucopia of freshly baked pastries, fruit, cereals, British yogurts, house-smoked salmon and farmhouse cheeses, while an à la carte menu features brunch favorites like pancakes, duck egg and chorizo, and avocado on toast. And of course, if you don’t feel like leaving your accommodations, room service is available 24 hours a day.
The Donovan Bar is a chic spot to enjoy an innovative cocktail — the hotel’s mixologists have created a bespoke menu inspired by the 10 properties in the Rocco Forte group around the world. We love the Donovan Martini, a twist on a gin and tonic involving Tanquerey N10 Gin, Kummel bitters, fresh pineapple, nettle cordial, lemon juice and tonic water.
There are just three treatment rooms, including one set up for couples, at the luxury hotel's petite spa, all with their own showers and heated beds. The signature treatment is the Spiezia Head in Heaven Ritual, which includes breathing exercises, Chinese facial pressure point massage and a shoulder, back and head massage, all using the 100 percent organic products from the Spiezia company. Along with face and body treatments, the spa offers tanning from Beau Bronz and nails by trendy British brand Ciaté, which specializes in 3D manicures, where tiny beads are affixed to your polish.
In keeping with the hotel’s family-friendly vibe, there’s a special kids’ spa menu with treats like the Twinkle Toes Mini-Pedicure and Teens’ Instant Facial Glow. Guests on a health kick will love the 24-hour gym, fully equipped with Technogym equipment and free weights.