London’s original minimalist hotel
114 Rooms / 30 Suites
The first thing you’ll notice when walking into COMO Metropolitan London is the fresh scent of eucalyptus and peppermint. The second is just how quiet it is. Despite the wall-to-ceiling windows in the lobby, there’s not a sound from the steady stream of cabs and people traveling up and down Park Lane, one of London’s main thoroughfares, which separates the hotel from the 350-acre Hyde Park.
This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star is one of two London outposts from the COMO Group of hotels and resorts, founded and headed up by one of the most influential names in fashion and lifestyle, Christina Ong (her other company, Club 21, represents the likes of Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani). Fresh from a top-to-toe renovation, completed in fall 2015, this luxury boutique is the crisp, contemporary, cool kid on the elite Mayfair hotel strip.
There’s a mix of clientele: Families with children of all ages, couples and business travelers mingle with the occasional famous face.
In the summer, the Hyde Park concert series draws in the crowds, with many of its headline acts choosing the luxury hotel as their home for the night — Lionel Richie is among recent guests. During the Christmas period, the mighty Winter Wonderland attraction lights up the park, and year-round, the trio of Royal Parks (Hyde, Green and St James’s), Serpentine Gallery, Buckingham Palace, shopping corridors Oxford and Bond street, and Piccadilly Circus are all within easy walking distance.
A key element of the COMO ethos is wellness travel, with a less-is-more approach focusing on the touches and on-point service to make you feel looked after.
At the Metropolitan, this translates to a hot towel to refresh you on arrival and an onsite, holistic COMO Shambhala Urban Escape spa where treatments, including acupuncture and reflexology, are aimed at more than just pampering. It’s seen in the 10-strong menu of freshly made juices, and smelt through the signature Invigorate blend of eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and geranium, used to scent the hotel lobby, hallways and bathrooms.
The same blend is included in the in-room amenities: COMO’s own range, developed at the Shambhala Estate in Bali using premium-grade essential oils. It’s carried through to the room service, with the COMO Shambhala Cuisine championing raw ingredients through nutritious dishes, suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free (there’s the standard 24-hour menu, too, for when only a cheeseburger and fries will do).
Understanding that poor internet connection can also lead to bad chi in this digital world, the London hotel boasts complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi. The basement gym offers round-the-clock access to everything from free weights to TRX to treadmills, so you can get your fitness fix before sloping back to your room to spread out on the king-size, 400-thread-count cotton bed.
There are 144 rooms and suites, some interconnecting (great for families, who should also check out the Honey I Brought The Kids package), and a third looking over Hyde Park.
The entry-level Deluxe City Rooms are perfect for business stays, while the signature, 355-square-foot Metropolitan Park Rooms boast balconies. Up on the ninth floor, the Metropolitan Suite offers far-reaching double-aspect views across the city, a spacious lounge and dining area, and a prime spot to take in the sunset.
The décor throughout this Mayfair hotel is stylishly pared back; clean lines and cool whites with accents of cheerful yellow and warm pale walnut. Huge windows flood the rooms with natural light, while clever design means everything from the suitcase storage to the bedside reading light is tucked away, clearing unnecessary clutter and creating a calm hub to relax the mind and body.
The air conditioner, lights, curtains and the “do not disturb” sign are controlled via touch screen, from the comfort of your bedside table. Large Loewe televisions serve up on-demand music, movies and even a yoga channel to help you limber up after a long flight (you’ll find yoga mats rolled up next to the robes and slippers in the wardrobe), while a multi-plug of international sockets comes to the rescue when you’ve inevitably forgotten the travel adaptor at home.
Complimentary Nespresso coffee and Jing Tea are provided in all rooms, with wine, fresh fruit and nibbles in the suites. The bathrooms come equipped with COMO Shambhala amenities and rainfall showers.
For longer stays or families seeking a home away from home, the Metropolitan has a selection of two- and three-bedroom serviced apartments, situated just around the corner.
The Food and Drink
In the ’90s, when Britpop was in full swing, the hotel’s Met Bar was an exclusive place — with the likes of Kate Moss and Boy George partying into the early hours. If your name wasn’t on the list, you weren’t getting in. No longer members only, the Met Bar is open to all, serving up seasonal British fare, small and large plates and experimental cocktails in cozy, chocolate-brown and burned-orange leather banquette surroundings. It’s a great spot for an afternoon coffee, pre-concert bite or something sweet and smoky on the rocks after returning from a night out.
On the first floor, you’ll find that other famous haunt, Nobu. Almost 20 years after this 150-seat, Japanese-Peruvian restaurant, co-founded by Robert De Niro, opened its doors, it’s still a hot table in town. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s black cod with miso is still its most-requested dish. Book ahead, or try sweet-talking the concierge into getting you a last-minute table.
Breakfast and private dining are hosted in the adjacent White Room, a gallery-like space flooded with light from the glass vaulted ceiling. Early checkouts needn’t go hungry with the White Room’s Brekkie-To-Go option, a takeout breakfast that includes pastries, juice, coffee or tea.