A grand dame overlooking Piccadilly Circus
106 Rooms / 54 Suites
For more than a century, this central landmark building was the ultimate hot spot on London’s social scene (think Andy Warhol, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde), and today Hotel Café Royal’s elegant Georgian façade at the southern end of Regent Street continues to tempt fashionable creatives with see-and-be-seen restaurants, oh-so modern guest rooms, and luxuriously gilded lounges. Its central location is prime, with some of London’s best neighborhoods all within walking distance, including Piccadilly Circus, Mayfair and Soho.
The façade may be staunchly Georgian, but the guest rooms are thoroughly modern. A minimalist lobby hints at what’s to come in the rooms, which are decked out almost exclusively in shades of pale grays and nudes. The odd candy-colored chair or golden lampshade serve to highlight the chicly austere décor. Bedroom walls are plaster “carved” (rusticated) to look like the Portland stone of the exterior, while bathroom walls — along with everything else within the en suite — are solid Carrera marble, rusticated to match. (In fact, the hotel had to reinforce every floor to support the massive amount of marble installed.) Another price-is-no-object design detail? Bathtubs were fashioned by craftsmen from one solid piece of stone. Free WiFi, a Nespresso machine and a large Bang & Olufsen TV also come standard.
The Restaurant and Café
Ten Room is brasserie dining at its finest and the swank restaurant feels like it might back in the London hotel’s heyday with some original design details restored. The menu is modern European with British ingredients used wherever possible. Flavors are bold, from the Orkney Island scallops to the peppered sirloin steak with wild mushrooms. Ten Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It is the café that perhaps first draws people in to Hotel Café Royal, its golden Siena marble interior glinting provocatively at those passing by on Regent Street. White jacketed waitstaff presents pots of tea and plates of brightly hued macaroons (try the salted caramel) while the chocolate counter will get that sweet tooth itching. Although Piccadilly Circus can be seen through the glass, it is a calming space away from the hustle and bustle.
The Green Bar, located off the restaurant and with its own entrance from the street, was inspired by the Café Royal Cocktail Book compiled in 1937. There is — spoiler alert — a lot of green, from the verdant absinthe-colored walls to the leather chair cushions. There’s an ever-flowing absinthe fountain, a nod to the hard-drinking intellects who used to tipple here. The Oscar Wilde Bar is a riot of gold leaf and Louis XVI detailing reflected in ceiling-high mirrors. Look up at the ornate ceiling as you indulge in afternoon tea here or come back later for live music and cabaret. Ziggy Stardust (aka David Bowie), Mick Jagger and the Beatles have all partied here. Order a bottle from the extensive champagne menu to kick things off.
Located in the basement of the hotel, Akasha encompasses a large lap pool (almost 60 feet), a cutting-edge gym, a lounge bar, numerous treatment rooms, a Vichy shower, a private hammam and a private watsu pool (London’s first), which offers hydro-therapy treatments. Here, you can get a water massage that is part underwater yoga, part tension release, part emotional therapy. Treatments run a wide gamut, from Thai massage and ayurvedic therapies to anti-wrinkle facials and luxurious pedicures.