When it comes to luxury hotel groups, Belmond is one of the world’s best. With properties such as the historic Mount Nelson in Cape Town, foodie heaven Le Manoir aux Quat‘Saisons in Oxfordshire and the chic Villa San Michele in Florence among their hotels, it is safe to say Belmond know a thing or two about style and substance.
The Cadogan is the group’s little London residence with a gloriously gossip-filled past, situated a stone’s throw from Sloane Square and Knightsbridge and, therefore, all the draws of Chelsea and central London.
Over the course of its 135-year history, the hotel has hosted a wealth of famous faces – and was where 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 spotted enjoying the hospitality of The Cadogan.
Service is king at the 54-room hotel and staff will do anything for their guests. For example, someone dashed out to get my baby daughter a new teddy from Harrods on her arrival, who she (well, I) quickly named Caddy after the hotel. Often in a crowded London hotel market, the personal touches really make a difference.
The super comfortable and homely rooms are all stylishly yet opulently decorated, as is the rest of the hotel. And you’ll eat like a king in their fabulous modern European restaurant, The LaLee. It is also home to the hotel bar, which offers up lethally delicious negronis – trust me!
Where is it?
Right in the beating heart of luxury London. The hotel’s closest underground station is Sloane Square, which is a three-minute cab drive or a seven-minute walk away. This of course means it is close to the high-end and designer shops of King’s Road, plus Chelsea’s many museums, theatres and art galleries. It is a similar distance to Knightsbridge – home to some of London’s best, and more expensive shops, as well as Hyde Park.
It is also, on a good run, about 45 minutes by car to Heathrow airport.
The Cadogan’s style is sympathetic to its heritage and therefore classic yet modern and glamourous. Set in a Queen Anne-style building, the hotel underwent a four-year, £40 million renovation about three years ago with the help of Blair Associates Architecture – the firm also behind works on other historic London hotels The Ritz, The Savoy and The Goring. Throughout the works, a lot of effort was made to keep, highlight and restore period details such as mosaic floor designs and 13-year-old wooden paneling. It is both homely and impressive.
While there are only 54 of them, at The Cadogan you are spoilt with various styles of gorgeous rooms and suites to pick from on a variety of budgets. We were lucky enough to stay in a suite that boasts facilities such as a king-size bed, a separate living area, and a ginormous marble bathroom with a separate tub and luxury bath products. It was large enough for two adults plus a little lady and all the various things needed when travelling with a five-month-old.
If you have some money to spend, why not stay in the Royal Suite, or room 118. It is the room where Wilde was arrested – and is The Cadogan’s most prestigious accommodation costing about £7,000 a night.
Food & Drink
The hotel’s restaurant – The LaLee – pays homage to the fabulous life and travels of previously mentioned socialite Langtry, who was known for her refined tastes in sophisticated European cuisine. You will find some classics on the menu such as steak tartare and Ceasar salad, some of which are served with a touch of theatre. You can also order from LaLee’s to your room, with a limited menu offered 24 hours.
Meanwhile, in the hotel’s Maison Lounge, the executive chef, Chris Hill, and his team have created a spectacular afternoon tea inspired by the Cadogan Place gardens opposite the hotel. It is served daily from 12pm to 6pm, costing from £60 per person.
The Cadogan’s location means it is perfect for exploring the city – and the hotel’s highly connected and experienced concierge will help arrange anything you’d like to do outside of the hotel grounds. Should you want a bit of me time, visitors can escape the city at the spa with Elemental Herbology products and treatments.
If outdoors is more your thing, then you might wish to explore the Cadogan Gardens, featuring ornamental planting and sweeping lawns that have remained relatively unchanged since it was created in 1886. You can order a picnic and staff will set up rugs and outdoor games. There are even tennis courts, should you feel up for a game.
Other than its hotel, Belmond is also known for its luxury rail adventures. Departing from London Victoria station, which is perhaps a 20-minute walk or 10-minute drive away, the British Pullman trains sets off on gastronomic day trips around the UK or, if you wish to go further afield, why not hop on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and embark on one of the most famous rail journeys in the world.
Rooms start from £490 per room, per night for a room including breakfast; belmond.com