Cafe Royal, London
THE HOTEL: After a four-year transformation, the Cafe Royal has emerged as a grand, 160-bedroom luxury property that befits its 140-year heritage. It’s part of the Israeli-owned Set group.
THE CHECK-IN: For such a grand place, I was underwhelmed by the reception which is off the entrance and lift lobby in a small, unremarkable corridor. Staff were nonetheless friendly and quick to finish all the formalities and we were shown to the lifts: original and ornate and more like it!
THE ROOM: A good-size Junior Suite in the Portland room category, which means walls elegantly plastered to resemble the Portland stone exteriors of neighbouring buildings (Mansard rooms feature smoked oak walls panels). No need for much else other than a huge bed as a centre piece, high-spec fixtures and fittings, workstation, flatscreen TV, a lobby/dressing area, plus a large bathroom in white Carrera marble, separate mega shower and toilet cubicles, and bathroom mirror TV screen. There was free wifi in bedrooms and throughout the hotel.
THE BUSINESS: Six meeting rooms all with natural light, the largest – the modern Queensbury Suite – for 150 theatre-style, three further rooms for up to 30 and a boardroom for up to 12. The historic, Grade II listed mirror-panelled Pompadour Suite is a stunning ballroom, for 100 seated including private terrace overlooking Regent Street. Delegate rates are £80-£115 including VAT.
THE FACILITIES: All-day dining venue the Ten Room offers French/British brasserie fare in an atrium setting; the historic Oscar Wilde Bar, resplendent with Louis XVI décor, offers a supper menu and regular cabaret acts, plus The Café, absinthe-coloured bar (dark green), fine dining in the Domino Room, a private members club and stunning spa.
THE VERDICT: A grand property in a central location that would impress most business associates. Staff were attentive without being obsequious.
THE DETAILS: Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, London W1B 4DY. Rates start from £450 including tax but excluding breakfast. Tel 020 7406 3333; see www.hotelcaferoyal.com.
Reviewed by Gillian Upton (2014)