London’s Athenaeum Hotel may have a stuffy-sounding name, but this freshly renovated Mayfair landmark banks its reputation on friendly service and the familiarity of a rare five-star hotel that’s still family run.
Built by the Duke of Newcastle in 1849, the Athenaeum and its connected buildings on Piccadilly Street has at times been a gentleman’s club, apartments, and a noted hangout for American movie stars.
The renovation of the 132-room, 12-suite hotel (there also are 18 residences and a Penthouse Suite) by Kinnersley Kent Design adds some eye-catching modern touches, including a double-story lobby, a lounge with views of Royal Green Park, and a new outdoor terrace offering al fresco dining. The hotel’s distinctly British hospitality traditions continue to be honored, however: guests will still be greeted by Jim the doorman and enjoy cocktails with the general manager each Wednesday evening.
VIPs who crave a classic/contemporary atmosphere during their London stay will be pleased to sample theatrically presented libations from mixologist Giancarlo Mancino at The Bar at the Athenaeum. The new eponymous eatery from Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin will feature British-sourced food throughout the menu; in addition to running Galvin at the Athenaeum, the brothers will reign over the hotel’s entire food and beverage operation, including the famous Afternoon Tea service.
The just-added second-floor Gallery is a club-style lounge with a pair of private dining rooms, each boasting impressive views of the park, Picadilly, and Buckingham Palace. The largely residential Mayfair village includes Shepherd’s Market and is close to the Royal Academy of Art and the Savile Row shopping area.