Despite running some of the most luxurious hotels, trains and river cruises all over the world from London headquarters, a flagship property in their home city eluded Belmond…until now. It was worth the wait: The stunning new Belmond Cadogan opened in a prime Chelsea location in late February following a three-year, $48 million restoration on a mere 54 rooms, most of which are suites. Just prior to the soft opening, London corespondent Emily Goldfischer was given a sneak peek and private tour by General Manager Klaus Kabelitz.
While the exterior of the property, originally the Cadogan Hotel built in 1887, is landmarked, the interior has been redone by the talented Blair Associates, retaining the exuberant Queen Anne Revival style and original design details, such as six working fireplaces (five are in guestrooms!), mosaic floors and 130-year-old wood paneling; the rest is completely new with modern conveniences infused with an English heritage vibe (think plush furniture in deep reds and rich browns, lots of custom woodwork, and delicate gold leaf, balanced with more than 415 works of contemporary art). We loved the Peacock sculpture by Clarita Brinkerhoff, made of 25,854 pieces of Swarovski crystals and natural feathers, perched in the tea room.
Belmond Cadogan, which opened in Chelsea late February following a three-year, $48 million restoration, has 54 rooms, most of which are suites.
Top Guestrooms: No. 101, aka the Royal Suite, which has a charming curved sitting area overlooking Cadogan Gardens, a fireplace, private terrace and glorious marble bathroom with gracious tub and oversize shower. Travel Trivia: This suite also includes Room No. 118, where Oscar Wilde was famously arrested in the hotel. Second Favorite: Room No. 212, the Corner Deluxe King room (can also be configured as two twins) and the possibility to combine with Room No. 211 for an additional King bedroom, miles of closet space, and a spacious bath. Room No. 208 is another winner, a one-bedroom suite with a big bathroom, featuring a wooden built-in wardrobe / dressing area. VIP Choice: The Penthouse Suite. Though unfinished, we were allowed a peek of this sprawling accommodation on the fifth floor, with two terraces and incredible garden views. The Penthouse Suite can connect with five other Deluxe Rooms for a total of six bedrooms on the top floor, available to rent exclusively.
Culinary for the hotel is in the deft hands of wunderkind, Adam Handling, the celebrated chef who won Scottish Young Chef of the Year at age 22, was a ‘MasterChef: The Professional’ finalist in 2013, and has led the kitchens at Gleneagles, Fairmont St Andrews, and the St. Ermin’s Hotel in St. James. In 2016, he went out on his own and opened the acclaimed Frog in trendy Hoxton, followed by a second Frog in Covent Garden, then a few bars… and did we mention he’s only 30 years old? His much anticipated opening, “Adam Handling, Chelsea” at the hotel, with a separate entrance on 21 Pont Street, is already booking up (preference given to hotel guests) with Londoners eager to try his sustainable and seasonal menu. Adam also oversees Afternoon Tea, the bar area, a private dining area for up to 60 people, room service and minibars that feature curated cocktails from his bar lab in Hoxton.
General Manager Klaus Kabelitz ([email protected]), who’s worked at several top London hotels (The Berkeley, Claridges, Four Seasons) and for Belmond around the world, is most excited about the intimacy of the property. “With 54 rooms, everyone is a VIP and I will get to know each of the guests personally,” he says. He welcomes all travel advisors to e-mail him directly. He was planning to receive a Royal family (he wouldn’t divulge from which country) as guests just seven days after opening. Toru Machida ([email protected]), the head concierge, who was most recently in the same position at The Savoy, has all the right connections. Located on the pretty and fashionable Sloane Street, equidistant between Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the boutiques of Sloane Square, guests also have fantastic culture nearby — Cadogan Hall, the Royal Court Theatre, Saatchi Gallery and the Chelsea Physic Garden.
Exclusive guest privileges: Access to the 93-acre Cadogan Estate Gardens, one of the largest and most beautiful private garden squares in Chelsea. The hotel will be hosting yoga classes amid 300-year-old mulberry trees and an award-winning flower garden; guests can also access the tennis courts and a well-equipped playground. Beyond London, guests can combine their stay with train journeys aboard Belmond British Pullman from Victoria Station; the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Belmond Hotel Cipriani; or escape to the English country at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. Belmond will coordinate all arrangements and travel between its properties.