With stunning natural beauty and central locations, London’s Royal Parks have been surrounded by luxury hotels as long as monarchs have been in Buckingham Palace. Increasing demand for suites has instigated luxury hotels surrounding Hyde Park and St. James’s Park in a race to renovate with top designers, lush furnishings and techie features. Here we look at our new favorites: The Milestone Hotel, Intercontinental London Park Lane, Four Seasons London Park Lane and the London Taj Hotels — St. James Court and 51 Buckingham Gate.
The intimate Milestone Hotel, with only 62 guestrooms, including 13 suites and six apartments, feels like staying in a stately townhouse: Ornate décor, original artworks and attentive staff (the property began as two grand homes from the 1800s). Fast forward to 1998: It was purchased and painstakingly renovated by Red Carnation Hotels, a boutique collection of 17 high-end historical properties, owned by the Tollman family of South Africa whose founder and president, Beatrice Tollman, has a very personal interest in The Milestone as a frequent guest, herself. Located on the southwest corner of Hyde Park, just off Kensington High Street, the hotel overlooks Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace, perfect for exploring Hyde Park, as well as museums and shopping around Kensington and Chelsea.
This year, the hotel renovated two of its signature suites — a family affair led by Beatrice and her daughter Toni Tollman, who heads design for Red Carnation. Room No. 108, the Grand Master Suite, now affectionately known as “The Hermès Suite,” is something to behold (12-foot coffered ceilings, leaded arched windows and doors, and views of Kensington Palace). We love the glamorous mid-century bronze four-poster bed and the eponymous vintage collection of framed Hermès scarves hanging on white velvet upholstered walls. For a bit of al fresco, there’s a private balcony overlooking Kensington Palace gardens. This room can interconnect to room No. 107, for an additional King bedroom; however, children are not allowed in the Hermès Suite due to the delicate furnishings. The second renovated suite is “The Meghan,” No. 308, and it’s as fabulous as the new Duchess of Sussex. A grand space, descend eight steps into a double-aspect room with large windows overlooking the park. The décor is bold (think: leopard-print carpet, 18th-century ebony French chests, Giacometti-style chairs and original contemporary art.) The best bit: A vast black-and-white marble bathroom. Both suites offer Butler Service, complimentary canapés each evening, and private Bentley car service (extra charge). Charming general manager Andrew Pike ([email protected]; 011-440-779-627-6945) will look after your clients personally; travel advisors can contact him anytime.
The InterContinental Park Lane’s Capital Suite has a full-size boardroom, a private office and multiple en-suite bedrooms. It also has a private entrance and its own elevator.
InterContinental Park Lane
Situated at the corner of Hyde Park and Green Park, the InterContinental London Park Lane, at 145 Piccadilly, is famous as the site of the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth, and although the building she grew up in was destroyed during WWII, today the hotel is modern mix with 387 rooms, 60 of which are suites, offering some of London’s best park views and easy access to Piccadilly, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. New this year is the Capital Suite, a grand series of rooms — over 3,600 square feet in total — encompassing two large en-suite bedrooms, a full boardroom which can seat up to 14, a separate dining room, a fully equipped office and multiple lounging areas. Elegantly designed by hospitality specialists, RPW Design, the décor is influenced by the nature of nearby Hyde Park and a bit of Asia (think: rich woods, brass accents and plush fabrics in gray, cream and lavender).
Secure Digs: The Capital Suite is perfect for VIPs that need to mix business and pleasure; the office and conference areas of the suite can be separated from bedrooms. The suite also has a private entrance and its own elevator and its guests enjoy complimentary personal butler service and access to the seventh floor Club InterContinental with views over London.
What we love: With its first-floor location, the suite’s level views of iconic Wellington Arch and Green Park feel like living in a post card. For eats: The hotel’s sexy new Mexican eatery, Ella Canta by acclaimed Mexico City-based chef Martha Ortiz, is buzzing on Thursday and Friday nights, offering authentic cuisine: Hand-made tortillas using house-ground cornmeal, rich peanut mole and chill-infused octopus are some of the signature dishes.
For VIP bookings, luxury travel advisors should contact business development manager Christina Stampouloglou ([email protected]; 011-440-207-409-3131).
The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane has debuted seven Ambassador Suites designed by Pierre Yves Rochon.
Four Seasons Park Lane
Located beside the InterContinental, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane has also upped its suite game this summer and debuted seven new Ambassador Suites, smartly restyled by renowned designer Pierre Yves Rochon in shades of blue. We saw room No. 630 (all Ambassador Suites are in the same positioning from Floors 3 through 9, and their floor-to-ceiling windows offer city and tree-top park views). Measuring just over 800 square feet, the living space has been efficiently thought out to include a generous seating area with sofa, lounge chair and table for four, a 65-inch LED TV and a half-bathroom, plus a bedroom with king-size bed, walk-in wardrobe, spacious bathroom with a freestanding deep bathtub, and double vanity unit with a mirror that has an integrated television. Suites can connect to a Deluxe Twin, which is ideal for families.
Insider Tip: The hotel has just partnered with the world’s longest-serving jeweler, House of Garrard, offering suite guests private access to their headquarters and an exclusive afternoon tea in the historic Queen Mary Room to view treasures from House of Garrard’s archives, dating back to its first royal commission in 1735. Here, they can try on replicas of its most celebrated royal tiaras and have a private consultation on jewels available to purchase. Tea and Tiaras can also be held in the comfort of the Four Seasons, in suite or a private function room. For VIP bookings or Tea and Tiaras, contact sales manager Natalie Kerr ([email protected]; 011-020-7499-0888).
TAJ 51 Buckingham Gate's Jaguar Suite is designed by Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum and the suite has auto-inspired artwork and displays.
St. James Court, a Taj Hotel and 51 Buckingham Gate and Residences
It’s hard to believe these serene hotels, which surround a quiet courtyard, are mere blocks from the busy Victoria station, and within walking distance to the Royal Parks, South Bank and Mayfair. The big news: Taj is in the process of renovating the entirety of the St. James Court’s 313 rooms and 25 suites in three stages. The first tower, “Almoners,” is complete with 83 new rooms and 14 new suites. We saw room Nos. 755 and 756, a Premium Master Suite, over 500 square feet, connected to a 250-square-foot Premium Double, which can be booked separately as well. This new configuration is ideal for families; you can add a roll-away bed, and the rooms are connected through a third door, which encloses a piece of hallway. What we loved: The new look, clean lines and the spacious, well-lit bathrooms.
Across the courtyard, the has his-and-her theme suites we adore. The expansive Jaguar Suite (No. 1142) is exclusively designed by Ian Callum, Jaguar’s acclaimed design director. The sleek, 1,832-square-foot two-bedroom apartment alludes to both classic and contemporary Jaguar models, from the legendary 1960s’ E-type to the state-of-the art C-X75 (think: leather seating, framed car prints, bespoke wallpaper with the Jaguar insignia, state-of-the-art Denon and Creston sound systems). Plus, there’s a full kitchen, dining room for 10 and a balcony overlooking the courtyard for entertaining with plenty of “vroom.”
Equally impressive is the Cinema Suite, the same size as the Jaguar Suite but with a totally different feel, as if you’ve stepped into a Merchant Ivory film. Created by Indian clothing designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, we loved the romantic four-poster bed, the rich leather Chesterfield sofa, floral fabrics and cinematic prints throughout and, of course, the 85-inch plasma TV perfect for watching movies. VIPs are looked after by hotel manager Araceli Rius-Perez ([email protected]; 011-44-207-769-7766), and luxury travel advisors are welcome to contact her about bookings in either property. Rius-Perez revealed exclusively to Luxury Travel Advisor there are three new treatment rooms and an exciting partnership between Jiva, the Taj’s spa brand, and Temple Spa, a U.K. brand planned in the spa space. Not to miss: Dinner in Quilon, the Michelin-starred restaurant that features dishes from the Southwest coast, tasting menus are the way to go here; our group wanted a mix of vegan and meat dishes, some of the most flavorful and delicate Indian dishes we’ve ever eaten.