Just before the opening of the Belmond Cadogan Hotel at the end of February, Luxury Travel Advisor had tea and a private tour of the new 54-room property with general manager Klaus Kabelitz. After a $48 million renovation, the hotel is looking splendid with its facade from 1887 painstakingly restored along with some original interior design details—stone fireplaces, mosaic floors and 130-year-old wood paneling—while the rest was completely rebuilt with English heritage flair. Plush guestrooms in jewel tones, balanced with calming neutrals and modern art have views over Cadogan Place Gardens, offering spacious living rooms with dining areas and our favorite: Generous marble bathrooms with deep, freestanding baths featuring a specially designed champagne glass and book holder. With private access to the hotel through 21 Pont Street and a key to Cadogan Place Gardens, guests feel like proper Chelsea residents but better, as all the food and drinks are overseen by London’s wunderkind chef, Adam Handling. Nestled amid London’s most fashionable shopping, celebrated culture and beautiful gardens, it’s easy to see why Klaus is so proud to show off the hotel has been working to bring to life since 2015.
What inspires you most about the hotel?
The history of the property. Belmond Cadogan Hotel is a London legend reborn. Throughout the decades, the hotel has always provided international travelers and Londoners alike with an impeccable retreat with a tradition of serving piping-hot tea and an escape from the busy city, and, you see, we have brought that back to life! Also, the literary and historical social connections has influenced the design and feel of the hotel. We have made a tribute in the Royal Suite (room No. 101), which, historically, was room No. 118, where Oscar Wilde was famously arrested—and beyond that, we have curated a selection of local books throughout the property and even created a decorative bespoke bronze "library" from 600 books in the elevator waiting area of the lobby. My favorite fun fact is that the Pont Street side of the hotel was once the entry to Lillie Langtry’s home—she was a socialite, actress and the also the mistress of Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII. There are nods too to Lillie Langtry’s time at the hotel through delicate gold leaf wall sconces in some of the guestrooms, featuring her calling card of the royal feathers. Her former room is now room No. 106.
What are the best guestrooms in the hotel?
I think they’re all gorgeous and each have unique benefits…views or fireplaces, terraces, special dressing areas! If you make me choose one, I do love room No. 101, 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. Also, I love room No. 208, a one-bedroom suite with a big bathroom featuring a wooden built-in a wardrobe and dressing area. The most VIP option is the Penthouse Suite on the fifth floor, which has 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.
What about the food (and drinks)?
We hope to be place that welcomes both hotel guests and our Chelsea neighbors, which is why we are thrilled to partner with one of London’s most talented and hottest young chefs, Adam Handling, who already has the successful Frog restaurants and bars in Soho and Hoxton; his food is delicious, and we love his ethos—local and sustainable. Adam has won many awards and he’s only just 30 years old. He has created all the menus, including a special high tea, room service and even the drinks in the mini-bar; and he will also oversee the food in our 60-person private dining room. The bar/restaurant has an entrance on Sloane Street for direct access, and you actually have to walk through the kitchen to get to the dining room. We have a variety of chefs tables, so the dining experience will be really interactive.
Are there plans for a spa or fitness center?
We are incredibly lucky to have access to the 93-acre Cadogan Estate Gardens, one of the largest and most beautiful private garden squares in London. We will be hosting yoga and fitness classes; guests can also access the private tennis courts and a well-equipped playground for kids. We can also arrange personal training and will have a small gym and spa treatment area.
The hotel is well-positioned in Chelsea, what are your favorite places to go around here?
Honestly, guests are spoiled for choice. You literally have Harrods and Harvey Nichols less than a 10-minute walk [away], and all the top luxury boutiques along your way up Sloane Street. If you head the other way, toward Sloane Square, there are lots of interesting boutiques that are unique to London on Pavilion Road. The local culture is incredible too: Cadogan Hall for classical music recitals and the Royal Court Theatre for modern art—there’s the Saatchi Gallery, also less than 10 minutes on foot. [There are] great restaurants and bars; our head concierge Toru Machida ([email protected]), can help with. He’s joined us from The Savoy, and has all the best connections.
But, really, where do you personally like to hang out around here?
I love the independent bookshop, John Sandoe, which has something like 30,000 different books! It’s an amazing place to shop and unique to London. A new neighborhood restaurant I’m excited about is Hans Bar & Grill on Pavilion Road, by the same people behind Cliveden and Chewton Glen. For a lively local pub, I like the Antelope behind Sloane Square.
Anything else you’re excited about?
Yes, after working at many top hotels in London over the last 37 years—from The Berkeley and Claridge's to the Four Seasons on Park Lane—I’m most looking forward to the intimacy of being in a property with just 54 rooms, where I personally will get to know every guest.