Taking a stroll through Hyde Park from Knightbridge to Lancaster Gate, the Royal Lancaster Hotel looms impressively (or unattractively depending on your taste) as easily the tallest building in sight. Built in 1967 and designed by famous architect Richard Seifert – who may be responsible for more of London’s skyline than any other architect – it is unashamedly Brutalist. But take a look beyond it’s concrete exterior and this independent hotel is all elegance, comfort and personal service. Celebrating it’s 50th anniversary in 2017, and undergoing a complete refurbishment, the Royal Lancaster is the ideal spot for a staycation with possibly the most stunning views in the capital.
With over 411 rooms and suites the Royal Lancaster has something for every customer. Our 18th floor Studio Suite was a gorgeous art-deco delight; the sort of room you could happily hole up in and not leave for the whole of your stay. Which is fitting, given the times, and highly encouraged as the Royal Lancaster go above and beyond to deliver all their dining menus directly to you ‘in room’.
Mirrored walls reflect the abundance of natural light making the already generous space feel even bigger. Windows that take up an entire wall give you a view deserves it’s very own mention; it is quite simply breath-taking, stretching over Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and beyond right to the City. I challenge anyone visiting the Royal Lancaster for anything other than committed down-time, to tear their eyes away from the view to get any work done!
There was a large seating area with sumptuous teal coloured sofa and armchair and a fabulous deskspace to work. On hand luxuries include a Smart TV, numerous USB hubs, Nespresso coffee machine and even yoga matts! The large and lavish white marble bathroom features a large bath, walk-in shower and generous stock of White Company toiletries.
And finally for those still feeling the need to socially distance (even from partners) the beds are enormous, at exactly 2 metres! Perhaps it was the relief at sleeping anywhere other than my own home for the last 6 months, but I prefer to think it was the luxurious cotton sheets and deep mattress at the Royal Lancaster that gave me the best sleep I’d had in months.
Out and about
Not currently encouraged of course (as I said, the rooms are nice enough to never leave until check out), but if you are in the mood to get out and about…a short stroll West gets you to the delights of both Notting Hill and Holland Park. Walk East to Marble Arch and the vibrancy of Oxford Street or amble South through the park and find yourself in Kensington or Knightsbridge. Of course the rest of London is within easy reach, with Lancaster Gate tube station right next door.
The Royal Lancaster has quite the range of dining options (though at the time of writing these are very much restricted to particular days and times during the week, and some are completely unavailable).
Nipa Thai offers an authentic taste of Thai cuisine; we sampled and enjoyed some of the current reduced menu from head chef Sanguan’s menu. During non-Covid times there is also the Park Grill serving classic English fare, and the option to take Afternoon Tea. The Park Lounge Bar is available for a classic cocktail or other tipple of choice, and the extremely lovely Park Restaurant serves an excellent breakfast (the buffet has been changed to an a la carte for the current circumstances).
Hard to say when crowds aren’t encouraged or necessarily visible. But our fellow diners at breakfast seemed an international bunch, and very laidback. The Royal Lancaster doesn’t project any stuffiness and feels welcoming to any variety of tourist, so it I would imagine it would be as good a fit for families as couples and beyond.
The worst thing
Room service wasn’t maybe as swift or smooth as it could have been. Sometimes several calls were needed before finding the right extension and ‘call backs’ didn’t always materialise. But the times aren’t exactly usual and I can only imagine the current stresses for staff members.
The best thing
That view from that room – sheer heaven!