When it comes to luxury hotel groups, Belmond is one of the world’s best. With properties such as historic Mount Nelson in Cape Town, foodie heaven Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire and the elegant Villa San Michele in Florence among its hotels, it’s safe to say Belmond knows a thing or two about style and substance.
Cadogan is the group’s small London residence with a glorious gossip-filled past, located a stone’s throw from Sloane Square and Knightsbridge and therefore all the attractions of Chelsea and central London.
During its 135-year history, the hotel has played host to a wealth of famous faces – and it was there that writer Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1885 after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry. Lillie Langtry, an actress, socialite and – most sensationally – the mistress of the future King Edward VII, was also often seen enjoying the hospitality of The Cadogan.
Service is king at the hotel with 54 rooms, and the staff will do everything for their guests. For example, someone went out of their way to get my daughter a new teddy from Harrods when she arrived, which she (well, I) promptly named Caddy after the hotel. Often in a crowded hotel market in London, the personal touches really make a difference.
The super comfortable and homely rooms are all stylishly but lavishly furnished, like the rest of the hotel. And you’ll dine like a king in their fabulous modern European restaurant, The LaLee. It’s also home to the hotel bar, which offers killer negronis – trust me!
Where is it?
Right in the beating heart of luxury London. The hotel’s nearest Tube station is Sloane Square, which is a three-minute taxi ride or a seven-minute walk away. This of course means it is close to the exclusive and designer shops of the King’s Road, plus Chelsea’s many museums, theaters and art galleries. It is a similar distance to Knightsbridge – home to some of London’s best and more expensive shops, as well as Hyde Park.
It is also, at a good speed, approx. 45 minutes by car to Heathrow Airport.
Cadogan’s style is sympathetic to its heritage and therefore classic, yet modern and glamorous. Housed in a Queen Anne-style building, the hotel underwent a four-year, £40 million renovation about three years ago with the help of Blair Associates Architecture – the firm also behind work on other historic London hotels The Ritz, The Savoy and The Goring. Throughout the works, much effort was put into retaining, highlighting and restoring period details such as the mosaic floor design and 13-year-old wood panelling. It is both homely and impressive.
Although there are only 54 of them, at The Cadogan you are spoiled for choice with different styles of gorgeous rooms and suites to choose from at a range of budgets. We were lucky enough to stay in a suite that boasts amenities such as a king-size bed, a separate living room and a huge marble bathroom with a separate bathtub and luxury toiletries. It was big enough for two adults plus a little lady and all the various things needed when traveling with a five month old.
If you’ve got some money to spend, why not stay in the Royal Suite, or room 118. It’s the room where Wilde was arrested – and is The Cadogan’s most prestigious accommodation, costing around £7,000 a night.
The hotel’s restaurant – The LaLee – pays tribute to the fabulous life and travels of the aforementioned socialite Langtry, who was renowned for her refined taste in sophisticated European cuisine. You’ll find some classics on the menu such as beef tartare and Caesar salad, some of which are served with a touch of theatre. You can also order from LaLee’s to your room, with a limited menu offered 24 hours a day.
Meanwhile, in the hotel’s Maison Lounge, head chef Chris Hill and his team have created a spectacular afternoon tea inspired by the Cadogan Place gardens opposite the hotel. It is served daily from 12pm to 6pm and costs from £60 per person.
Cadogan’s location means it’s perfect for exploring the city – and the hotel’s highly connected and experienced concierge will help you arrange anything you want to do outside the hotel grounds. For some me-time, visitors can escape the city at the spa with Elemental Herbology products and treatments.
If the outdoors is more your thing, you might want to explore Cadogan Gardens, with ornamental planting and sweeping lawns that have remained relatively unchanged since it was established in 1886. You can book a picnic and staff will set up blankets and outdoor games. There are even tennis courts if you feel up for a game.
Apart from the hotel, Belmond is also known for its luxury train adventures. Departing from London Victoria station, which is perhaps a 20-minute walk or 10-minute drive away, the British Pullman trains take gastronomic day trips around the UK or, if you want to travel further afield, why not hop on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and embark on one of the most famous train journeys in the world.
Rooms start from £490 per room, per night for a room including breakfast; belmond.com