When it comes to luxury London hotels, there are few that can transport you to a time long forgotten quite like The Wellelsey. Sitting back off the bustling streets of Knightsbridge, the 1920’s townhouse boasts an art deco aesthetic with the modern amenities of a cosmopolitan city hideaway. Named after Sir Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, The Wellesley is a calming oasis against the bustling city with views of Hyde Park and the luxury shopping district.
Majestic and proud, the historic building is an ode to the golden era – think glistening marble floors, dripping chandeliers, studded ostrich leather and golden embellishment combined with plush sofas, decadent furnishings and grand pianos. Each of the 36 bedrooms are named after celebrated figures of the era, such as Josephine Baker (my suite) and Charlie Chaplin, featuring over-the-top marble bathrooms and a boudoir fit for a movie star. Art deco coffee tables littered with fashion glossies and travel hardbacks are completed with curved sofas, rich purple lamps and skin soft slippers to let you divulge in the utmost luxury.
Far from dated, The Wellesley’s homage to heritage is no museum scene, it possesses all of the mod cons you’d expect from a five-star abode. Neatly concealed, each room has an interactive portable Samsung tablet with city maps, things to do and places to go to give guests a handheld concierge on their days exploring the capital. With an upcoming important meeting, I took advantage of the hotel’s 24-hour butler service and complimentary pressing service (on limited items) and Rolls-Royce drop off service in the morning. Not only was my outfit crisp and neatly stowed away in my wardrobe without so much as a knock at the door, I arrived at my meeting in the most stylish fashion possible.
Although tempting to curl up in my Terry cloth robe and watch the world go by below, the price list of the in-room menu was enough to motivate me to get dressed and explore other eateries the hotel has to offer. Awash with golden tones and the Insta-worthy pink hue we’re all used to seeing on our newsfeed, the 28-cover Oval restaurant is an obvious choice. With Head Chef Sebastiano Cioffi at the helm, its Italian rustica meets fine dining in the subtlest form while the adjacent lounge draws a more lively atmosphere thanks to Live at the Wellesley, the hotel’s series of live jazz performances.
Despite its modest size, The Wellesley has earned the impressive accolade of the largest cigar terrace in Europe, boasting an expansive collection of rare cognacs and whiskies to boot. While this is no doubt a big draw to those partial to a post-dinner smoke, it provokes a slightly less than enthusiastic reaction from non-smokers due to its immediate location off the hotel’s lobby. While walking through an aromatic, woody cloud didn’t bother me, I could sympathise with the nearby asthma sufferer scoffing nearby. But then, what would Charlie Chaplin do?
The Wellesley, 11 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LY, England
Tel: +44 (0)20 7235 3535
The Wellesley is located in Knightsbridge overlooking Hyde Park and just a few steps from Hyde Park Corner Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line. Turn right out of the station and walk under the walkway (Exit 4) and take a right up the ramp towards Knightsbridge and you will see the hotel directly ahead of you on the left-hand side just a couple of doors down from The Lanesborough.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Luxury Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 36 rooms and suites
Price Band: Expensive
Insider Tip: If you can, upgrade to their junior suite for a beautiful terrace area.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Jessica Harris is a UK-based journalist with a background in fashion, beauty and travel journalism
Photographs courtesy of The Wellesley Knightsbridge, a Luxury Collection Hotel