Historical art deco hotel with luxury offerings in London's Mayfair is a travel destination in itself
Hotel Insider: Sheraton Grand London Park Lane
The reception desk is tucked away behind large columns on the ground floor, offering a discreet check-in, rather than a large, open-air experience. The seamless check-in took no time and I was quickly off to my room. I was offered assistance with my luggage, but I preferred to take it on my own, and no one insisted or took it anyway, which I appreciated.
Mayfair has got it all: it’s central, beautiful and charming. Set right on Piccadilly, the hotel is a 15-minute walk to Piccadilly Circus and along the way, there is plenty to see. Just before the Green Park Underground station is the newly opened Hide restaurant, which already has one Michelin star, and offers a seasonal menu in a sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere. The Royal Academy of Arts hosts world-class exhibitions and is celebrating its 250th anniversary with Oceania, which continues until December 10. Next door is Burlington Arcade, home to a variety of luxury retailers, including Penhaligon’s perfumers, where you can book a personal scent profiling. Lock & Co on St James’s Street is a 342-year-old hatmaker that offers a bespoke experience in conjunction with the hotel, featuring a guided tour of its historical building, a consultation with a stylist, a hat-themed afternoon tea and your very own hat (which costs from £595; Dh2,800).
It is a luxury hotel with a storied history, which makes it a travel destination of its own. Opened in 1927, the Art Deco-style hotel has a basement ballroom with nine-foot thick walls, and was selected as the back-up location for the parliamentary room in case the Houses of Parliament had been destroyed in the Second World War. The ballroom has been a filming location for movies including GoldenEye, The Danish Girl and The Golden Compass. Queen Elizabeth II is said to have had dancing lessons in the Tudor Rose Room. The hotel’s restoration in 2016 was meticulously detailed to return The Silver Gallery to its original design, from era-consistent carpet colours and patterns to the silver-leafed trimmings.
I enjoyed the spaciousness of a top-floor Club Room, which included a large wardrobe, desk, arm chair, and an exceptional bed, but would have preferred something more sturdy to use to unpack than the small, folding luggage rack. The bathrooms were all originally designed to have natural lighting, and mine included a walk-in rainforest shower and a separate bathtub. But the toiletries were very basic for what I expected of a Club room.
During my third breakfast at Mercante, I was surprised when the hostess – whom I had seen but hadn’t interacted with previously – said my room number to me and immediately escorted me to an open seat. There were some hiccups, though. One morning, I had asked to see the a la carte breakfast menu, which I was told was not included with my room rate, and even though I ended up opting for the buffet breakfast, I was presented with a bill. And when I checked out, I was asked to pay for two days worth of service charges for my breakfast, even though it was included for all three days of my stay. Notably, the hotel is dog-friendly. You can request a Sheraton dog bed; canines can drink specially concocted “dogtails” at the hotel’s Smith & Whistle bar, and every room features sculptures of the hotel’s Dalmatian mascots, as scenes from the 1961 Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians are set across the street at Green Park.
Mercante restaurant is where breakfast (from £25; Dh117) is served, and includes eggs made to order, fresh fruit, yoghurt, pastries, breads, sliced meats, vegetables and hot dishes. There is also an Italian-themed a la carte breakfast menu on offer. An evening meal at Mercante features authentic Italian dishes including sirloin (£26; Dh122), tagliolini cacio e pepe (£18; Dh84) and the grilled aubergine and scamorza cheese (£16; Dh75). Treat yourself to the Lock & Co afternoon tea (from £39; Dh183) at The Palm Court with a comprehensive tea menu for all tastes, and Instagrammable hat-shaped sweets.
The Sheraton bed is a masterpiece. It’s available for purchase online and if I could, I’d have tucked the mattress into my carry-on for the flight home. No jet lag for me; I felt refreshed every morning and ready to explore London.
The television was confusing to navigate and the shower never got quite hot enough for my taste.
It’s an indulgence that stays with you. The location, history and beauty will have your mind wandering its hallways and indeed the streets of Mayfair for weeks afterwards.
Rooms at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane start from £270 (Dh1,280) per night, including Wi-Fi and taxes.