Somewhere to stay: The Cadogan hotel, London
Intrigue and discreet luxury in the heart of Knightsbridge. Bernadette Fallon checked in...
What’s the hotel like?
A genteel boutique hotel on fashionable Sloane Street in the heart of stylish Knightsbridge. All finger sandwiches, soft lamplight, over-stuffed armchairs and ladies who lunch, no doubt? Well yes – but as well as being a place to rest the designer shopping bags, the hotel has a racy past.
In its 125-year history it has been home to Lillie Langtry, mistress of King Edward VII, and the London address of Oscar Wilde, who was arrested in room 118 and brought to trial for gross indecency. More recently the room has played host to Colin Firth and Rupert Everett as they prepared for their roles in the film adaption of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. But despite my best efforts I couldn’t book the room – someone had beaten me to it.
‘A thump and a murmur of voices – (‘Oh why must they make such a din’)
As the door of the bedroom swung open
And two plain clothes policemen came in:
‘Mr Woilde, we ‘ave come for tew take yew
Where felons and criminals dwell:
We must ask yew tew leave with us quoietly
For this is the Cadogan Hotel.’
‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at The Cadogan Hotel’ by Sir John Betjeman
What’s the bedroom like?
Room 118 I can’t tell you about, though from its photo it looks very nice, decked out in masculine blue (would Oscar have approved?). The carpet from his room to mine looks like one he might just well have walked on all those years ago. But inside, my room is a lovely blend of old-world and modern – charming dark wood furniture, plump tweed sofa, oak floorboards and vintage photography alongside a digital radio and iPod dock, flatscreen TV and glossy magazines on the bedside table. There’s an iron and ironing board in the wardrobe as well as a hairdryer; no tea-making facilities but a quick call to reception was all it took to have a fully equipped tray sent up – more teabags were graciously delivered later that night.
How’s the bed?
Big and comfortable; a deceptively thin-looking duvet is sufficiently warm, must be some sort of tog magic.
What’s in the bathroom?
Definitely nothing from Oscar’s time – it’s all marble-tiled and recessed halogen lights with a big double-ended bath and large drench shower. There are the usual toiletries – shampoo and conditioner – plus cosmetic pads, emery board, shower caps, and – very nice - fluffy bathrobes.
A chauffeur-driven car is available on request, as are fresh flowers, picnics for the park, services of a 24-hour concierge, and a key for the private Cadogan Gardens across the road. A complimentary Telegraph will be delivered to your room in the morning. You’re in Knightsbridge now.
What about eating and drinking?
Great Taste at The Cadogan Restaurant is closed for evening dinner when we visit, though the lounge is doing a bustling afternoon tea business (£22.50 per person, £28.50 with a glass of champagne), bar food is also available. To mark 150 years of the London Underground, the bar has just created the ‘Piccadilly Line’ cocktail; a blend of lemon juice, elderflower cordial, apple juice, Champagne and blue curaçao (£13.95).
There’s no holding your own hot plate over the breakfast buffet – the indelicacy of it! – instead hot breakfasts are cooked to order from an extensive menu that includes full English, pancakes, any-way eggs, smoked salmon bagels and more. Everything is separately priced – including the help-yourself bread, cereal and fruit buffet in the centre of the pretty room, with its decorative panelling, cornices and chandeliers. (Breakfast from £5 per person.)
What isn’t! Fashionable London is right on your doorstep, with Prada, Chanel, Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana further along Sloane Street, Harvey Nichols and Harrods at the end of the road. Or head for Sloane Square and the Kings Road for more high-end boutiques, plus upmarket restaurants and bars. For culture you’re on the edge of South Kensington with its Victoria and Albert, Natural History and Science Museums. Kensington Gardens, with the Palace and Serpentine, is nearby, as is Hyde Park – continue on to Buckingham Palace and The Mall.
Information and prices
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