Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
- Recommended for:
- Foodies, Mature travellers, Relaxation, Shopping
Expert review of Connaught
At the Connaught you get the full-on Mayfair luxury experience, from the unruffled top-hat at the door to the second-generation butlers within. I stayed after the hugely expensive refurbishment was complete and, although the place is still traditional, the new bars have given it a much more fashionable edge.
Mount Street was long an august Mayfair shopping street (traditional butcher’s, cigar shop, antiques), but it has now become a centre of cutting-edge fashion (Balenciaga, Louboutin and Marc Jacobs all have shops here). It’s still quiet and reserved, surrounded by green squares and parks (Hyde Park to the west, Green Park to the south), but now attracts hip young things as well as gents and matrons.
The rooms in the original part of the hotel might feel a little overfurnished to visitors brought up on ’90s minimalism, but the details are terrific - from bathroom TVs and discreet wall-mounted call buttons to fresh flowers and the likes of a chinoiserie drinks cabinet with home-cooked crisps. There was even a torch thoughtfully tucked into a bedroom drawer on my last visit. Rooms facing Adams Row have more explicitly modern décor.
Sober and old-fashioned, with august portraits and wood-panelling on the walls, 23-carat gold leaf detailing and sober striped carpets on the mahogany stairs. The room handbook even offers a ‘secured gun cabinet room’ for licensed firearms - no wonder the hotel’s logo is a hunting hound. The Connaught has clearly struck a careful balance between traditional and more modern guests: mobile phones (‘portable telephones’ in the handbook) are prohibited in the restaurants, but the hotel provides guests with free mobiles to use off the premises.
Hélène Darroze runs the Michelin-starred restaurant and Espelette, an airy conservatory fronting on to Mount Street. You’ll eat your breakfast in the latter, but it also serves as a brasserie. The hotel’s two new bars are excellent: the Connaught is masculine in black deco with silver metal highlights, while the Coburg is comfy with drawing room armchairs brought up to date with Julian Opie portraits. Both serve perfect cocktails with a little recipe card souvenir to remind you what you drunk. The Coburg is small and popular with outside custom, so it’s often full of post-work drinkers from 6pm. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are quiet.
A new wing contains the Aman Spa, where exotic treatments include Thai massage and a red clay body wrap with Navajo herbs, and a gym, indoor pool and steam room. You can book yoga sessions or a personal trainer, or just work out on the kinesis machines to an ambient soundtrack.
From the top-hatted doorman under the wrought-ironwork above the entrance to the tail-coated butlers (the butler for my room represented the third generation in the job) service is careful, deferential and traditional: they’ll unpack for you, rent you a film, fix your computer, shine your shoes or pack you a hamper for Royal Ascot.
The Connaught, like the Dorchester, faces a difficult balancing act, appealing to an interesting mix of generations-old repeat customers and hip young things. Sometimes the latter are the children (even grandchildren) of the former. Both cocktail bars are popular with locals.
More information on Connaught:
- Price from:
- Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
- Business Centre, Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service