The first thing to note about the Belmond Cadogan is that this is a place with history. The building was constructed in 1887 and played home to actress and socialite Lillie Langtry, as well as Oscar Wilde, who was famously arrested on site. Now a luxury hotel, there has been no rewriting of its past. Rather, Belmond has celebrated its history, so much so that the room where Oscar Wilde was arrested is now not just a bedroom but part of the Royal Suite. There’s also Oscar, the Swarovski-crystalled peacock in the private dining room – a tribute to Mr Wilde – and the Prince of Wales’ feathers in Lillie Langtry’s original dining room.
Last year, the hotel – owned by Cadogan and managed by Belmond – underwent a significant renovation. Amenities from a spa to a bar were added, but the design stays true to its Queen Anne style – original features can be found in the floral mosaic floor design and wooden panelling in the entrance. Literature plays a key role in the aesthetic and sentiment – libraries have been curated in the bedrooms, thanks to local bookseller John Sandoe Books, and there is a striking sculpture made from 600 books in the lobby.
Two interior design firms, Russell Sage Studios and GA group, were consulted, resulting in a hotel that is warm, yet contemporary and sleek. It is glossy but not stark and inviting but also airy, from the second you enter the lobby.
When it comes to art, British artists lead the way. There are more than 430 pieces of artwork on the walls, with a particular highlight a piece that explores the history of the Cadogan Estate. There’s much to be seen hanging on the walls of the beautiful dining room, which has wonderful cornicing. Food comes from Adam Handling, who runs all food on site, from the bar and restaurant to charming tea lounge, which is perfect for afternoon scones. Dinner is traditional and focuses on the best of British, always with a modern twist. Adam’s cheese doughnuts are greatly renowned, the bread and butter with chicken scratchings is unmissable and presentation is always beautiful. You’ll often spot Adam himself in the open kitchen – it has bar seating, which is a fun way to glimpse into a bustling kitchen. Sunday lunch is a weekly and decadent highlight, served as a buffet with the likes of seafood, charcuterie, classic roasts and sweet treats.
Once satiated, you can make your way to your room. There are 54 bedrooms and all are spacious. Many offer views over Cadogan Place Gardens – which guests also have access to – and the likes of freestanding bathtubs, working fireplaces and in-room bars and tea sets (cosies are knitted by Adam Handling’s mother).
The Penthouse and Royal Suite both have dining rooms, and the chance to experience Adam personally design a bespoke menu for you and your guests. Once you’ve checked in, you’ll never want to leave.
One of the goals of the Belmond Cadogan is for guests to truly feel like a Chelsea resident, rather than a transient tourist. The hotel can pack you a picnic to enjoy in the gardens, or you can play tennis there. A fantastic concierge will not only book top local restaurants and haunts, but also curate bespoke London experiences.
On your return, you’ll be welcomed back by immaculately-dressed staff, clad in uniforms inspired by the swinging ’60s of the King’s Road as the epicentre of fashion, before being enveloped back into the hotel’s cocoon.
It’s a wonderful example of a luxury hotel that has more than found its feet since opening. From service to style, the Belmond Cadogan is ticking all our boxes.
£470 per room per night based on two sharing.
75 Sloane Street
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