The Wellesley Hotel, London
The Wellesley Hotel opened in January 2013 and is the latest addition to Knightsbridge’s luxury hotel scene. It is aiming to be the first six-star hotel in London.
With only 36 suites, sleek Art Deco styling, and a prime location in one of the world´s greatest cities, London, a stay at the Wellesley offers a taste of unrivalled high-end glamour – a perfect combination of period decor and contemporary comfort, in an intimate townhouse hotel.
The hotel offers the finest in everything, from super-comfortable Hypnos beds, with their royal seal of approval – By Appointment to HM The Queen, to a complementary Rolls-Royce service for hotel guests.
The tiled facade offers a clue to the hotel’s architectural heritage: this building was Hyde Park Corner underground station on the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway, opened on 15 December 1906; the oxblood-red tiles were a hallmark of architect Lesley Green (many of his stations are still in use over a century later, complete with the distinctive tiles, such as Covent Garden). The building was decommissioned in the 1930s when escalators from the street were installed in place of lifts, and was most recently home to the Pizza on the Park restaurant.
Interior designers Fox Linton, who are also behind One Aldwych, have created an edgy, luxurious 1920s Art Deco style, to match the building’s history. The hotel has copious amounts of glamorous movie star photographs on its walls - black and white and early colour prints from the 1920s, carefully selected from the Conde Nast Vogue collection. You can see these wonderful images throughout the hotel, both in public areas and guest rooms.
The opulent Jazz Lounge, with its dusty pink velvet drapes and cascading crystals inspired by a dress from Coco Chanel, offers live piano music and weekend jazz concerts. In this same venue, in its Pizza on the Park era, legends such as George Melly and London’s very own Amy Winehouse performed.
The Oval restaurant offers just ten tables - intimate and beautifully designed, with marble, crystal and glass.
This is England with its temperate climate, so the rooms are cosy with luxurious deep-pile carpets; butlers are on hand to unpack your cases; and thanks to the fastest WiFi in town, and good-sized desks with both British and European power sockets, your working environment is hassle-free and comfortable. Free-standing marble bathtubs, 1920s vanity units, Hermes toiletries and huge walk-in showers make you feel suitably pampered.
Two outdoor smokers’ terraces have open fireplaces and the finest cigars in the world on offer. The specifically designed humidor holds over £1.5 million-worth of the world’s finest cigars. One of the cigar world’s greatest aficionados, Giuseppe Ruo, is on hand until the small hours to advise you personally on your selection of cigars and cocktails from the elegant Crystal bar, including 300-year-old brandies bought at auction, which adorn the shelves. This is a unique space in London, where smoking is not only permitted, but positively encouraged, in a relaxed outdoor terrace.
Many of the rooms have superb unrestricted views to the ever-changing seasons of Hyde Park, where guests can even catch a daily glimpse of the scarlet-red-liveried Household Calvary on horseback, majestically crossing the park for the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
Fresh flowers adorn the hotel, every stem carefully selected and placed by the excellent team at Academy of Flowers in Covent Garden.
There is an Italian influence throughout, with Italian General Manager Stefano Lodi at the helm; Executive Chef Stefano Stecca recreating everything from the most exquisite Italian dishes, to items reminiscent of the former Pizza on the Park restaurant; and the aforementioned Humidor Manager Giuseppe, who will share smokey secrets and fill your world with cigar connoisseurs’ anecdotes.
All in all a luxurious venue, with a complimentary chauffeur-driven Rolls, where smoking is chic, and the bygone era of 1920s jazz and glamour is revived.