LWSY London > Weekending at The Lanesborough, Hyde Park, London
Guided by the refined vision and imagination of the late Alberto Pinto, the finest architects, building specialists, artisans and craftsmen collaborated on the meticulous transformation of The Lanesborough which re-opened in July 2015.
The hotel first opened in 1991, in a building dating back to the Regency Period. It was to be a hotel that set the tone and pace for luxury service and housekeeping. The Lanesborough takes its place within the Oetker Collection offering the highest standards in personal service and attention to detail.
When Alberto Pinto first designed The Lanesborough Suite 5 years ago, he did so with an attention to detail appropriate for a palace. Pinto passed away after having completed the concepts and renderings of each 93 bedrooms and suites and public spaces. The Lanesborough was to be one of his final projects, and a testament to his creative genius.
From then on, Linda Pinto, Alberto’s sister and business partner of 30 years led the creative direction of the renovation of the hotel, and the firm that bears her brother’s name.
The hotel closed it’s doors in the Winter of 2013, with an auction held for much of its contents. The actual task of realising the design of the hotel fell to Amr Mandour who commissioned Angel Interiors, procurement agents Benjamin West, Tower 8 project managers and Beck Interiors who had worked on the original hotel design.
“We had started with the coloured renderings of each public area and the different bedrooms and suites, imagining their ambience. We do fight to make sure what we render truly happens but initially we would have tried to imagine what is feasible.”
The Oetker Collection acquired the hotel in 2015. Given it’s global reputation people are surprised to hear the hotel is only 25 years old. Only 30 years have passed since permission was granted to transform this landmark building into a luxury hotel on land owned by the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estate which once housed St George’s Hospital. Work began in 1988 and the hotel emerged 3 years later. Set between two royal parks and a stones throw from Buckingham Palace.
It is said that a hotel must look inwards every twenty years to what can be preserved, discarded or enhanced, and so the renovation was initiated by Managing Director Mr G. Gelardi in 2013.
Above the entrance and Withdrawing Room
The soft furnishings specified are fit for a palace, as many as 16,000 metres of fabrics were used, jacquards, embroidered silks, wool and linen trimmings, hand-sewn curtains, pelmets, cushions and bedcovers, requiring over 3 million hand stitches.
“Were you to turn the building upside down and shake it, what falls out, we purchased.”
Above, The Buckingham Suite, below, The Royal Suite
Over 42,000 sheets of 23-carat gold leaf were used to decorate the ceilings, created from 500 bespoke ceiling moulds so that no two rooms are the same, Regency colour schemes were used throughout.
We had checked in for a weekend experience. Our room was ready as soon as we’d arrived from the Eurostar terminal. We were swiftly taken to our room, a quite spot at the back of the hotel where our butler William was waiting to introduce us to all the mod-cons our room had to offer. The television was set behind a retracting oil painting, remotes were used for window treatments and various lighting moods are pre-set to lull any international jet lag suffering guest into a deep slumber.
We had grand plans to do nothing, so ordered room service on the in-room tablet, and settled in with the movie channels for the afternoon.
By early evening we ventured downstairs and headed out to Soho to catch up with some friends. We’d decided to save our experience at the restaurant Céleste for the next day.
Presiding over Céleste is Chef Eric Frechon, and Executive Chef Florian Favario offering the hotel a new gastronomic verve. Beneath the original sky dome, the bas relief artwork meticulously cast from 250 different mouldings evokes a sense of authentic regency design.
The Michelin-starred restaurant offers creative, modern food in a space illuminated by day under the domed glass roof which seductively glows by night. From breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, it’s an utterly unique space.
The hotel now has over 3 tonnes of chandeliers and wall lights, all of which are hand-blown in England and polished in Kent with more than 200 arms and 1200 crystal parts. The main chandeliers in Celeste above weigh over 200 kilograms.
Late Sunday breakfast in Céleste
Below The Library Bar
The Library Bar has always been one of the most popular areas at the hotel, the quality of the renovation resides in the details.
Some 5,000 individual stencils were designed and used throughout the once plain panelled walls in the 93 bedrooms and Library Bar above.
Rates in a Superior Room start at £525 for a bed and breakfast package
The Lanesborough, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, London SW1X 7TA, UK
Visit their website here
With thanks to the Oetker Collection for our stay
Reviewed in January 2017