By Scott McGlashan. Editors: Feraz Ahmed & Jose Morales
London – When guests arrive at a Rocco Forte Hotel, they know to expect a high standard of accommodations and customer service. Having previously featured the illustrious Balmoral hotel in the City of Edinburgh, the Guild Magazine Team was keen to experience more of what this family of hotels has to offer. Located in London’s prestigious area of Mayfair, the legendary Brown’s Hotel boasts a prime location, being tucked away from the nearby hustle and bustle of the city. Its distinguished white exterior exudes sophistication, and the mellow lighting sifting through its sash windows provides a glimpse of its welcoming interior. The establishment of Brown’s Hotel praises itself for being one of London’s first hotels and one of its most coveted, with past famous guests such as writer Agatha Christie and Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book.
A quintessentially British doorman, dressed in a traditional brown uniform and top hat, welcomes you through its elegant entrance. The reception of the hotel is where guests first get a glimpse of Rocco Forte’s famous Anglo-Italian style created by Olga Polizzi. The space is exceptionally charming, boasting a domed ceiling, and intricately decorated with an archway of delicate blue and white painted flowers. A crackling fire warms the room, which features dispersed comfortable seating, a central chandelier, and dark wooden paneling, all serving as a nod to the building’s illustrious historical past. This theme is carried out throughout the entire hotel, harmoniously blending traditional elements with chic contemporary additions.
The hotel has a range of ninety-eight classic, executive, and deluxe rooms and seventeen individually designed suites. The Guild Magazine Team stayed in one of the deluxe bedrooms, which offered an inviting open-plan bedroom/sitting area, walk-in wardrobe, desk space, and bathroom. In terms of conventional room sizes in London hotels, this room was extremely spacious, light, and airy. The decor was a little understated compared to the public areas yet still exuded a sophisticated vibe with hints of Rocco Forte’s hues of red, grey, and black. The large windows allow light to flood the room and provide a lovely view overlooking Albemarle Street’s elegant townhouses and the nearby listed buildings off the Victorian Royal Arcade. A wooden-clad walk-in wardrobe offers the perfect storage for your items, and if there are a larger number of guests, this wardrobe can be interconnected with the neighboring room. The spacious bathroom includes twin sinks, a walk-in shower, a bathtub, and a selection of luxury toiletries created by Irene Forte.
The largest suite, aptly named the Kipling Suite due to its connection to Rudyard Kipling, is the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Here you can appreciate wooden floors, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows that also overlook the charming Albemarle Street. The suite includes a stunning sitting room with a fireplace, dining room, and a generous bathroom featuring a freestanding bathtub and walk-in shower; all finished in Arabescato white veined marble. The suite can be interconnected to create a more extensive, four-bedroom suite covering an impressive 280 square meters. The experience of staying in this signature suite is further enhanced by additional perks, including personalized concierge service, hotel transfer, and In-Suite Check-in, just to name a few.
Brown’s Hotel offers an array of places to dine and enjoy a glass of wine or cocktails. The Guild Team opted to dine at Charlie’s, located on the ground floor of the hotel. This spacious restaurant, designed by Olga Polizzi, has a cozy yet elegant feel and even includes botanical wallpaper, which nods back to its connection to Rudyard Kipling, who was rumored to have finished The Jungle Book here. The restaurant is named after the founding Forte, Lord Charlie. Charlie’s offers an array of modern British foods developed by the Michelin-starred chef, Adam Byatt. The starter of seared tuna with green mandarin, charred cucumber, and chili was light and refreshing. This was followed by the succulent Balmoral Venison and the delectable Gateau Opera. The dishes were all reasonably priced for this area of London, mainly when referring to the substantial portions and quality of produce.
Inspired by the late British photographer Terence Daniel Donovan, The Donavan Bar is the hotel’s principal space to enjoy a range of delicious cocktails. The former president of the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild, Salvatore Calabrese, is the man behind the imaginative drinks.
On another note, guests cannot visit Great Britain and not experience the tradition of Afternoon Tea. The Drawing Room at Brown’s Hotel provides the perfect place for a memorable tea experience. Its comfortable seating and relaxed ambiance offer the fitting place to sip on a warming cup of tea and enjoy a delicious scone.
Due to the central location of Brown’s Hotel, guests are never too far away from shops, restaurants, and bars to explore. The nearby historic Royal Arcade provides a sophisticated and niche shopping area. With its impressive selection of designer stores, acclaimed Old Bond Street is a stone throw away, allowing shoppers to purchase several luxurious items with ease. While residing at Brown’s Hotel, guests are also close to other acclaimed attractions such as Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace.
Brown’s Hotel embodies Rocco Forte’s mission of providing luxury accommodations that incorporate the true spirit of its settings. Although the hotel has been renovated to reflect modern times, its historical past is still very much evident, exuding a warmth and soul that is often absent in larger establishments. Although very much a luxury hotel, Brown’s Hotel feels more like an opulent home, exuding a comforting and enveloping quality that is difficult to put into words. This attribute, along with its outstanding staff, beautifully appointed rooms, and attention to detail, entices guests to return again and again. Rocco Forte has created yet another one-of-a-kind hotel, and we at Guild Magazine can not wait to explore more of Rocco Forte’s impressive portfolio of properties around the world. – GM
GUILD MAGAZINE - THE FOOD ISSUE