Nestled in the heart of London’s vibrant Mayfair district, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is one of London’s few family-run 5 star hotels, beckoning discerning visitors from around the world, from world leaders to Hollywood celebrities and other eminent guests. So popular is the hotel with the rich and famous that even Steven Spielberg installed an editing suite in one of the residences here while working on ET and Indiana Jones.
As I approach the hotel’s majestic Art Deco façade, adorned with a Living Wall of lush greenery made up of 280 plants and framed by elegant Georgian townhouses, there’s a sense of anticipation that lies ahead with this cherished landmark effortlessly harmonising traditional splendour with modern innovation.
Once beyond the stately entrance, I’m checked in by Gabil and kindly informed as I’m led towards the lift that I’ve been upgraded to a room on the 7th floor.
I stayed in Room 704, a Park View Bay Window Room that overlooks Green Park. The room itself was a symphony of exquisite design – an oasis of tranquillity positioned high above the bustling city. Rich fabrics, plush furnishings, a bay window with a couple of relaxing chairs and splashes of deep sea green evoke an ambiance of timeless elegance, while state-of-the-art amenities (LG TV, coffee machine, fridge, safe and high speed WiFi) seamlessly blend with classic touches. Whether you choose a luxurious suite overlooking Green Park or a stylish residence with ample space to unwind, you’ll find a sanctuary that invites relaxation and rejuvenation.
My bathroom provided me with everything I needed – a bath with a shower over it, basin and WC – offering ample space, but looking bigger still thanks to an abundance of mirrors.
Molton Brown hand soap and body lotion could be found by the basin, along with a shaving mirror, sewing kit, vanity kit and shower cap, whilst over the bath were Molton Brown’s wonderfully-scented Reviving Rosemary shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
A highlight of any stay at the hotel is dining at 116 at The Athenaeum, a contemporary, British restaurant, featuring seasonal menus championing the very best local, sustainable produce.
The tasting menu is not to be missed and begins with a celebration of the season’s bounty with English asparagus, peas, spring onion, butter sauce and parsley, cooked so that it still has a bit of crunch and with flavours that mingle harmoniously.
Next, I indulged in a delicious blend of flavoursome seafood with the confit of smoked haddock, togorashi, crab mousse and an apple ponzu mignonette sauce.
This is followed by a wonderfully rich glazed Dingley Dell pork belly, accompanied by apple, black pudding, and smoked aligot potato. Pork belly is something I would usually steer away from on a menu as I find it’s a little too fatty sometimes – not so on this occasion.
As you near the finale, a dessert made to look like a large cherry is in fact a black Manjari mousse adorned with Amarena namelaka and a delicate white chocolate soil.
The fifth and final course to tantalise the palette was the earthy Golden Cross goats’ cheese, truffled fig and seeded cracker. And all this at the remarkable price of only £50 per person.
The hotel also has its own spa where expert therapists offer both traditional and holistic therapies, allowing you to restore balance and revitalise your body and mind.
The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences stands as the perfect base to immerse yourself in all that London has to offer, while also providing a sanctuary of tranquillity to retreat to after a day of exploration. Step outside the hotel’s doors, and Green Park is literally just across the road. From world-renowned landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the bustling streets of Oxford Circus to the lush greenery of London’s green spaces, the cultural and historical treasures of London are within easy reach thanks to the hotel’s location just a 5-minute walk from Green Park Underground station (which provides convenient accesss to the Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee lines).
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Other nice touches
At The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, the art of hospitality extends far beyond the expected. Not only did I check in with a keycard crafted from wood sourced from sustainable forests, but in my elegantly appointed room was an unbrella for use during my stay, a complimentary minibar stocked with a few treats and a beautifully arranged plate of fresh fruit, not to mention some a small box of indulgent chocolate truffles accompanied by a hand-written welcome note from the General Manager for that added personal touch.
For that extra indulgent touch, why not take advantage of the luxury Royal Parks Picnic from The Athenaeum, for you to enjoy at any of the hotel’s neighbouring Royal Parks. Simply pre-order, collect your basket and blanket at the hotel, and find a sunny spot just across the road in Green Park for an al fresco treat.
Rooms start from £408 per night.
The best bit
The tasting menu at 116 at The Athenaeum was not only an enjoyable dining experience, but an extraordinary offering at just £50 per person. I challenge anyone to find anywhere else in the heart of Mayfair where you can embark on a culinary journey that will captivate your taste buds and delight your senses at such exceptional value.
The final verdict
The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is the perfect getaway for business or pleasure. Its pretigious location, comfortable rooms and quite remarkable tasting menu offering, combined with a professional staff and informal ambience, make it surely one of London’s most inviting 5-star hotels. Think of it as a gateway to the heart and soul of London – a place where cherished memories are made and timeless elegance is celebrated.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by The Athenaeum.