Hotel Café Royal might only be six years old, but the building where it is housed dates back to 1865, and started its life as a restaurant by French wine merchant Daniel Nicols. In its culinary heyday, it hosted greats such as Oscar Wilde (after whom one of the restaurants is named), Princess Diana, Virginia Woolf, and more.
Its current incarnation as a 160-room hotel is still a celebrity magnet, as it offers utmost privacy, peerless service, and an unbeatable location—it sits where Regent Street and Leicester Square meet. It's also a short distance away from the buzzing enclaves of Soho and Mayfair, so you are always surrounded by great restaurants, bars, shops and theatres.
While the stone façade and the copper dome rotunda have been preserved, the interiors have been given the David Chipperfield treatment, and are a modern counterpoint to the traditional exteriors. Ready your phone for those Instagram updates, as whimsical touches are a delight to photograph, like the vintage-looking wooden elevator that comes with a stained glass door, and has a semi-circular dial with a triangular shaped hand indicating the floor you’re on.
Do Not Disturb
Upon check-in, the hotel generously upgraded us to the Regent Suite, which sits on the fourth floor of this five-storey heritage building. The living room and the bedroom are thoughtfully separated, so you can enjoy your downtime, rest, and respite in a dedicated zone.
From the windows you can view the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus, and in the distance, you will spot the gothic towers of Westminster Abbey, marking your quintessential British sojourn. Despite its bustling location, the room is incredibly quiet and you can’t hear a peep from the street.
The room is delightfully appointed with design-centric elements, like couches in millennial pink and mint green; lamps that can be switched on and off with a simple wave of the hand; and a luxuriously decadent Carrara marble bathroom.
Speaking of which, we would happily spend the entire evening in the bathroom if the magic of London wasn’t beckoning—we promise, we’re not fetishists, we just loved the stark contrast of the marble bathtub sitting in the middle of the minimal space, highlighted by the wooden and copper fixtures.
Food & Drink
When in London, do like the Londoners, and unwind for the day with a refreshing glass of G&T. The Green Bar is not to be missed for its extensive selections of Botanicals and Tonics that are inspired by the Café Royal cocktail book from 1937.
With a glass of Elephant gin in hand, infused with lemongrass and Thomas Henry Indian tonic, we rested our tired feet and watched the bar come alive as Londoners and tourists traipsed in from Regent Street for pre-prandial cocktails.
If you enjoy people-watching, enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Papillon restaurant, which overlooks the crowd on Regent Street.
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