The London Marriott Hotel Park Lane is an unexpected gem. As well as its sterling position on Hyde Park Corner at Marble Arch, its recent revamp is a triumph and a world away from the corporate spec you might expect from a hotel giant such as Marriott.
In this corner of London, any five-star hotel has to compete with the big-hitters: Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Dorchester are all on your doorstep. So, says Marriott, this extensive renovation aims to reposition itself as “the luxury hotel of choice in Mayfair”. No mean task – but you won’t be disappointed.
Step inside the imposing Grade II listed building and you’ll be greeted with a beautifully light and airy entrance lobby. Marble flooring, soft dove grey leather chairs and lavender accents give a glamourous, positively gleaming effect. Sunglasses are a must! The opulent touch continues throughout the 152 rooms, with the highlight being the five new suites.
Ours was channelling a 1930s Hollywood Glamour look with thick, silver satin curtains framing the views (tip: ask for a room overlooking the park), mottled-mirrored wardrobes and a marble-topped Art Deco-style bar. (I half expected to see Fred Astaire reclining on the chaise longue.) Lush, purple carpet with a hexagonal pattern added a modern dimension and the light-grey wood-panelled walls were the perfect backdrop for an eclectic collection of bright-pops of art – naïve pencil prints, swirling oil paintings and Picasso-esque dancing girls.
While many big-brand, five-star hotels go for a tasteful yet neutral ‘one look fits all’ décor, RPW Design, the specialists who conceived the look, have pulled out all the stops with their multi-layered, textural approach to interior design. Rich purple sofas with mustard yellow pillows, baby-soft grey leather ottomans and bulbous glass lamps added colour and bags of personality. And the happy vibe continued with the lovely attention to detail: white linens with an elegant silver trim, a plate of pastel-coloured macaroons waiting on arrival and piles of decadent, silk pillows. “The aim was to bring out the English heritage of the Francis Verity-designed building,” says RPW Design’s managing director Jan Wilson, “so that we achieved an intimate, residential feel.”
This sense of Britishness is played out with chic Floris toiletries, a collection of British artwork throughout the hotel and a traditional artisan shoe shine service by The Jaunty Flâneur.
Over-complicated technology in hotel rooms is another faux pas often made by big-name brands wanting to impress. Again, Marriott has got this spot-on with hi-tech but simple-to-use lighting and heating functions (the self-cleaning, heated toilet gets a special mention, too). Mobile check-in is quick and efficient and for those wanting to retreat from the hubbub of central London The Club offers a steam room, gym and the only pool on Park Lane.
The restaurant Lanes of London adds to the feel that this is a hotel wanting to stamp its personality on the area. Elegant interiors (think soft leather banquettes, glass dividing walls to create cosy corners and bare tables) take this far away from a corporate image. The concept is based around a ‘seasonal British larder’ but it all tastes better than that sounds! It’s simple food well done – so start your meal with rustic game terrine or confit salmon, followed by wild boar Stew or roast hake with cockles. It’s refined, comfort cuisine echoing the refined, comfort of the hotel itself. A quiet triumph.
London Marriott Hotel Park Lane, 140 Park Lane, Mayfair W1K 7AA, +44 (0)20 7493 7000. Rates start from £399 per room, per night. For more information, visit www.LondonMarriottParkLane.co.uk.