The Met opened in 1997, regularly attracting crowds of celebrities to its member’s only bar, its on-site Nobu restaurant, and stripped back, contemporary aesthetic. In September 2015, however, it was renovated, and reborn as something more grown up.
“The Metropolitan continues to evolve with a shift from its hedonistic past towards a growing emphasis on wellbeing, smooth technology and redesigned luxury accommodation. The mood has changed from the late-night antics once centred around the Met Bar to a more holistic experience that balances work and play while still underpinned by Como’s commitment to passionate service,” read a release at the time.
Como Hotels and Resorts has 12 other hotels, retreats and resorts, including boutique property the Halkin in London, the Como Metropolitan in Bangkok and Como the Treasury in Perth. It also manages the Como Shambhala Estate in Bali.
Como Hotels and Resorts is known for its emphasis on spas and holistic wellness in leisure destinations, bringing elements of this to its city centre locations too. The brand is celebrating its 25th anniversary this November.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Walking into the light, white, airy lobby, you are welcomed by the Como Shambala’s zesty signature scent and a refreshing hot towel at reception for your hands (a nice touch). It was quiet the Sunday afternoon I checked in so it didn’t take long for someone shown to my room on top floor (ten). To the right of the entrance is the Met bar, while the marble lobby itself has lounge area where you can sit with a cup of tea. This was one of my favourite parts of the hotel.
Defining itself as an “urban escape”, the Met’s new interiors were designed by Linzi Coppick of Forme Partnership, which introduced of a fresh palette of light yellow, cream, oatmeal and white, along with the use of American walnut and sycamore timbers in all 144 rooms. Located in a tall, stark block, the hotel is modern, but the new look inside isn’t cutting-edge.
In fact, it’s so safe and neutral it could almost be considered dated (striped silk curtains seem old fashioned) – and I thought they missed a trick not emphasising the Asian connection more. The “rock garden” outside the windows of the penthouse suite was just a collection of pebbles, and yoga mats and orchids were the only other things that suggested a taste of the East. There was no artwork on the walls so a lot of blank space.
WHERE IS IT?
On Old Park Lane, opposite Hyde Park and two minutes’ walk from Hyde Park Corner Tube station (the Piccadilly line connects to Heathrow airport). The Hilton hotel is to one side and the Playboy Club to the other. Knightsbridge and the West End are easily accessible on foot.
There are three types of room (Deluxe City, Metropolitan City and Metropolitan Park), plus seven types of suite (Junior Park, Junior City, City suite, Park suite, Metropolitan suite, Penthouse and Como suite). Views vary depending which side of the hotel you are on, but park views are the best. Rooms start from 29 sqm in size.£335
All floors are nonsmoking except seven and ten (maybe they should ban smoking entirely if health is important to the brand). Standard amenities across all rooms include Nespresso machines, king-sized beds with 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, Loewe interactive TVs, minibars, floor-to-ceiling windows, multi-region plug sockets, air conditioning, yoga mats and TV channel, workdesks with media hubs, hairdryers and safes.
Some rooms have balconies – the window in our room had been left open (dangerous as it’s so high) so staff had to come and lock it – and some have bathrooms with both walk-in rainshowers and separate tubs (although most are combined). There is free wifi throughout the hotel.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The Met bar is now open to the public but I didn’t have a chance to drop by for a drink. I didn’t eat in Nobu either but did have a pleasant breakfast in the White Room, adjacent.
A nice option is the Como Shambhala Healthy Breakfast (£28), which includes a superfruit pomme smoothie, a wheat germ and hazelnut muffin, brown toast, egg white frittata, and either quinoa, pear and cinnamon porridge, fresh fruit salad with yoghurt and Manuka honey or homemade muesli. You can also have a full English or Continental breakfast (but no buffet) and order something to takeaway.
I went for one of the a la carte Como Shambhala Healthy Alternatives – the sprouted bread topped with finely sliced avocado, vine-ripened tomatoes, rocket and lime – and a glass of the house-made Muscle Milk (banana, coconut water, coconut meat, cinnamon, almond milk, flax seeds, dates and cocoa beans). There were lots of other healthy juices and shakes too, which was great after a morning workout.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
Floor three is the events level – the largest room (68 sqm) for hire is the Met Space, for 28 delegates seated. All four meeting spaces have natural light and one connects for breakouts.
There is a small, tranquil spa on level two and a decent basement gym. I was very impressed with the massage I had – the therapist was very intuitive and thoughtful, talking me through the treatment in advance and giving me advice on how to avoid building up tension in my neck and shoulders when working long hours in the office. I felt truly transformed after (and am hard to please).
The Como’s signature sweet honey, lemon and ginger tea they give you after is delicious, and there is a private steam room in one of the treatment suites. The staff were lovely.
Not quite the glamorous hangout it was in the nineties, the Met has become a reliable high-end business hotel in an excellent location. The Como Shambhala connection is a plus.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 144 and suites plus 19 apartments.
HIGHLIGHTS The excellent massages you can book in the spa, the healthy food and drink, the location and great service.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in a Deluxe City room started from £335 in November.
CONTACT Metropolitan by Como, Old Park Lane, London; +44 (0)2o 7447 1000; comohotels.com/metropolitanlondon