WHAT’S IT LIKE? This ten-floor, luxury Como Hotels and Resorts property opened in 1997 and despite my expectations of it being very glitzy and glamorous, it was actually quite understated. The entrance is fairly discrete but doormen are always on hand to help with luggage, and stepping inside brings you to reception desks directly ahead. To the right is the Met bar and to the left the lobby lounge, with simple light décor and comfy seating.
I was welcomed by a friendly member of staff and shown to my room, where I was told about the amenities on offer and asked if I wanted the door to my balcony unlocked. I said I did and was told someone would return with a key but they must have forgotten as they never did.
WHERE IS IT? Nestled between Mayfair and Knightsbridge, and overlooking Hyde Park, it’s a short distance from Piccadilly, Park Lane, and Hyde Park Corner and Green Park tubes. If you in central London on business, you can’t do much better geographically. The Gatwick Express operates from Victoria station, which is a 20-minute walk away, or five to ten minutes in a taxi.
ROOM FACILTIES All rooms feature mauve carpets, light-wood furnishings and newly revamped bathrooms (except those on levels six and seven, which have yet to be completed and are in olive green). The new-look offerings are fresh and modern with white tiles, heated towel racks, rainshowers and Shambala bathing products that smell great. Other features include white Samsung flatscreen TVs, good-size workdesks, iron/ironing boards, wardrobes, safes, slippers, and well stocked minibars with everything in them from drinks, sweets and snacks to antiseptic hand gel, pain killers and energy tablets. About 75 per cent of rooms face the park.
My Metropolitan room also came with a Bose sound-dock and a long sofa under the large windows. The room itself was a good size but was somewhat sparse. Minimalism is fine but somehow this just looked plain. The bed was comfy though and wifi access is free in all bedrooms and public areas.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 150 rooms across nine categories, which include 28 City (29 sqm), 51 Deluxe City (33 sqm) and 41 Metropolitan rooms (33 sqm), nine 35 sqm Park Studios, ten 44 sqm City Studios, eight 47 sqm Park suites, a 53 sqm Superior Park, a 77 sqm Deluxe Park and a 110 sqm Como suite on the tenth floor.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The Bose sound-dock, well-stocked minibar, comfy bed and large balcony facing the park.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The drinking and dining options are calling cards for the property, but you will need to make reservations well in advance if you want to get a table at Nobu, and although the Met bar is essentially a private members club, hotel guests can gain entry.
Nobu, founded by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and presided over by executive chef Mark Edward, is a Michelin-starred eatery specialising in Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Despite it’s awe-inspiring reputation, the interior is light and airy with simple furniture and pale walls. But then it’s the food you come for.
The Met bar is popular with people working in the creative industries and is open from 11am for coffees, light bites and drinks. From 3pm-6pm the “afternoon de-light” menu (£25 per person) is available – an avant-garde twist on the British afternoon tea, it consists of sweet and savoury cupcakes, fruit scones, no-bread sandwiches, fresh fruit purees and iced tea. In the evening, the bar serves top-notch cocktails in luxurious surroundings – take a seat on a red-leather banquette and enjoy DJs or live cabaret.
A quick take-away breakfast (juice, tea/coffee and pastries) is available from reception, or a la carte in the White room. Room service and Nobu bento boxes can be ordered to your room.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are five meeting spaces including the White room, which can host 30 people boardroom-style and has natural daylight coming through an overhead atrium, the 68 sqm Met Space for 50 delegates standing, the 23 sqm Met Boardroom that seats 14, the ten sqm Met Lounge, and the 21 sqm Met Studio. All these venues offer a blank canvas for modest events, with light contemporary décor, and good technical facilities.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is a 24-hour gym in the basement with Life Fitness machines and access to a personal trainer who is available to take guests jogging in Hyde Park, plus a small spa with steam rooms and two treatment rooms offering Como Shambala Asian-inspired massages and facials.
VERDICT A very well-located business hotel in central London, with excellent drinking and dining options, professional staff and well equipped bedrooms. Expect to pay a premium, however, as it’s not cheap.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in June started from £374 for a City room. Keep an eye on the website for promotions.
CONTACT Metropolitan, Old Park Lane, London; tel +44 (0)20 7447 1063; metropolitan.london.como.bz