BACKGROUND The Connaught’s history dates back to 1815, when it opened as the Prince of Saxe-Coburg Hotel. It was christened The Connaught as a reference to Queen Victoria’s seventh child Arthur, later Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. It is a part of Maybourne Hotel Group that also owns Claridges and The Berkeley.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Tadao Ando’s Silence water feature — a commission that The Connaught played a significant role in — adorns the hotel’s front. The lobby is warm and inviting. Decorated in soft leather and rich fabrics, a fireplace and mahogany furnishings give it a colonial feel. Mayfair-based Guy Oliver and the late David Collins are architects from Ireland who have refurbished the accommodation at the hotel. An evident amalgamation of contemporary with classic elegance reminiscent of the building’s original Adam-style (an 18th-century neoclassical style) interiors is observed. There is original art placed throughout the hotel’s walls and public spaces. About 3,000 pieces have been expertly curated, including works of artists such as Graham Sutherland and Barbara Hepworth.
WHERE IS IT? At the heart of London’s Mayfair Village. It stands on the corner of Mount Street and Carlos Place. London Heathrow is 50 minutes away. Bond Street station is a 10-minute walk.
ROOM FACILITIES This 121-key property includes 34 suites. Each accommodation offers a personal butler, beds dressed in fine Italian linen, mood lighting, a 32-inch plasma TV and original pieces of art. Marble bathrooms are equipped with a plasma TV and a walk-in shower. I stayed at the Guy Oliver-designed Eagles Lodge suite (46 sqm), a nautically inspired space that resembles the cabin of an opulent 1930s yacht. It features white and navy blue bed linen, oil paintings of sailing ships and windows that overlook London’s skyline. In the mornings, I quite enjoyed watching the bustle of Mayfair from my living room as I sipped on tea and read the news. Each of the hotel’s signature suites are unique — some of them include The Prince’s Lodge (ornate Islamic design) suite, The Terrace (featuring the largest terrace in Mayfair) suite and The Library (luxe space for book-lovers) suite.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS I enjoyed a meal at Jean-Georges at The Connaught, an informal gourmet dining restaurant that serves British classics and signature Southeast Asian flavours. On the menu was a well-done beef tenderloin steak with roasted carrots and miso mustard sauce that I relished with a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Château La Coste in Provence, France. Breakfast is also served here. French chef Hélène Darroze has an intimate two Michelin-starred restaurant at the hotel called Hélène Darroze at The Connaught. The Connaught Bar, The Coburg Bar and Champagne Room (featuring rare wines and spirits) are the hotel’s lounges.
MEETING FACILITIES An iconic function space — The Mayfair Room (151 sqm) — is regarded as the first ballroom to be built in Mayfair. Other venues include Maple Room (99 sqm), Regency Room (40 sqm) and Carlos Room (40 sqm).
LEISURE FACILITIES The Aman Spa here is the first one of its kind to be built outside Aman resorts. There is also a 60 sqm swimming pool that has ionised water. The fitness centre boasts of the latest in Technogym equipment.
VERDICT There is no dearth of luxury hotels in London, however The Connaught stands out thanks to its amiable hospitality and exceptional F&B.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in a Superior Queen Single room in mid-December started from £480/₹42,302.
CONTACT The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London; tel: +44 20 7499 7070; the-connaught.co.uk