The Biltmore Mayfair opened after an 18-month closure and £60 million refurbishment, transforming the former Millennium Grosvenor Square into only the second of Hilton’s new luxury brand – LXR (pronounced simply by saying the letters). It joins the Habtoor Palace Dubai (the former St Regis Dubai, for a review click here), with a third property also open under the brand in Anguilla.
What’s it like?
There are two entrances to the hotel, one from Grosvenor Square, and the other round the back from Adam’s Row, where there’s also valet parking available. It’s from this rear entrance that the ballroom and meeting facilities can be accessed directly.
The hotel looks very luxurious after its refurbishment. A liveried doorman is waiting just by the door and once down a few steps there is a feature flower arrangement sitting on a circular table inside reception. You can check in at the desks to one side on the right, though this is actually Guest Services and the main reception is accessed by walking a little further in and then up a couple of stairs and turning right. Most of the hotel can be seen from here – the bank of lifts, the entrance to the Pine Bar, and the tea lounge and Betterment restaurant and bar. The hotel is in a rough T shape, with the top of the ‘T’ facing onto the square.
Where is it?
On Grosvenor Square, just south of Oxford Street at the Marble Arch end of the street.
All 307 rooms (including 57 suites) over seven floors have pale block flooring, and a décor of neutral opulence, with natural, hessian-style wallpaper, combined with painted wood panelling, and a Chinese-style (chinoiserie) etched mirror over the bed.
There are 17 different room categories at present, though I was told these may be reduced to make booking simpler. Rooms start at 27 sqm for a double deluxe and range up to some large suites such as the Presidential Suite at 160 sqm, though these were still being refurbished at the time of our stay in late November (some of the suites are duplex on the eighth floor, accessed by stairs).
Our King Grand Premier with View (of Grosvenor Square) which was larger at 43 sqm had a dark brown velvet Art Deco style sofa and red velvet armchair with a small round coffee table offer a relaxation area. (The rooms are in three main colour schemes – blue, green and a sort of rust red).
The wooden-framed super king size bed has a padded leather headboard, and a curved, glass-topped cabinet houses the in-room bar, Nespresso machine and kettle. There is also a narrow, leather-topped desk with power and USB points. Large sash windows overlooking Grosvenor Square can be opened. A sliding, mirrored door leads to the marbled tiled bathroom, with a full-size bath as well as a power shower, and Japanese-style toilet with ‘washing’ options. The majority of the rooms have baths, though not all. Toiletries are by Penhaligons.
Food and drink
The Pine Bar has over 100 different whiskies and a wide choice of cocktails, including some created by the staff – I had a Ploughmans which was a single malt whisky with ginger, fernet, beetroot vinegar and sweet vermouth.
The restaurant is called The Betterment by Jason Atherton, who is also in charge of all food and beverage the hotel, from banqueting and room service through to the bar itself (nibbles available) and the restaurant. I’ve eaten here several times and it is excellent – a bit of an odd space in terms of design, quite stark in many ways, but the food is top notch (you can read the Betterment menu here. It changes regularly, and as you’ll see, there are 12 menus in total, including an excellent vegetarian and vegan menu, if that’s what you are or prefer that day.
There is also The Tea Lounge which is in the lobby on the way to the Betterment, and unlike many lobbies is a quiet and relaxing place to sit – we used this after a meal in the evening to have a cup of tea.
The hotel has extensive meeting facilities, all of which have been renovated. The largest space is the ballroom which can take 320 for a banquet. On the same ground floor are two large meeting rooms for more intimate functions, the Waterloo and Manhattan suites, which can hold up to 80 and 100 people for drinks, and the Kendal Suite for 40.
The hotel has one of the best hotel gyms I’ve seen in Central London, both large, well-equipped and also with some great technology including an exercise room with a large TV wall where exercise classes are beamed through at certain times of the day and you can join in.
The refurbishment has upgraded the hotel to a new standard, and the food and beverage also help it stand out from some very strong competition, as does the service. Highly recommended.
- Best for a five-star experience in central London with all the flourishes – including an outstanding gym.
- Don’t miss a meal at the Jason Atherton restaurant Betterment, though if you only want room-service, at least that’s by his team as well.
- Contact 44 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 2HP; tel +44 (0)20 762 99400; hilton.com; thebiltmoremayfair.com