Opened in 1955 and currently owned by Kurdish born hotelier Bakir Cola and his family (along with the Holiday Inn London Kensington), the Westbury joined Marriott’s The Luxury Collection portfolio of independent properties earlier this year.
It is now one of four Luxury Collection hotels in the UK, joining Trump Turnberry, The Park Tower Knightsbridge, and The Wellesley Knightsbridge (which also joined the brand this year).
The Westbury is nearing the end of a comprehensive refurbishment of its rooms by Alex Kravetz Design (also responsible for projects at London’s Dorchester and Landmark hotels), with the last few suites scheduled for completion in November.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The exterior of the Westbury is not exactly inspiring, but inside the hotel has a classic feel to it, with top-hatted doormen welcoming guests into a marble floored and pillared lobby area. I was struck by the number of employees on duty in and around reception when I arrived on a Saturday evening, from the two doormen to a floating member of staff greeting guests in the main lobby area, three receptionists and a manned concierge desk opposite the reception desk.
There was no queue at check-in, and I must have looked somewhat flustered (I was late for a dinner booking) as the receptionist said that I looked as if I was in a hurry, and whisked me through check-in procedures so that I was in my room within a couple of minutes.
The lobby houses several works of art which change sporadically – when I visited there were two pieces by Italian artist Giacinto Bosco, including intriguing piece Luna Caprese (see picture below), which featured a moon seemingly suspended in mid-air, with two lovers trying to reel it in with a length of rope.
WHERE IS IT?
On Conduit Street, around five minutes walk from Oxford Circus station, with links to Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Underground lines.
The hotel’s guest rooms have gradually been undergoing refurbishment over the last 12 months, with the project now nearing completion. The revamp by Alex Kravetz Design has seen rooms brought up to date with signature Luxury Collection beds, and accents of either purple or grey depending on the room category.
Signature rooms start from 24 sqm, with features including a workdesk, minibar, free wifi for Starwood SPG members when booking direct, and Handy smartphones, allowing guests to make unlimited local and international calls for free.
Most bathrooms have a combined bath tub and shower, although the refurbishment has seen some of the bathrooms in higher room categories (junior suites and above) converted to accommodate separate walk-in showers.
Four suites on the seventh floor have balconies, and a further seven signature suites and one luxury suite on the sixth floor have recently seen new balconies added overlooking the front of the hotel.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Previously head chef at Marcus Wareing’s Petrus, Alyn Williams opened his first restaurant at The Westbury in 2012, and it continues to go strong, with a Michelin star and choice of European a la carte, set menu and tasting menus (also available in vegetarian). Current dishes include a starter of Orkney scallop and Mersea oyster with apple, Muscat grapes and pickled elderberries, and main courses of barbequed Cotswold duck with fermented peach, Breme onion and duck hash brown; and Herdwick lamb with peas, girolles, pistou and new potatoes.
The restaurant has two private dining areas – the Aspen Room which seats up to 22 guests and which can be closed off with sliding doors or kept open to the rest of the restaurant as desired – and the glass-walled Wine Room for ten people, where guests sit surrounded by around 600 bottles of wine, and where Williams will create bespoke dishes according to the diners’ choice of wine.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant (although it is not associated with Alyn Williams), and service was excellent, with the kitchen happy to adapt the vegetarian hot breakfast to my guest’s vegan requirements. The only shame is the restaurant’s setting – tucked away at the back of the hotel and without any natural light, it’s not exactly an exciting space.
Tsukiji Sushi is a cute little Japanese restaurant with red wood interiors, and is popular for lunch, with a direct entrance onto Conduit Street, while the Polo Bar has an art deco interior with Swarovski crystal fittings. The bar originally opened with the hotel in the 1950s with the aim of attracting the wealthy polo-set, and was quadrupled in size in 2005.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
The hotel has two meeting spaces – the art deco style Mount Vernon, accommodating up to 120 people for a reception, and The Pine Room, which as the name suggests is lined by pine walls and doors, giving it a warm feel which contrasts with the classic style of the rest of the property. This space can fit up to 35 people boardroom style, 80 for private dining, and 100 for a reception.
The hotel’s fitness centre is located on the 2nd floor, and has recently been doubled in size, with new Technogym equipment.
Excellent service in all areas of the hotel, and a good location for anyone looking to be close to the Mayfair or Oxford Street districts of the capital.
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 225, including 64 suites
- HIGHLIGHTS The initial welcome, tastefully refurbished rooms and good choice of restaurants.
- PRICE Fully flexible midweek rates for a Signature room in November started from £299
- CONTACT The Westbury, A Luxury Collection Hotel, 37 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London; +44 (0)207 629 7755; westburymayfair.com