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The Connaught Princes Lodge
If you check into a room on the top floor of the Connaught forget the lift; descending, instead, all five floors of this 1897 hotel by its sweeping, central staircase. Why? Because beneath the cupola, the varnished mahogany balustrade winds its way past one of the finest hotel art collections in the world – a staggering 3,000 pieces in all, covering every decade since its opening.
As far from being a corporate hotel as it's possible to be, the Connaught is much more in the style of your London home-from-home when you're 'up from the country', or imagine that you are.
The art is decorative and eclectic – a private collection of a grand house, ranging from oils of great sailing ships to melancholy family pets, vintage photography and contemporary sculpture; in the signature Michelin-star restaurant, Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, a pair of Damien Hirst Butterfly Paintings hang amid the polished mahogany panelling.
What you pay for at the Connaught is the luxurious feeling that this august, yet intimate, hotel is yours to savour.
A 2007 refurbishment has brought its "discrete English feel" up to date, adding a modern wing and employing the world's greatest designers: India Mahdavi for the restaurant and the ever-popular Coburg Bar, David Collins for the Connaught Bar and Guy Oliver for the rooms.
This boutique sits in a quiet part of Mayfair but just a few blocks from Hyde Park, Oxford Street and a 10-minute walk to three tube stops.
Yet the hotel, old and new, feels completely integrated, helped by the discrete lighting throughout.
And it's busy. The Connaught is pulling in a London crowd for lunch, drinks and dinner, so there's a buzzy mix between the locals and those jetting in for meetings.
Families, too, make this their weekend home-from-home, as some rooms have interconnecting doors. And no two rooms are alike, each with bespoke or inherited furniture, although walls have been painted in period colours such as peppermint green with silver leaf and Edwardian slate.
Bathrooms look fresh in white and Grecian thassosn marble. Damask silk curtains frame large, wide windows in many of the rooms. All have butler service.
The Connaught has the only Aman spa in the UK, and its Experiences treatments last two and a half hours, which means that you can either switch off entirely or opt to be fully re-energised, and all without fretting how much of your 60-minute treatment time is left.
TEL: 020 7499 7070