The Lanesborough, London, has been an icon ever since it first opened in 1991. Geoffrey Gelardi was GM of the luxury hotel back then, and he still is (though his title is technically Managing Director). During the years, the 93-room beauty has been first to offer VOIP, and free of charge, and to add an outdoor smoking and cigar bar. Along the way it switched from Rosewood to St Regis affiliation, and it changed its food from international-English to Italian, under Heinz Beck.
Then, on December 20th, 2013, the hotel’s Abu Dhabi owners decided to close, for a complete upgrade. The 1825 exterior and the room count remain but everything else changes. Most ceilings now have white moulding, some with heavy gold leaf. Some woodwork is stencilled. Bedrooms come in 12 colourways – my favourite was the egg-custard, with white. The designer, Linda Pinto, is following plans set by her late brother, Alberto Pinto, and both obviously ooze style.
There really was no need to redo this luxury hotel but, like a human, a good refresh is good for the soul and this case, what will be a luxury Oetker Collection hotel, will once again lead the pack.