What makes a woman – let us say ‘the gal’ – feel GOOD in a luxury hotel? Honestly, size does not matter. It can have thousands of bedrooms, as at Bellagio Las Vegas or Encore Boston Harbor or Wynn Palace Macau. It can be really small, say just a couple of dozen rooms or less, as at some of New Zealand’s superb lodges, still led by Huka Lodge, Taupo. The gal herself does not care for oodles of space (it is said that Salvador Dali, when staying in a suite in Le Meurice, Paris, used to cycle from one room to another). Honestly, InterContinental London Park Lane’s suite 310, which must be about 80sq metres total, is just right for single occupancy.
It is part of the hotel’s new Mayfair Collection, suites that offer comfortable luxury with minimal pattern. Brighter, accent colours appear in artwork, cushions and accessories. Inspiration from the surrounding Royal Parks can be seen in small details and interesting artworks, as well as the use of natural fabrics, cocooning guests’ in luxurious materials and design. Details include a carpet design inspired by the veins of leaves at autumn time, bedside tables with bronze handles in the shape of a leaf and a metallic resin sculpture developed for the bathroom mirror which represents a tree trunk. Designers are the RPW team of Elizabeth Lane, Ariane Steinbeck and Jan Wilson,
Suite 310 has marvellous views, over the Quadriga and Hyde Park Corner. For those who do not want to read quality hardbacks, say Design, or brand-new copies of Tatler and Vogue, and today’s Financial Times or New York Times, there are always cyclists rushing and red London buses crawling around Hyde Park Corner to watch. Right now, too, you can look across to the forthcoming The Peninsula London, its construction now topped off and dwarfing the neighbouring Lanesborough Hotel. See the video, below. The suite itself, is mainly taupe and cream: the carpet has a twig-like pattern indicating the parks around. AND THEN THERE IS A FLORAL-HAT PICTURE ON ONE WALL – see above.
What else is admirable? A well-lit bathroom with easy-work and powerful shower, an additional powder room, no desk but a table for four, with plenty of convenient sockets and USB ports, as at both sides of the bed. The simple Nespresso machine has the most covetable bespoke porcelain mugs, twig pattern, designer William Edwards. The minibar, which has Perrier-Jouët, now the house Champagne, may be automatic but there is space for your own medicines and so on. There is a table near the main door so you do not lose your room key. And so on..
But three other things stand out. The flowers throughout the hotel, by Moyses Stevens, who have a store here, are worthy of Chelsea Flower Show, everywhere. The seventh floor Club lounge, with views along to Buckingham Palace, is a world leader. The food there, like everywhere in the hotel, is superb. We dined in the modern-Mexican Ella Canta, licensed from Mexico City’s culinary queen, Martha Ortiz. The Venezuelan manager talked us carefully through dishes, say guacamole topped with cheese and pomegranate and a gold grasshopper, and yellowtail ceviche slices sandwiched between slices of avocado. To drink, I tasted Martha Ortiz’ favourite Discreto Encanto wines, from Valle de Guadalupe, a Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc blend, and a blackberry jam-flavoured red blend.
And lastly, it is the 300-strong team who make this a true luxury hotel. They think of what a gal might really like, say whole fruit as VIP welcome, together with a personalised running map and health snacks and carrot juice – and also an umbrella as yes, it poured, throughout my stay. Before I left, front desk called to offer me, because of the deluge, a car to my next meeting. That was so thoughtful. They also have fun. GM Alvaro Rey took five managers, at random, to a Manchester City match last weekend: it was so much happiness, they said. This is a 447-room hotel that still manages to feel like home (next visit, I will eat Italian). NB. Alvaro Rey announced this Monday, 9 March 2020, that he is taking a break. NOW SEE A VIDEO OF SUITE 310