Belmond Cadogan Hotel — London, UK
When it opened in 1887, The Cadogan Hotel fast became a favourite of the Kensington and Chelsea set, entertaining a kaleidoscope of VIPs from Oscar Wilde to socialite Lillie Langtry.
Now, 132 years later, the storied property has re-opened under the Belmond banner, who rebuilt the entire property, stitching together five buildings to include a former bank on the corner and, of course, the home of Langry, which she sold to the hotel in 1895, and now serves as the private entrance to guests of the hotel.
Local firm, GA Design International has filled out the 54 rooms and suites in a fresh palette of calm neutrals with royal blue and mustard yellow accents in rich materials – like velvet, silk, wood and marble – and plush finishes from padded headboards to textured, panelled walls. Above each bed is a statement painting that takes its cues from the nearby Cadogan Place Gardens and the room in which Oscar Wilde was arrested, in 1895, now serves as part of the Royal Suite.
Over 400 pieces of art dot the hotel, including a dramatic painting by Simon Casson of Sir Hans Sloane and his daughter Elizabeth, founders of the Cadogan Estates, that takes centre-stage in the lobby; a Swarovski crystal-adorned peacock sculpture by artist Clarita Brinkerhoff; and a library installation, which wraps around the lobby lift and comprises 600 bronze books, modelled from one of the bookcases in the original hotel.
Russell Sage Studio, meanwhile, is behind the design of The Bar and the restaurant, the latter comprising two separate spaces – one a stuccoed and panelled room inspired by Langry’s dining room and the other dressed with colourful paintings by artist Katy Jade Dobson – that come together to form a sophisticated backdrop for chef Adam Handling’s menu of updated British fare. Like at Frog, his Covent Garden flagship, expect clean, simple dishes like the halibut served with pickled kohlrabi, brown shrimps, sea herbs and caviar, and deliciously rich veal sweetbreads with peas, morels and wild garlic. Don’t miss out on the signature dessert of compressed cucumber, burn basil and dill.
Standing midway between Knightsbridge and Chelsea, at the junction of Sloane and Pont Streets, the hotel’s highlight is the adjacent Cadogan Place Gardens, which guests, as if they were Chelsea residents, can access for a stroll, have a picnic or play tennis on its two courts.§