Considering it’s centrally located right on Picadilly, one of London’s busiest thoroughfares, it is surprising that, over the years, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences has slipped under the radar. A once iconic property that hosted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Steven Spielberg, its sparkle has now been reignited, thanks to a recent spruce-up by local studio Kinnersley Kent Design, whose first move was to do away with its unremarkable, dated exterior and insert a bank of windows that opens the property to the street.
The now light-filled lobby - noticeably absent of the traditional reception desk - features casual coffee table seating to one side, while the other side is an extension to the hotel’s destination restaurant. Headed by Michelin star restaurateurs Chris and Jeff Galvin, the brothers behind favourites such as Windows and La Chapelle, Galvin at The Athenaeum does not stray from the duo’s winning formula of dependable food and solid service. The British menu is scattered with classics such a Portland crab with Hampshire watercress and rye bread, alongside old Galvin hits such as the smoked salmon or steak tartare.
The mood continues to The Bar, where Giancarlo Mancino has concocted and intriguing selection of cocktails, which sits alongside the hotel’s notable whiskey collection. The former Garden Room, the cosy space still looks out onto the property’s famed green wall, but the interiors have been given a complete overhaul, to reveal a sexy new look with concealed lighting and plush velvet furnishings in petrol blue and mustard hues.
Hidden towards the back of the building and with its own side street entrance, its the perfect bolthole for a quiet tipple, but should you forget where you are, head up to the penthouse suite for quintessential London views of Green Park and beyond.