London: the latest jewel in the Oetker crown
Former residence of the Viscount of Lanesborough at the end of the 18th century, this building is one of the most emblematic Regence style monuments in London. Benefiting from a sublime location dominating Hyde Park Corner, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and Knightsbridge’s cult addresses, including Harrods, the Lanesborough has just undergone a total facelift. Despite two years of renovations, led by late designer Alfredo Pinto, the hotel has maintained its typical traditional identity…the 93 bedrooms include 43 suites, such as the Royal Suite, which comprises of seven rooms, there are reception areas, the Libarray Bar, where a pianist plays everyday, surrounded by richly brocaded fabrics, delicate wallpaper, family portraits, old furniture, thick carpets and deep-set armchairs…the must: have high tea in the little salon with its walls decorated with deceptive draped fabrics, with an entrance reserved for the royal family! Eric Fréchon, triple-starred chef from the Bristol in Paris since 1999, has named his sous-chef, 32-year-old Florian Favario, as chief executive. At Céleste, the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, surmounted by an astonishing glass dome, we relish a cosy atmosphere that remains loyal to the Regence style, with a special mention going to the Blue Wedgwood frieze that runs around the room. The kitchen takes inspiration from the French savoir-faire, highlighting the country’s best products. Amongst its signature dishes, there are several standouts: the “green zebra” tomato tartar, roasted Selle, rice with braised courgettes as well as white and yellow fish, verbena and red currants…And visit the Garden Room, where you can smoke a token cigar. A.F.-M.