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The Athenaeum Hotel Review

TLE was recently invited to experience The Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair, London.

For readers not familiar with it, The Athenaeum Hotel and Residences is a five-star, award-winning family run hotel in Mayfair.

The hotel overlooks Green Park and the building is steeped in history. In 1850, it was owned by MP Henry Hope who lived there and was aptly named Hope House. Mr Hope was renowned for his commitment to the arts and his passion made Hope House the home of one of Europe’s finest private art collections. This is quite fitting given that Daniel, one of the brothers who now runs the hotel, also has a penchant for the arts and so today the hotel boasts a collection of arts throughout the hotel, which have been commissioned by artist Martin Hulbert. In fact, in one of the works you can even spot Daniel himself! Bonus points if you can find him in the pic below.

Through the ages the building has lived many lives, from a popular Gentlemens’ Club, a luxurious Art Deco apartment block and a prestigious hotel – The Athenaeum Hotel has become synonymous with the, important, the rich and the famous. Boy band Take That announced their split from the penthouse (which is now the Club Lounge) and legendary film director Steven Spielberg even installed an editing suite in one of the hotel’s residences when working on E.T.Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Since 1990 The Athenaeum has been run by family team who still deliver the five-star service the hotel is renowned for and the best thing is they treat everyone like a VIP!

Read on to discover more about our own experience.

Location

Situated in London’s high-class district of Mayfair and just a short walk from the nearest tube station and about a half-hour journey by tube from Kings Cross station, makes this hotel an ideal base for those wishing to enjoy the high-life of London. Think elegant townhouses, gourmet restaurants, modern art galleries and designer shops.

Arrival

The well-presented doorman greets each guest with a sincere and cheery welcome and guides to their place of interest (many people frequent the bar and restaurant who are not staying at the hotel). He was quick to take my bag and carry it the very short distance to check in desk which is in the lobby which has a very cool art-deco vibe.

I was informed that the owners did try out the ‘no-desk check in’ but so many guests asked where the reception was they reverted to installing a reception – in the form of a very slim line stylish console. The team were super quick, efficient and friendly plus there was a pot of jelly babies for guests to enjoy a quick sugar rush while they waited. Ideal!!

Rooms, Suites and Residences

There are 162 rooms within the hotel ranging from Superior, Deluxe to Park View. Luxury suites are available for those who plan a longer stay or like the comfort of more space. For guests who want more privacy and freedom there are private residences available which are located adjacent to the hotel.

I was taken to my Superior room on the sixth floor which was perfectly presented with a super-comfy Hypnos bed, modern furnishings, a well-stocked mini-bar and snacks, ample sized wardrobe, temperature control panel, sparkling clean bathroom with all the ESPA amenities one could wish for and a view over Green Park. The ideal base for my overnighter in the Capital.

The View

In a former life, the Club Lounge was the hotel’s penthouse suite, frequented by many famous names during their stay in London. However, such a beautiful space should be shared which is why it has recently been renovated into the Club Lounge where business travellers or guests who book a suite can enjoy additional rooftop space overlooking Green Park. With meeting rooms, a board room, relaxing spaces, honesty bar and shower room it’s the perfect place to conduct business in five-star style.

Drinks and Dining

The Athenaeum has made a name for itself not just as a hotel but also as a dining destination on its own merit. As the name suggests, Galvin at The Athenaeum is the hotel restaurant by Michelin-starred chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin, known for the French-inspired menus the brothers have developed a menu for this restaurant which champions classic British produce – all of which is home-grown. The menu is seasonal and whilst I visited tempting dishes such as Brixham Plaice, Brown Shrimps, Capers, Lemon & Spiced Croutons and Charcoal-Grilled Beef Rib Eye, Duck Fat Parmentier, Heritage Carrot & Watercress were just some of the dishes to choose from.

The restaurant offers a set menu option from 12pm – 2.30pm and the a la carte menu is served from 12pm – 2.30pm and 2.30pm – 10.30pm. Room service is available 24 hours.

Afternoon Tea is a leisurely affair here served in the modern lobby or the restaurant where guests are happy to take time out and just be. Its story is very much centred around family; from the Galvin brothers to the family run tea houses of India, Sri Lanka, China and Japan to the independent British farming families, artisan bakers and chocolate makers.

And the tea set upon which it is served is truly whimsical with quirky maps of Great Britain to clocks shooting out of teapot spouts and this is all unique to Athenaeum as they commissioned British designer Ali Miller to design the service especially for them – just another touch of attention to detail which really makes this hotel stand out.

Unfortunately, due to my schedule I wasn’t fortunate enough to sample these culinary delights. However, if breakfast sets the benchmark then wow – dinners here are in for a real treat.

The cold breakfast buffet was heavenly with a good (but not overly extensive) selection of cold meats, eggs, hams, fresh fruits yoghurts, cereals and home-made granola BUT the piece de résistance was the pasty section. Oh My Goodness. The sugar buns didn’t look much but after one mouthful I just couldn’t get enough of these light, sweet treats. Wow. Wow. Wow. The oat cookies were delicious too and I gorged so much on these two that I couldn’t even bring myself to order one of the very delicious hot menu options. I did see some of the other guests enjoying theirs and I must say when I return I will try and control myself with the sweetness so I can sample some hot savoury dishes.

Like everyone else I’d encountered in the hotel the breakfast serving team were happy, polite and highly attentive.

The Bar

Like the restaurant here, the bar itself is a destination point with a reputation for excellent craft cocktails. The bar once boasted 360 different whiskies but they have refined their collection at a mere 160 with a beautiful backlit display cabinet to showcase their prized international collection.

The bar has a very intimate feel with seating areas set back in floor to ceiling window recesses. The combination of velvet sofas, easy chairs, rugs, dark panelling and atmospheric lighting made me feel very at home – I could have stayed here much longer than I did!

There were also lots of power points located near the seating area suggesting many a business meeting takes place here as well as guests who purely come to kick back and unwind.

The drinks menu is extensive boasting cocktails that cannot be found anywhere else in London.

Wellness Facilities

For guests who really want to unwind then the hotel also offers a small spa which comprises of two cedar wood hot tubs, sauna, steam room, relaxation area and great range of treatments. Packages can be personalised too and non-hotel guests can make use of the facilities for a cost of £25 per person per hour.

There is also a simple fitness suite with high-tech equipment – ideal for a quick workout to get the blood pumping……or to burn off all the sugar bun calories gained at breakfast 😉

Service

All team members were so friendly and highly attentive – nothing was too much trouble and it is perfectly clear how this establishment has built a reputation for delivering a five-star experience to its guests.

Final Thoughts

The word ‘Athenaeum’ loosely translates as ‘library’ and is derived from the Greek name Athena, the goddess of wisdom. In our wisdom, you’d be a fool not experience The Athenaeum Hotel at least once in your life.

The values here are very much family orientated and I think this was highly evident throughout my experience here.  Two of the concierges’ have worked at the hotel for over 25 years (on for 26 and the other for 30) which I think is great testament to how the hotel runs ……we will certainly be making a return visit!

Contact Details

A: 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London
T: 020 7499 3464
W: www.athenaeumhotel.com

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