Hotel Café Royal, LondonThe Royal Treatment
Why we love it: We are hotel folks, and The Set – a portfolio of properties in Amsterdam, Paris, Jerusalem, and London – has us wanting to get into the hotel business ourselves. This is a high-design hotel: contemporary yet warm, elegant yet homey. Café Royal has been around since the 1800s, where it was the meeting place of authors you may have heard of, like Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and Rudyard Kipling. It’s retained a lot of its history with its wrought iron and gilded banisters, but the rooms are completely refurbished to contemporary glory. Of course, service is impeccable, but very approachable. No one will look down on you for ordering ketchup with French fries. It’s all about the attention to detail, where even the hotel’s hallways are a Zen experience, extending to its generous rooms and chicly modern bathrooms. The rooms are a good size – especially for London – and quiet havens from the hustle and bustle. If you’re in the city for an extended stay, Café Royal is your spot.
What to know: We love this hotel so much – it’s not even in our main thoroughfare at the heart of Mayfair or Knightsbridge, but between Mayfair and SoHo, so its location isn’t a deal breaker. Their breakfast is a power scene of local Londoners with nothing to prove versus the chic guests with impeccable taste that this type of hotel attracts. You’d be remiss not to allocate a few hours to their grand-sized spa and pool that you wouldn’t expect in a hotel of this size. We especially like that it’s priced high enough to keep out the riffraff, but low enough to not raise eyebrows if your company has a generous travel budget. This is London; either way, expect to pay for quality.