Perhaps, no other London hotel can boast such an illustrious storied past as the Royal Lancaster Hotel, or as it has reverted to its original designation as Royal Lancaster London. The Beatles launched their classic ‘Yellow Submarine’ film and had their after party in the Yellow Submarine nightclub. The Rolling Stones frequented its celebrated residence. The hotel gem overlooking Hyde Park was a favorite of Prince Charles sister, Princess Margaret who cherished the hotel when it opened in 1967.

50 Years later the Royal Lancaster Hotel remains London’s most storied property.

In the 1969 comedy caper ‘The Italian Job,’ Michael Caine was filmed in a scene after being brought from prison to the storied accommodation for a party in one of the suites. Commemorating the film, you will find minicar models in each room as a reminder of the celluloid cult classic. The chic luxury hotel first opened its doors in 1967 and had remained mostly unchanged. In need of a refurbishment makeover, a comprehensive makeover commenced in 2015.

On November 8, 2017, the prestigious London grand dame unveiled a £83 million head to toe renovation. The driving force behind the remake of the family-run hotel is its magnanimous owner, Thai businessman Khun Jatuporn Sihanatkathakul, who hired branding and interior design expert David Morris from Studio Proof. Morris kept the mid-century charm with a contemporary design and stylish feel that blends well in the updated scheme. The revamping includes a new swanky entrance to the property, and once inside you’ll discover the modern open floor plan flaunts over 3,000 square feet of alabaster Carrara marble encompassing the lobby area. Behind the median interior reception check-in is the addition of the chic, aesthetically pleasing Hyde Lobby Bar where champagne, cocktails, espresso, and light fare can be experienced by guests.

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The Rooms

All rooms have far-reaching, sprawling views of London. Most rooms face Hyde Park and are within eyes of the Shard and the London Eye. No stone went unturned in the massive restoration, all 411 guestrooms and suites were either completely redesigned or redecorated. There is a small sofa in every room. The gorgeous marble bathrooms come with soothing waterfall showers and White Company toiletries. As today’s modern-day explorer requires connectivity, there are ample plugs  to charge and handy NR 4G phone in each room is free to use during your stay, serving as a nifty navigation system for strolling around London.

The Staff

Upon arrival, you immediately notice the spiffy crew dressed to the nines, clad in tweed and silk shirts. The layers at the forefront of a hotel, from the front desk staff to the concierge, down to housekeeping, waiters and bartenders are the faces who can make or break the guest experience. Mingling with the characters behind the scene, I cannot help but notice the sense of teamwork surrounding the staff. The multi-national hospitality team genuinely enjoy their work.

“As a people person, I love the variety of people working here. I have co-workers from Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Thailand of course, Japan, South Africa, Jordan, Philippines, Germany, France, almost everywhere it seems, even an American,” said Jo Hemesley, Assistant Director of Sales.

Food and Drink

Rarely do you find an award-winning restaurant nestled in a quiet corner of an iconic landmark hotel. The unpretentious Nipa Thai is named after the owner’s wife and features a star-studded, all-female kitchen brigade serving up authentic Thai dishes. The Pad Thai Nipa includes jumbo king prawns, and the refreshing Pla Yum Manyang is a medley of crispy sea bass with shredded fresh mango drizzled with a tangy sauce with a bit of kick. Island Grill serves brasserie-style meals including duck salad, steaks, fish and chips, a catch of the day in an unhurried and relaxed environment.

Afternoon Tea

You might say that executive chef Ben Purton is as passionate about Afternoon Teas as Sean Connery is about James Bond. The quintessential British ritual of Afternoon Tea comes with variously seasonal themed offerings with a twist surrounding events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, spooky Halloween or anyone for tennis? – There is even a Wimbledon theme.

Hemsley reminds me of the hotel’s signature pets, “We’re nutty about our bees as they are a vital part of our environment. We first installed our beehives in 2009, and they have grown to be part our family. We are very serious about our impact on the environment. This turned into a positive addition to the hotel. We use the honey for our smoked salmon glaze, and we’re making our in-house gin with our honey.”

The Location

Each bedroom eyeballs the multi-colored maple and lime trees in Hyde Park. While encountering an impressive melt in your mouth Scottish salmon or Eggs Benedict close up views of the Italian Gardens in the fabled verdant grounds just steps away. Besides having Hyde Park at your forefront across Bayswater Road, and being walking distance to Kensington Gardens, its Central Line Lancaster Gate tube station is on the backside of the hotel. You are minutes from London’s favorite shops on Oxford Street and the world’s largest antique market on Portobello Road.

Getting to and from Heathrow is a painless endeavor with Paddington Station a mere 20-minute walk and the Heathrow Express takes only 15 minutes to the airport. When I can depart a property with only high praise, feeling like I just merged into my new London family, and wishing that I could extend my trip for a couple more nights, now that’s a good thing.

The hotel’s vision suits it well, “To be the happiest hotel in London” with core values of ‘We always care.’

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