London Luxury

LONDON The Lanesborough, a decade-old hotel in a 173-year-old building on London’s Hyde Park Corner, is extending its reach into the luxury market by becoming part of the upscale St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.

By: Theresa Norton Masek

LONDON The Lanesborough, a decade-old hotel in a 173-year-old building on London’s Hyde Park Corner, is extending its reach into the luxury market by becoming part of the upscale St. Regis Hotels & Resorts.

Previously part of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, The Lanesborough joined St. Regis on May 29. The management changed but most of the hotel staff members some of whom have been with the property since its inception remain. There are 95 guest rooms and suites, and the staff-to-guest ratio is 3-to-1.

That’s why the hotel is already well known to celebrities and well-heeled travelers. Past visitors have included Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli and Will Smith. Offbeat rocker Ozzy Osbourne stayed at The Lanesborough during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee last summer and he even “behaved himself,” according to one hotel source.

On my recent visit, I stayed in the same wing as a Saudi princess and her entourage of two dozen, which is why there was a security guard posted in the hallway 24 hours a day.

But my stay at The Lanesborough was memorable for other reasons notably, the fact that the hotel staff greeted me by name within hours of my arrival. Lots of properties promise to greet guests by name, but few actually deliver. The waitstaff also remembered my room number, so my breakfast tab could simply be added to my bill without me having to sign anything.

The hotel is ideally located across the street from Hyde Park, 12 minutes by foot from Harrod’s and 15 minutes to Buckingham Palace through Constitution Arch.

I stayed in a small suite, which included a sitting room, a bedroom and a large bathroom. The paneled sitting room had a mahogany desk, a thick wool area rug, a coffee table, a fireplace and a couch with brocade throw pillows. Through the television set, guests can receive and send e-mail, access the Internet and watch movies at no extra charge.

Heavy wooden pocket doors can close off the bedroom from the sitting room. The bedroom also had lovely, dark wood furnishings, another TV set and a minicomputer in the nightstand that could be used to turn off the lights or check the hour in other time zones. Guests can summon a butler a 24-hour service to all guests by flicking on a light; keeping the do-not-disturb light on means they’ll call in the evening to find out if you want turndown service. It’s really a luxury to be left alone when you want to be.

The delightful bathroom had a deep, jetted bathtub, which I had to climb a stepstool to reach, and a separate glass-door shower stall. Bath products were in glass bottles, providing an elegant package if depriving me of a take-home souvenir.

The Lanesborough is a top recommendation of luxury travel specialist Raschinna Findlay of TravelStore in Beverly Hills.

“I send all my high-end clients there because the service is just outstanding,” Findlay said. “You can’t beat the butler service three minutes and they’re there ... It’s just my favorite place in London.”

Some people say The Lanesborough is snooty or snobbish, Findlay said, but it’s not true. “The staff is very down to earth, but they still allow you to feel important.”

Of course, all this luxury and service isn’t cheap.

The Lanesborough increased its rack rates as of Sept. 1. A small suite now costs about $1,245. A deluxe single room is priced at $428 per night with a deluxe double at $599. Rates include tax and service.

Some packages and special rates are offered. A winter package, valid Nov. 1 to May 5, offers discounted rates based on a three-night stay, daily continental breakfast for two and roundtrip transfers from Heathrow or Gatwick airports or Waterloo Eurostar Station. The winter package is priced from $482 per night, plus tax, for a deluxe double room.

A holiday package available during the Christmas period offers deluxe double rooms for $429 per night, including Taittinger champagne, English breakfast, a one-way airport transfer or overnight parking, and a guaranteed late checkout. The holiday packages are available Dec. 8 to Feb. 2.

The Lanesborough pays 8% commission.

Call 877-787-3447 for the St. Regis group; 800-999-1828 direct to the hotel. Web site: