CREATIVE SANCTUM

Written by root. Posted in FEATURES

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Published on January 12, 2017 with No Comments

The grand walls of Hotel Café Royal may not talk, but its renovation certainly creates a new tale or two.

Words ANIS RAMLI
Images HOTEL CAFÉ ROYAL

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Oh, to people watch and gaze at London’s eclectic street scenes. At the glamorous and newly re-invented luxury property, Hotel Café Royal, both pastimes are easily achievable without compromising your need to have some “me” time. The hotel’s enviable location, between the elegance of London’s Mayfair and the artistic sensibilities of the city’s Soho, is the perfect spot for people watching. From when the morning buzz begins and right through dusk and beyond, watching the changed people landscape reminds you of London’s magic and why it has that special vibe.

The hotel is no stranger to the societal scene. Long before the hotel came to be, the Café Royal was the beating heart of London’s intellects and artists. London has always been a magnet for this coterie or that but, Café Royal attracted a colourful range of clientele. There was James McNeill Whistler, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and W B Yeats, to name but a few of the patrons.

As far as cafes go, the Café Royal and its Grade II-listed building it is in was a gem to be re-discovered in this prime real estate just off Piccadilly Circus. Today, the café is enveloped in a 160-room hotel that remains true to the Georgian thoroughfare of Regent Street – the colonnaded George Nash terrace central to London’s feature.

The guestrooms use a palette of Carrara marble, Marmorina plasterwork, leather and glass inspired by the rusticated facades of Regent Street. Look out the window of any of the guestrooms and there is a continuity to what you see outside and the inside. There is an indescribable sense of history but at the same time, modern touches can be experienced at every corner. The Café is home to London’s first dessert restaurant. Guests walking past the cafe’s large windows that fronts Regent Street will be immediately tempted by the luscious and inspiring range of desserts. Executive Pastry Chef, Sarah Barber, is known for her exquisite dessert creations. Styled after a typical European tradition café, it comes complete with an espresso bar that offers a selection of specialty coffee and tea.

Guestrooms feature such luxuries as whisper quiet sound proofing walls and a bathroom mirror TV screen while the suites offer the added bonus of a personal butler. Then there is the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre at the two basement levels. The designs cleverly merge the historic elements of the building with modern sentiments. Carrara marble remains a feature at the hammam, invoking the era of classic baths, while the Finnish sauna is inviting in solid hemlock with dome ceiling.

On the first floor, The Club’s lounges, private dining rooms and meeting spaces have been designed exclusively for the use of club members. The hotel aspires to create a venue that once again celebrates the long legacy of famed patrons it once hosted. While it remains in a historic space, elegant elements are easily seen from the adoption of the English and French themes, with bespoke rugs and plush velvets. Damien Hirst and Christian Furr artworks complete the scene, giving The Club a look of chic and stylishness.

When the time comes to go in search of a legendary meal, The Club’s Domino Restaurant retains much of the old charm besides serving one of London’s best British fine dining menu. Inspired by Napoleonic-era Paris, the interiors are lavish and have a gentleman’s club vibe. It really is an intimate dining sanctuary amid bustling Piccadilly and is a gem of a find.

And what about Oscar Wilde, you may ask? The hotel named their bar after him, the establishment that was originally founded in 1865 and the place where Wilde himself dined daily. Today, guests can enjoy a quintessential luxurious English Afternoon Tea at this celebrated venue while marvelling at authentic Louis XVI detailing that rings in a new era of opulence.

 

 

Royal Brunei Airlines flies London daily via Dubai.

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