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Tue 24 Mar 2009 04:00 AM

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Best of British

First Class beds down at the newly renovated Grosvenor House in London and enjoys English hospitality at its finest.

First Class beds down at the newly renovated Grosvenor House in London and enjoys English hospitality at its finest.

Set in Mayfair, near museums and landmarks, grand department stores and the West End, the historic Grosvenor House is a central London dream. So much so, that even if it was a dive, which it most certainly isn't, its location alone is out of this world.

The hotel is ideally located for guests wanting to explore the heart of the city. The shopping districts of Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and Knightsbridge are in the immediate vicinity as are the West End theatres, Royal Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall. For history buffs, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Kensington Palace are also within easy reach.

With its imposing forecourt graced by the original Lutyens wrought iron gates, striking reception and intimate library, the hotel's approachable elegance is immediately obvious. This regal building was recently refurbished and now sports 494 luxurious guest rooms, inclusive of 74 suites. Some are a bit on the small side, but they are perfectly formed with luxury bathrooms and the latest mod cons.

From the grand finishes, both inside and outside the building, it's easy to assume that the atmosphere could be somewhat snobbish inside this hotel - but you'd be wrong. The team is charming and the establishment retains a professional but relaxed feel throughout. And though the Grosvenor is primarily pitched as a business hotel, you could easily spend a romantic weekend here with a partner, or bring your family along.

The hotel is also strong on amenities, should you wish take a break from perusing the many sights and shops, just minutes from your room outside the hotel. There's Bord'eaux, a new French restaurant, which serves a wide range of dishes from Western France in upscale brasserie surrounds (also available on 24 hour room service). In addition, there's Corrigans of Mayfair, for upmarket quintessentially British cuisine from top UK chef Richard Corrigan.

But one of the gastronomical highlights of the Grosvenor has to be ‘Anna's Tea' in The Park Room. The afternoon tea is one of Britain's great traditions and this hotel's contribution to the ritual is an unmissable treat. It was Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, who, in the late 18th century, had the brilliant notion of asking her butler to bring her a light meal in the afternoon.

The Park Room has named its tea in her honour. ‘Anna's Tea' offers a choice of 17 tea blends from around the world, scones with jam and cream, the obligatory cucumber sandwiches and more. Anna's Tea also comes with champagne, for those who prefer a more decadent afternoon.

To top all this, the addition of a luxury spa is set to complete the hotel's five star offering later this year. But regardless of all the hotel's welcome amenities, it's really this hotel's understated elegance and easy professionalism that sets it apart.

Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, W1K7TN UK, + 44 207 499 6363, www.marriott.co.uk.

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