By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Royal Lancaster London: A taste of 1960s elegance and stunning views await visitors at this long-time London favourite
“London is losing its soul” – it’s a phrase we hear often, time and time again.
And it may be true that the London many foreigners imagine – classic, elegant yet wild at heart – is hard to come by these days. It’s not exactly the safest city nor is it as glamorous as it used to be. But there are some elements that always seem to stand the test of time; for us, that is the Royal Lancaster London.
Originally opened in 1967, the 18-storey property, designed by famous Swiss-British architect Richard Seifert, has long been somewhat of an institution in the British capital. While it underwent an impressive $105m renovation in November 2017 on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the finished product is as luxurious – and Instagram worthy – as its predecessor.
Its take on 1950s and 1960s style comes complete with ample dark-wood panelling, hundreds of square metres of pristine white marble in the lobby and an army of attentive staff, clad in tweed and turquoise shirts. It is little wonder that the property’s guests have included The Beatles, Princess Diana and Michael Caine, who famously filmed a scene from the 1969 film The Italian Job within its walls.
When it comes to views, the Lancaster is as good as it gets. Visitors at its deluxe suites, for example, have sweeping views of Hyde Park, with London’s skyline – and the Shard, the Gherkin and even Wembley in plain sight – in the background.
To the uninitiated, the location might seem oddly quiet, as the hotel is surrounded by idyllic, largely residential streets on three sides. But make no mistake, the Lancaster is convenient: Oxford Street’s many shops are barely a 15-minute walk away, with a stroll to Paddington Station taking only slightly longer.
Guests aren’t short on options when it comes to dining at the Lancaster. Restaurants range from the award-winning yet charmingly unpretentious Niwa Thai to Island Grill, which serves locally-sourced classics such as Dorset crab salad and Loch Duart salmon. Another venue – Park Restaurant – provides guests with ample breakfast choices, with the option to pre-order Arabic breakfasts 24 hours in advance. In keeping with the hotel’s quintessentially British vibes, there’s also a place to get afternoon tea and a selection of traditional scones and sandwiches.
Last but not least, the hotel offers a number of bespoke packages that are perfect for Gulf guests. The ‘ultimate VIP shopping experience’, for example, allows guests who shop at the prestigious Bicester Village to have access to personal shoppers, with their items hand-delivered to the hotel, where they are overnighted in an executive room or suite.
While its central location and views are enough to recommend the Royal Lancaster London to travellers, its charm is what keeps us coming back – we can almost hear the sweet sound of The Beatles playing their guitars. thelancaster.com