Checking In and Checking Out

Sleeping with London's Upper Crust in Mod Style

by Liza Foreman
A The Royal Suite study room. All photos courtesy of Intercontinental London Park Lane.

InterContinental London Park Lane offers old-school charm with modern touches in the white-hot center of posh London. Welcome to slumming it with the upper crust.

CHECKING IN

Overview

is one of the most established, old-school hotels in London. In 2015, it celebrated its 40th anniversary and introduced a range of new programs (like gluten-free high tea) to keep it ahead of the crowd. But it remains a prime people-watching spot, a place to mix with old money and have a royal London experience.

Claim to Fame

Situated in ritzy Mayfair on the site of Queen Elizabeth's childhood home at the very iconic-sounding No. 1 Park Lane, it occupies the prime spot on one of the poshest streets in London, right next to Hyde Park and a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace. The hotel leverages its connections effectively, offering guests Made in Mayfair bespoke tours, with stops on Saville Row and at Floris, Britain's oldest perfumer. Made in Mayfair is just one of the number of the InterContinental offers around the world.

Park Lane also has some of the city's most expensive suites, like the deluxe Royal Suite which comes with private butlers and whatever one's heart desires, and , one of the best Italian restaurants in town.

Entrance to Intercontinetal London Park Lane

The port cochere with doorman.

Wellington Lounge at Intercontinetal London Park Lane

The Wellington Lounge.

What's on Site

Its prime location at the end of Piccadilly places the hotel a stone's throw from the Royal Academy of Arts, Savile Row, and Buckingham Palace. The hotel has many social spaces — a large lounge lobby; , which specializes in gin; , where they serve afternoon tea; , which is known for its weekend brunch; the aforementioned Theo Randall; and a spa, fitness center, and hair and makeup salon. I loved the convenience and location.

The Food

Food options are delicious, as was proved by a sumptuous meal cooked for hundreds of guests at one of the many events the hotel is involved with. I attended one of these, British Polo Day, where the hotel chefs provided a feast that included afternoon tea and a three-course meal of roast meats and vegetables. The hotel is an easy place to get stuck in British traditions.

In-house Italian restaurant Theo Randall, meanwhile, has a menu that changes daily. Now in its tenth year, the award-winning restaurant offers both minimalist and hearty dishes that suited both myself and my dairy- and gluten-free guest, most memorably squid with marinated vegetables and mashed potato. I don't eat bread, but I tasted all sorts of nibbles dreamt up by the chef. The hotel is really innovative when it comes to food. The gluten-free cream tea in the afternoon was served with a mind-boggling range of specially flavored Floris teas, scones, and inspired deserts.

The breakfast buffet overlooking the park was worthy of the wealthy Arab families and hip young business types and internet gurus the hotel attracts.

Living Room in Royal Suite, Intercontinetal London Park Lane

The Royal Suite living area.

Bedroom in Royal Suite, Intercontinetal London Park Lane

The Royal Suite bedroom.

The Rooms

The hotel has 447 rooms, including 60 suites, many of which have views of Hyde Park and landmarks like Wellington Arch. Rooms are high-tech but decorated in sumptuous, old-world style. Plush beds, deep armchairs, and wooden furnishings give the feel of an English country home. My room was compact but relaxing, with a big bed, a sitting area, and a luxurious bathroom with a tub and super soft towels. I particularly liked the range of global radio channels on offer via the vast flat screen TV, a reflection of its global clientele.

This Hotel Is Perfect For

Families, business travelers, honeymooners, and independent travelers that want a no-hassle splurge and an old pro as a host.

The Hotel Is Not So Perfect For

Anyone on a budget.

Superior Room at Intercontinetal London Park Lane

A Superior Room.

 IC Park and Wellington Arch, London

The Wellington Arch.


CHECKING OUT

Neighborhood Vibe

Park Lane, one of the poshest addresses in London, is home to top hotels and luxury car showrooms. The hotel also sits on the corner of Piccadilly, another illustrious street that's home to The Royal Academy of Arts and The Albany, one of the most exclusive residential addresses in the city. The hotel is also next to the vast Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.

Things to Do Nearby

So much! Go for a jog, bike ride, or boat trip on the lake in . Stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the pavilions that line the main lake in the park. Or take a swim in the pond at the . Stroll down Pall Mall to visit Buckingham Palace, then continue on Pall Mall to the alternative for art or films. Continue up to Trafalgar Square to visit and , a great spot for lunch as well as art.

Or walk up Park Lane to go shopping at the most famous London shopping street, Oxford Street, and visit department store and snack in the elaborate food hall. Check out the fabulously designed women's department and the Wonder Room, which is being redesigned to better showcase all those expensive jewels. Wander behind Selfridges to the fabulous  and have lunch in a glass atrium or work by appointment in their dinky library.

The Peruvian restaurant , serves delicious food and hosts a lively scene at night. Wander to Piccadilly Circus for the people watching or see a show in nearby Covent Garden.

The range of fabulous museums in walkable South Kensington are close by. The has an amazing collection of fashion, textiles, and history looted from all over the world. Learn how Britain lead the world in watch and clock-making at the , now the new home of The Clockmakers Collection, the world's largest and oldest assembly of watches and clocks. Repair for drinks across the street at the newly redesigned .

BOOK IT

Rates start at £299. .

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE

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