The Connaught

(Excerpts taken from review in VIVA Magazine)

There’s nothing more quintessentially British than a black cab… or at least, that’s what we thought until our taxi pulled up to a Mayfair fairytale at The Connaught, part of the Maybourne Group. Elegantly tucked into a corner of this ritzy district with its tidy rows of brick buildings and tree-lined streets, The Connaught has a regal, old world charm to it that is lost in the more tourist-crazed parts of London. We wouldn’t have felt out of place if we had pulled up in a horse carriage instead.  As the valet attendant held an umbrella above my head, I took in my surrounds. It was drizzling lightly on Mount Street, London’s trendy fashion hub with gorgeous boutiques for the likes of Celine, Marc Jacobs and Victoria Beckham. Looks like I’ll have to find room in my bags…

The Welcome

As we entered the lobby, we were greeted with a dark wood staircase and the reception to the right.

connaught reception

He was so posing for this shot

Given that we had arrived a few hours early for check-in at 3 pm, we were invited to wait in one of The Connaught’s many bars until our room was ready. We had a look around, peeking into an elegant champagne bar with thick velvet curtains instead of doors, and Coburg Bar near reception.


connaught champagne bar

Champagne bar… with a stiletto photo on the wall!


Sweet Suite

Every room and suite at The Connaught has been carefully refurbished by legends of the interior design world, Guy Oliver and the late David Collins. As we were escorted to our suite, the hotel representative smiled conspiratorially when I asked if celebrities regularly frequent the hotel. The epitome of discretion, she refused to divulge any names, but a quick Google search later revealed that Bradley Cooper and Gwyneth Paltrow have been spotted at the gorgeous hotel.

Our suite was divided into a bedroom, a living room, and a bathroom bigger than my apartment back home. Aside from a beautiful standalone tub, the bathroom also had his-and-hers showers and one of those fancy Japanese toilets that has temperature control, massage controls, and probably the ability to say hello if I could figure out the correct setting.

connaught blue suite

50 shades of blue – “The Apartment” suite

The bedroom featured a large king size bed with dozens of throw pillows. The living room area had a few couches ideal for receiving guests, a glass table with all the latest fashion and travel magazines, and a lovely lounge chair that begged me to curl up and read for the evening, but alas, we had to leave for afternoon tea.

connaught bedroom

Bed fit for a princess… for a night anyway at the Superior Junior Suite



Whether for breakfast or afternoon tea, this elegant venue will have you sipping tea with your pinky finger pointing out and munching on scones like this is what you do every day.

connaught breakfast

Freshly baked croissants? Don’t mind if I do…


connaught afternoon tea

Afternoon tea affair, complete with champagne and a harp

For lunch, two Michelin starred Helene Darroze is a must-try for a taste of French haute cuisine. You get a game board with ingredients at the beginning and your dish depends on that. And you’re served on Limoges plates with Christofle cutlery. Yet with all this show of luxury, lunch is surprisingly affordable – if you don’t go for the most expensive wines suggested by the sommelier!

connaught restaurant


The Connaught has a handful of regal bars ideal for a nightcap. Coburg bar has armchairs and dark wood finishing – made for cigars and brandy for gents. The Connaught Bar is stylish and has creative cocktails, including one made with dates catered toward Mideast clients!

connaught bar 2

Daytime peek into the Connaught Bar – a crowded hotspot at night

We can’t wait to return!


Baby its cold outside… even in April!

What To Pack

To make the most out of a stay at the regal Connaught, embrace British designers and a pop of vibrant colour with this ensemble. It’s an ideal outfit for a stroll along trendy Mount Street for a bit of window shopping, followed by dinner at Michelin-starred Helene Darroze restaurant and a nightcap at The Connaught Bar. Cheers!




Victoria Beckham blue dress
9,335 AED –

Burberry trench coat
8,940 AED –

Jimmy Choo black boots
3,790 AED –

Alexander McQueen crocodile purse
5,515 AED –

Askew London flower jewelry
2,025 AED –

Burberry scarve
1,450 AED –

Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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