The Lanesborough

*A version of this story appears in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Fall 2017 Issue

Proudly placed between two royal parks facing Buckingham Palace and London’s fashionable arts district, The Lanesborough Hotel is a modern tribute to British elegance.

Walking into the stately Lanesborough Hotel is akin to taking a step back in time… with a high tech twist. Gone are the crowded streets of central London; here is a place where butlers suited in grey bespoke suits open doors in a well rehearsed choreography of smiles and bows, where original artwork that rivals London’s galleries decorate the walls. Before you brush the hotel off as a traditional, buttoned up experience, it’s worthwhile to get to know why The Lanesborough continues to be a favorite of royalty, celebrities, and the odd, wild 1920’s party thrown in the presidential suite. Welcome to The Lanesborough.


A Piece of British History

A member of the prestigious Oetker Collection, The Lanesborough was once the home of the Viscount Lanesborough in 1719, before becoming St George’s Hospital and eventually opening as The Lanesborough Hotel in 1991. Walking into the entrance, with its three tiered chandeliers, oil paintings and Regency colours, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a centuries-old hotel that has been remodelled. In fact, the hotel is less than 25 years old and closed in 2013 for a complete refurbishment spearheaded by the renowned designer Alberto Pinto.

Behind the mahogany desks at the reception area sits a grand mahogany display case full of beautiful blue and white china featuring Chinois designs.

Rather than an impersonal hotel check in, this feels like you’re being received in the sitting area in the home of a wealthy friend.

Walking around, this first impression will intensify. It’s your quirky Downton Abbey fantasy come alive. You will marvel at some of the artwork – for example, the drapery effect on this wall is actually hand-painted, it’s not cloth:

Fine Dining

Dining at Michelin-starred Celeste is an experience to write home about.  The walls are a refreshing baby blue and white. Tiered chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, with the main one weighing over 200 kilograms. A jazz pianist improvises on a black grand piano tucked discreetly in a corner.

It is a beautiful manifestation of what you can expect to be served on a plate here, as well; the exquisite attention to detail is reflected in the cuisine. From pan-fried halibut with a pistachio crust to creamy foie gras, make sure to save room for dessert.

Sweets are architectural masterpieces here, with a grand finale of a chocolate dome that is ceremoniously cracked in front of your eyes to reveal colourful, sugary treats inside. It is sure to delight the child in every one of us.

Regal Suites

Each room at The Lanesborough is unique and designed to have features that differ from the rest. Most of the rooms have a lightened mahogany wood effect with varying colours.

Royal Suite

Most have marble bathrooms and standalone tubs that promise the delight of a warm, scented bath on a rainy day.

With the throwback to another time that is pervasive throughout the hotel, the modern touches are a welcome element that keep guests connected to the present. A wonderfully funny feature in each room is the hidden TV that materializes by the press of a remote button from behind an oil painting.

The WiFi is high speed and the TV features complimentary movies. There is a tablet in each room where you can set room lighting the way you like, as well as order room service and call your butler. A butler is available to each room 24/7 to cater to needs, including pressing laundry. A highlight of a visit is using the tablet to order complimentary ‘movie-night popcorn’, a perfect, buttery complement to a movie at the end of a long day of sightseeing.

Spa Heaven

The refurbishment at The Lanesborough is most apparent in the cavernous, underground spa. With a decidedly more modern look and feel, the extension includes 18,000 square feet of seriously impressive facilities.

Spa reception

The gym is fully equipped for professionals and beginners, with dumbbells branded with The Lanesborough name and logo. The personal trainer on hand is credited with working with Elle McPherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

A private restaurant featuring healthy food, also curated by the Michelin-starred chef from Celeste, includes menu items that are sure-fire favourites with a twist, like homemade avocado toast.

A room full of mirrors offers barre and ballet classes. A spa butler is on hand to give you towels and water after a workout. Next door, a large hydropool is a perfect place to take a refreshing dip, with steam and dry saunas nearby.

The treatment rooms for massages are inspired by Roman baths with a touch of opulence. There is a mani-pedi section for ladies, while the most distinguished feature in the men’s section is a private changing room encased in gold.

Mani-pedi, anyone?

Final Say

Staying at the hotel has the feel of staying at a fun, interactive royal home. Guests will be hard pressed to find reasons to leave with the art, delicious fare and decadent movie-night popcorn on offer. Because at The Lanesborough, they have thought of everything before you, so all you need to do is sit back, relax, and watch the oil painting rise up to reveal your widescreen TV!

What To Pack

For a quintessential London look, embrace British designers in this look that will look beautiful in photos at Celeste!

London lunch



Diane Von Furstenberg pink coat
£535 –

Balenciaga clear-heel boots
£680 –

Gucci earrings

Hunter pink umbrella
£35 –

Formal shawl
£11 –


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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