On a discreet street in Mayfair you’ll find the inconspicuous Brown’s Hotel London sitting among fellow townhouses. Georgie Bradley stays for a weekend of pure class and refinement…
When I used to live in London, interiors like Brown’s Hotel’s Kipling Suite was something I only experienced via the box and/or lingering outside people’s houses in posh parts of the capital – if the drapes weren’t drawn in, that is. Ah the days of sauntering around and salivating over those ‘what could be mine one day’ catalogue-perfect living rooms. I’d mentally pick out my room and imagine snug Sundays curled up in my fabulous abode. But for one long weekend earlier this year, I got to play pretend and lived out a long-held dream.
London’s hotel scene is so perky, there’s always somewhere opening or a new place to be – to a point of exhaustion however. What is so brilliant about Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel, is how reserved it is on the circuit – it’s got noise but not the kind that brings in riff-raff – no thank you. On a less than hustle and bustle Albemarle Street smack in the centre of Mayfair, you’ll find the more than charming hotel.
When you first enter, you feel like you’ve come into a tucked away private members’ club – there’s a very intimate and exclusive air about it. The reception and concierge desks add to this personal feel by being equally quaint. The hotel first opened its doors in 1837, so there’s deep history here. And knowing this lends credence to its current status of being a boutique style hotel, attracting the discerning luxury traveller of fine taste. You won’t find a lairy mob checking in, but a remaining breed of understated individuals with yesteryear gentility.
On the ground floor too are the restaurants and bars where you’ll find that sophistication and style is always on the menu. There’s the HIX Mayfair restaurant, Donovan Bar and the award-winning English Tea Room, all of which see an after work crowd in the main – the sharply suited and booted and A-line dress wearing with glossy bobs type. Fantastic for a slice of definitive afternoon tea or a late night tipple by the antique fireplace.
Having recently finished refurbishment, the Kipling Suite, named after the much loved Rudyard Kipling of the Jungle Book, who was said to have written a sizeable block of the novel here, has had the most endearing lick of paint, led by Olga Polizzi, the group’s director of design.
The Kipling suite opens up to a dense forest-green wallpaper that strikes you as jungle-like by designers Lewis & Wood, in keeping with the history of the original suite. The living room is something out of The World of Interiors. The space is so well filled, you instantly feel a sense of place and belonging. The silk curtain fabric by Manuel Canovas and furniture by Julian Chichester are gorgeous; the rustic bookcase in the corner can stimulate intellectual thought and talk while the timber flooring is prestigious. You’ll also find a framed hand-written letter from Kipling, penned and sent during his stay at Brown’s Hotel.
The floor to ceiling French windows let in an astonishing amount of natural light as if England were a permanently sun drenched country. I had my Madeline Shaw breakfast with a side of the Times Newspaper each morning next to said windows. You can imagine.
The bedroom is decidedly cosy with whiffs of history; every nook and cranny of the suite is filled with multiple editions of Kiplings’ novels. The mid-century pieces are what really make the room special as they sit side-by-side with contemporary fixtures. The bedroom leads onto a 9sqm walk-in wardrobe fit for your wardrobe times three with his and hers separate areas with a beautiful central ottoman.
The bathroom is gloriously marbled with thick fluffy towels and is a capacious 16sqm – accommodating a bathtub, a double walk in shower and two (two!) armchairs with a side table and an above Alabastar chandelier sourced from an antique dealer in Sussex. There’s also a modern sculptural shell wall light from Porta Romana and gold ornate vanity wall lights, making this my favourite part of the suite, and arguably the most important part of a hotel stay. The Spiezia Organics amenities are ludicrously luxurious and offer a candle to reset your mood, deluxe body balm and a body and bath oil to unwind in your very impactful bath.
A stay at the Kipling Suite comes with an array of extras to complete your experience. Among them are: bags unpacked on arrival and then packed again for departure, evening wear pressed on the night you arrive, a very welcomed bottle of Ruinart Champagne, a personal shopping experience at Paul Smith on Albemarle Street and two-half hour treatments at the spa. The spa exemplifies the spirit of wellness luxe as I had an aromatherapy massage to the sound of pure bliss, which means nothing, no echoes of the outside grind or fuss, perfection.
There’s so much joy to be had in the Kipling Suite. You experience a world totally removed from the norm. It’s London’s best-kept secret.
Brown’s Hotel London, 33 Albemarle St, Mayfair,
London W1S 4BP +44 207 493 6020