I love to walk along the ribbon of pavement that wraps around the southern edge of Hyde Park. As I go I’ll drink in the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall, marvelling at the Victorian architecture before making my way to Whole Foods to stock up on truffled pecorino (if you haven’t tried it, head down there and buy some pronto – it’s delectable).
There’s a further attraction on this walk – between the two sits the Baglioni Hotel London. My interest in the hotel was first aroused during that Mariah Carey 2005 episode where she issued an insane list of requirements that the Baglioni somehow managed to satisfy. My thoughts on that: any hotel who could ferret out a red carpet and enough white candles to light the diva’s way in the middle of the night must be pretty darn good at the old customer service thing.
Once on my radar for this rather odd reason, I remained curious and eventually decided to book myself in on a Saturday night prior to a wedding. My excuse for such opulence was a bit flimsy – curiosity aside, I simply longed for a bit of a break from my home routine and wanted to get ready on the Sunday without the usual shuffling around in a dusty cupboard for shoes or carrying bins out in my DVT dress. I wanted my Mariah moment, and I suspected the Baglioni could deliver.
The first thing to say is that the service is outstanding – no whim nor fancy went uncatered for, and I was instantly upgraded simply because I was the last to check in and they hadn’t filled the suite (does this go on at all hotels?! If so, my tardiness may serve me very well for once). The decor is very gold, very black, borderline garish. If you’re a fan of overt luxury: yes. If ramshackle and boutique do it for you: no.
The room was noteworthy for its size and the sheer feeling of luxury – from the chaise to the old Hollywood dressing table to the golden sinks, every feature was designed to say ‘yes, I’m expensive – take a moment to appreciate me.’
Unfortunately, I was let down by both the spa and the restaurant. The spa has no swimming pool, sauna or steam room (somehow this seems absurd in a place like the Baglioni), the treatment was slightly lacklustre, and the food was passable, but for the price it cost for a little salad I could’ve waltzed down to Whole Foods and got similar along with an entire block of my favourite pecorino (though sitting on the terrace overlooking the park was pretty special).
My feeling on this place is that it’s built for escapism; It’s fancy, it’s located in a glorious spot, it’s a bit sexy and sleek and it definitely screams ‘special occasion.’ Go for that and you’ll love it as much as me and Mariah.
Baglioni Hotel London is available from £290 per night per room on a B&B basis, including taxes. For bookings and further information please visit www.baglionihotels.com/london or call 020 736 85700