Fresh From Million-Dollar Make Overs, London's Top Hotels Are Enjoying A Renaissance
From the Print Edition:
Jeff Bridges, Sep/Oct 01
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In the past, The Berkeley had a slightly clinical atmosphere, lacking the warmth of, say, The Connaught. That has changed. The decor is charming and varies slightly from room to room, combining comfort with stylishness. All rooms have short entrance corridors, offering privacy and tranquility, and are extremely well equipped, with three types of modem outlets, video and CD libraries (small fee payable), umbrellas, safes, and fresh flowers and fruit daily.
Each of the three delightful conservatory suites has its own enormous terrace. If you want a balcony room, ask for one on the upper floors. On the top floor is the excellent spa (daily fee payable), with its swimming pool and health treatment rooms; a personal trainer is also available.
The public rooms still seem a bit confined, but The Berkeley is blessed with two fine restaurants. Vong has been here for five years. Although not everyone admires Vong's fusion cuisine, it remains very popular and sensibly priced. The well-known Gascon chef Pierre Koffmann has moved his celebrated Tante Claire restaurant here from its original location in Chelsea. The latest innovation at The Berkeley is the Blue Bar, a dazzling room, celebrating the color blue in all its shades; a good selection of Cuban cigars such as Trinidads, Hoyo de Monterreys and Romeo y Julietas is available.
Brook Street, Mayfair, W1A 2JQ
141 rooms; 62 suites; 2 penthouses
Rates: doubles from about $400 to $625;
suites from about $700 to $3,400; two
penthouses about $4,800 each
Mention that you are staying at London's best hotel to a well-heeled Brit and the likely response is, "Of course, you are at Claridge's." However such praise is not just idle chatter or exaggerated courtesy. The hotel is fantastic, offering luxury in a distinctively sophisticated British style.
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