A hotel in one form or another since 1815 and one of London’s enduring grande dames, The Connaught may thrive on tradition but it’s still full of surprises. Take the newest addition to its inventory: its most impressive suite, The Mews, is in fact a Mayfair townhouse.
After check-in, most Mews guests will be led through the hotel to another innocuous corridor, at the end of which stands their new abode. This doorway is much like any other, but the Mews is different from every other hotel room in the city.
With a secondary en-suite bedroom tucked off to one side, its entry-level floor is a lounge, dining room and entertainment space all in one, a big-screen TV flanked by a well-stocked library and two open fireplaces; a baby grand piano stands on one side, a little dining table and terrace with retractable canopy on another.
Upstairs lies the master bedroom and vast bathroom awash with marble and finished with a standalone oval tub; downstairs leads to a doorway, providing direct access to Adam’s Row - guests who come and go this way rather than via the Connaught lobby could easily imagine they have their very own des res right in the heart of London.
That convincing homeliness is derived partially from The Mews’ generous proportions - it was a private residence before it was absorbed into the hotel - but it’s also a tribute to the inviting interiors concocted by London’s Blair Associates Architecture. This is a very tasteful, relaxed and relaxing space - a calm retreat, with plenty of subtle details, rather than an overwrought or flouncy hotel suite.
From the Adam’s Row entrance, guests will clasp the walnut staircase’s leather handrails to ascend to the lounge, where the floors are lined with Douglas Fir and the walls decorated with paintings by Irish artist Richard Gorman. Elsewhere a Marc Newson-designed pedestal supports a barbell-heavy Taschen book on the works of David Hockney and by the hotel-side entrance waits Couples, a work by Louise Bourgeois.
Go upstairs once more and a little writing nook, complete with Smythson papers and pens, is a lovely little enticement to revitalise the lost art of letter writing - a simple, nostalgic pleasure I enjoyed during my stay. The bedroom, decked again in wood and finished in a handsome, palette of white and grey, is suitably tranquil space but unexpectedly it was the en suite’s double sinks that most attracted my notice. Carved from a block of Calcite Azul Quarts, they seem almost translucent and shimmer in the water.
Understandably the Connaught team expects Mews guests will want to linger on site for as long as possible, and so the services of a butler will be at their constant disposal.
Surprisingly, though, this was where I felt The Mews was still in need of improvement. It was perhaps because the accommodation remains relatively new that some staff weren’t initially able to adequately explain its amenities and tech offerings (although they’re ultimately quite straightforward - nothing to worry about if you have a disdain for overly complicated gadgets and gizmos) and there were other unexpected moments of confusion with my schedule and room service order.
I have had exemplary service at The Connaught’s sister properties Claridge’s and The Berkeley, so suspect this experience - my first stay at the hotel - may have been a temporary aberration rather than indicative of what might await Mews guests over the months and years to come.
And those issues aside, Mews habitués will find that time passes by very easily, and a bit too quickly. Reading books by the fire or playing the piano might be nobler pursuits, but I happily spent a couple of hours making use of the various games consoles left at guests’ disposal.
Another offering for Mews guests comes in the form of The Connaught’s Moynat Bijoux Box, a dainty treasure chest box crammed with jewellery from Mount Street neighbour Moynat and vintage jeweler Susan Caplan. Guests can plunder its contents, borrowing what they wish for the duration of their stay (and buying their favourites if they wish at check-out).
If you do stay at The Mews, select something sparkling from the box and set aside a couple of hours for cocktails at the Connaught Bar - it’s a sophisticated setting for a date and the lighting is close to perfect - or take a more demure piece for a booking at Helene Darroze at The Connaught. After a comprehensive sampling of the bar menu and an elaborate meal, another benefit of briefly living in The Mews is that it takes just one easy minute to get ‘home’ after a slap-up dinner.
Rates at The Mews start from £12,000 per night; the hotel's entry-level rooms start at £630 and the inventory also includes the signature suite The Apartment, which starts from £16,800 per night. For more on the hotel, visit the-connaught.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 7499 7070.
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