DIPLOMATIC CONCIERGE: Diplomat visits London’s latest hotel renovation, Royal Lancaster London
Many of you will know the Royal Lancaster London (formerly known as Lancaster London) from attending various national days in their ballroom. The building holds one of the largest banqueting venues in Europe with room for 3,000 guests across its 16 refurbished meetings and events spaces. Collectively, the Nine Kings and Westbourne Suites can host 2,400 guests for a seated dinner.
In November, Royal Lancaster London unveiled a new design following an £80 million renovation by its Thai owners. Overlooking Hyde Park, the hotel has been completely transformed both internally and externally. The entire front of the hotel has been remodelled and the exterior now features a dramatic eight-metre high glazed façade revealing an impressive double-height reception space. Interiors are contemporary 1960s, with eye-catching lights and carpets in a hexagonal honeycomb design, a nod to the bee hives on the roof that pollinate the lime trees in Hyde Park.
Royal Lancaster London has an illustrious history: scenes for The Italian Job with Michael Caine were filmed in the building, and events have been attended by Mohammed Ali, Princess Diana and countless other royals. Famously, the hotel also hosted the after-party for The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film premiere, which The Beatles’ attended in the Yellow Submarine Nightclub.
Set over 18 storeys, all 411 guestrooms and suites have been refurbished to the highest standards. Rooms have vast windows revealing far-reaching views across London. Room categories start with the Classic Double Room at 20 square metres, and my Executive Room on the 17th floor revealed an unbeatable vista, taking in everything from the Paddington Basin development to the BT Tower, punctuated by the Gherkin, The Shard, the London Eye, and the lights of Winter Wonderland encased in the beautiful greenery of Hyde Park.
My room comprised a lavish bed and a sofa to seat four, along with a coffee table and enormous television. At my desk by 6.30am, I was grateful for the in-room tea and coffee making facilities that helped my work get underway. The large marble bathroom (including bath and waterfall shower) had underfloor heating. Catering for a truly international audience, all rooms have Handy phones (a travel companion including unlimited local and international calls, mobile internet, plus information and discounts on things to do in the area), hidden international plug sockets, and televisions showing over 138 international channels.
On the night we visited, every table at Nipa Thai, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, was packed. Named after the owner’s wife, the restaurant and its team of female chefs has gathered a cult following. The crispy soft-shell crab served with spicy mango salad and the Pad Thai alone are reason enough for a visit.
Set within acres of white marble, the chic Hyde Lobby Bar serves coffee, champagne, cocktails and light food. Leather banquet-style seating, rich velvet sofas and armchairs are arranged around white marble and brass tables.
With a few small bits still to be done, the hotel’s renovations are due to complete in May 2018. Just a few minutes’ walk from Paddington Station (ideal for those coming in on the Heathrow Express) and with rooms starting at £219 per night, any diplomat would be more than happy to stay here. If possible, request a room above the seventh floor for the best views.
Royal Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY
T: +44 (0)20 7551 6000