Review: Royal Lancaster London
A perfect luxury hotel for a family staycation – with possibly the best views in London
While I may have lived in London for over 20 years, I still get the thrill of a tourist seeing the city for the very first time when I gaze out across its skyline from a lofty height. So to say that I was in my element in the Park Suite at the Royal Lancaster would be an understatement indeed. There is not just one view but three different vistas from each of its rooms.
From the capacious lounge, look one way and you can see over to the north of the city, head to the next window and you can gaze out at the vast expanse of Hyde Park. Move into the bedroom and you can see right across to the south with the BT Tower, the Shard and London Eye on the horizon. Like a kid in a sweet shop, I darted from one delicious view to the next – there’s even picture windows in the bathroom so you need not miss out for even a second. Seeing we had struck gold with our stunning room, I cancelled our early evening plans so we could stay and relax, and just drink it all in.
The views couldn’t sustain us indefinitely though so we eventually pulled ourselves away and went to explore the rest of the hotel. The Royal Lancaster came out of a recent refurb looking truly sensational, and the mid-century property has given a nod and a wink to its heritage with retro touches in the newly styled interiors – it’s all plush-luxe with white marble, gold highlights and velvet.
With its welcoming fire, the bar beckoned and we settled ourselves in for drinks while considering our dining options.There is the Island Grill for locally-sourced British dishes, or Nipa Thai, with its all-female all-Thai kitchen. We plumped for Nipa Thai, and found it to be a buzzy place, offering a high quality take on the usual Thai staples.
Heading back to our room afterwards, the true beauty of the London skyline revealed itself against the inky night sky with the skyscrapers lit up and dazzling in the distance. The kids tucked up in their beds that had been made up in the lounge, I settled in to the vast double bed in the adjoining bedroom. The book I’d brought was left untouched as I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the view.
I awoke rested but early – cue more gazing out of the windows as dawn broke, this time watching from the monsoon shower. Admiring the autumn colours across the park, this is one incredible way to start the morning.
You can continue your view-watching through breakfast with the Park Restaurant offering Hyde Park as its backdrop. Hotel buffets in busy hotels – even at the higher end – can sometimes feel rather too loud and bustling when all you want is a quiet corner and a cappuccino. But in this light and airy room, everything seemed to flow well. We loved the small touches such as the honeycomb that comes from the hotel’s own rooftop hives.
It was a beautiful sunny morning so we wandered over the road into Hyde Park and on to Kensington Gardens, where the children adored the Diana Memorial Playground with its giant wooden ship. The location of the hotel is superb and there is plenty within walking distance, including Kensington’s museums, Notting Hill and the West End. This will be a fine spot for a Christmas staycation when Winter Wonderland takes place so close, and you can easily get to a choice of the best shopping districts for those last-minute gifts.
If you’ve run out of annual leave, a London staycation is just the ticket, and a stay at the Royal Lancaster is the perfect pampering treat to recharge your batteries. It was luxurious without being stuffy, and offers a great welcome to those travelling with children.
- Rates at Royal Lancaster London start from £229 room only in a Classic category. +£900 to upgrade to the Park Suite.
More staycations to try: www.timeandleisure.co.uk