London truly has it all; art and culture, entertainment, a huge variety of shopping options, excellent eateries, all to rival any major city, and for the top bars, boutiques, restaurants and hotels, there’s no better place to be than Mayfair.
A recent visit to The Athenaeum saw me there for two days, which meant that I got to utilitse many of the facilities to hand in the hotel, which is often difficult where there are such exciting things to do outside in the city.
Close to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the shops of Mayfair and sitting on Piccadilly, this hotel really offers a fantastic location for those wanting to embrace the best of central London.
One of very few five-star London hotels to be family run, The Athenaeum promises everything from an extensive pillow menu to a picnic in the park, all designed to give guests the best experience they can have while staying at the hotel. Facilities include a spa, bar, executive lounge, gorgeously designed rooms, a restaurant by the Galvin brothers, meeting and event spaces and a living wall running up the outside of the building.
The REN spa holds two cedar wood hot tubs, a steam room, sauna, relaxation area and a long list of luscious looking treatments to soothe after a long day exploring the capital. Choose from treatments such as a detox wrap, hot stone massage, salt scrub, manicure, facial or, if you fancy something a little unique, a bespoke treatment can be designed for you. For those wishing to truly indulge, try the REN Moroccan rose ritual; a two-and-a-half-hour bespoke facial, body glow and massage treatment at £270, designed to uplift the spirit and soothe the mind for the ultimate feeling of balance.
During my stay I had access to the executive lounge called The View, which had recently been converted from the penthouse suite. Situated on the tenth floor, the space is a light, bright and contemporary spot to enjoy a drink or snack, put a few hours of work in or relax with great views of the rooftops of the city over the bustling trees of Green Park.
The bar offers a sumptuous setting for a pre or post dinner drink with its dark, sleek décor and low lighting. Mustard, black, grey and a light wood chevron floor make up the space with soft feel furniture and furnishings to enjoy a drink upon.
The excellent service and friendliness of all staff I encountered throughout the hotel from check-in to dining, housekeeping and straight through to check out really stood out for me and I felt that everyone working at the hotel was making an effort to ensure their guests have a great stay.
I stayed in a gorgeous Art Deco-inspired suite in the heart of the most glamorous district of London. The two-room corner suite held a lounge with mini bar, writing desk, teal sofa, TV and floor to ceiling windows with views of the full and luscious trees of Green park.
The suite was filled with calming tones accented by teal and adorned with mirrors, especially in the entrance hall, which handily held a small dressing area with plugs for a hairdryer and straighteners.
The bedroom was inviting with its lighting set into a sunken ceiling to create a warming atmosphere. It held a large TV, mirrored chest of drawers, glass fronted wardrobe and small corner windows. From here the bathroom was accessed – with two sinks, a bath, separate walk-in shower with green splashback, the spacious room held black marble flooring, an abundance of white marble and large mirrors on the walls.
As I had a two-night stay, my room was made up on the second morning and I thought the housekeeping service was fantastic.
Galvin at The Athenaeum is the first restaurant from the Galvin brothers to not offer French style cooking but instead to provide the best of British dining, with a few French treats on the menu too, I noticed. I enjoyed both a lovely dinner and breakfast here and thought the variety of breakfast items as well as the flavours in the evening meal were great with lots of options across all menus.
For breakfast I opted for the vegetarian offering, which consisted of two eggs, avocado, spinach, toasted seeds, hummus, sun dried tomatoes, two mushrooms and an English muffin – slightly different items than those listed but a tasty selection, nonetheless. Accompanied with some sourdough, pain au chocolat, smoked turkey and Brie from the continental selection and I was set up for the day ahead.
The walls are lined with cosy booths or banquet seating in velvety grey fabrics and the pale wood chevron flooring lightens the décor. Dark wood tables, feature lighting and mirrors sat on most walls, which made the open plan space feel even bigger and completed the look.
Dinner, for me, was a lovely mix of autumnal veg, seafood and a classic French dish. I started with the velouté of butternut squash soup and cep mushroom with crème fraiche, pumpkin oil and seeds and it was a flavoursome, warming bowl of nutty, tasty goodness, just what I wanted. Next up I indulged in the Portland crab linguine with coriander and chilli with sides of fries and green beans to share with my dining partner. Fresh coriander doesn’t do it for me, and I find too much chilli to be overpowering, however, both paired here really lifted the crab pasta, adding some full flavour to an otherwise, potentially bland dish. It was a flavoursome and wholesome dish and the plaice dish looked and smelled great too.
I finished with a classic apple Tarte Tatin and thoroughly enjoyed this warm, sweet, crispy, caramelly dessert, which was even better with a yogurt mousse. Overall, I thought the service was quick, restaurant staff were friendly, and the food was fulfilling.
In a nutshell
Welcoming staff, lovely décor, a great location, top facilities and lovely food make The Athenaeum an excellent choice for your next stay in Mayfair.
Rooms can be booked from £238 per night.
Address: 116 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7BJ
Phone: +44 20 7499 3464