The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences
In the heart of Mayfair, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, one of London’s few family run five-star hotels, boasts a proudly independent personality. The bold new look, by leading British agency Kinnersley Kent Design, perfectly expresses that spirit throughout, from its spectacular new architectural double storey lobby and lounge with floor-toceiling windows giving the impression of being in, rather than opposite, Green Park. Kinnersley Kent Design has struck a stunning balance between the sophisticated and approachable, the classic and contemporary.
A private, understated hotel where discretion and first-rate service are guaranteed, The Athenaeum underwent a recent renovation to its ground floor, introducing floor-to-ceiling windows to the open-plan lobby and lounge and new all-day dining menus from Michelin-Starred chefs, The Galvin Brothers now at the culinary helm.
Overlooking Green Park, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences offers a fashionable retreat close to Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and the restaurants and boutiques in the upscale Mayfair neighborhood. It offers 132 rooms, 12 suites, 18 residences and The Penthouse Suite which takes pride in its individuality. The re-design serves to strengthen this philosophy by honouring the hotel’s heritage with everything carefully chosen to complement and emphasise its award-winning one of a kind spirit. The room property was originally built in 1850 as a private residence that became a high society Gentleman’s Club during the Victorian era and was transformed into a five-star hotel decades later. Guest rooms and residences offer stylish, London-inspired furnishings with unique pieces of art, regal crown molding and contemporary furniture. Rooms, suites and full-service residences with kitchens, living and dining areas are contemporary but homely, unfussy yet inviting, practical whilst stylish. Each room provides Hypnos beds, Bose docking stations, Nespresso coffee makers and large flat-screen TVs. They are equally convenient for business travellers as they are for families staying for a flying visit or year-long sabbatical.
Hotly awaited is the new restaurant Galvin at The Athenaeum restaurant and The Bar at The Athenaeum. In a first ever partnership for the Michelin brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin are at the food and beverage helm throughout the hotel, from breakfast through to dinner, Afternoon Tea, Private Dining and 24/7 In Room Dining. Known for their impeccable seasonally driven and market leading cuisine, acclaimed restaurateurs Chris and Jeff Galvin showcase their favorite dishes, alongside new ones created for The Athenaeum, using British producers’ home grown produce. The BAR has a famous whisky collection, signature cocktails and a discrete entrance on Down Street, with elegant bespoke interiors. Outside, the new Terrace is one of the few outdoor dining areas on Piccadilly.
Guests have access to the property’s gym and Spa facilities, which include cardio machines and strength training equipment. There’s also relaxation areas within the REN Spa. Children are so welcome there’s a Children’s Concierge and many of the fully-serviced residences were designed with families in mind. Last but not least the Living Wall is a captivating vertical garden that goes from the street level to the 10th floor Penthouse.
Located opposite Green Park, the guests can even boast the Royal Family as their neighbours; London’s Piccadilly which isn’t just an iconic address, it’s one of the capital’s most important thoroughfares. In the heart of Mayfair it stretches from Piccadilly Circus to Hyde Park with some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks lining the way. These include The Royal Academy, Green Park and much more. The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is the essence of Englishness: discreet, personal, friendly, interesting, lavish, quirky and down to earth. But it’s perhaps the views that leave the lasting impression, taking in Royal Green Park, the spires of Buckingham Palace and London Eye beyond.
Stylish and uniquely decorated, the Superior rooms are ideal for a short break or romantic getaway. With lots of little luxuries to enjoy, there’s also a super-comfy Hypnos bed to guarantee a great night’s sleep. Living space of 19–21 sqm.
The elegant Deluxe rooms come with all the expected mod-cons of a five-star stay, with the added bonus of overlooking the Victorian townhouses and hidden gems of Down Street. An ideal weekend retreat for two. Living space of 21–26 sqm.
Park View Room
The beautiful Park View rooms bring the outside in and exude contemporary five-star style. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views across Green Park that you will never grow tired of. Living space of 21–26 sqm.
The beautiful Mayfair Suites are a tranquil retreat with spacious open-plan layout and comfy king-size four poster beds with Hypnos mattresses and views across Victorian Mayfair. Living space of 40 sqm. These gorgeous Suites provide the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. King-size beds with Hypnos mattresses are adorned in luxury linen, while spacious living areas invite you to sit back and unwind.
Green Park Suite
Floor-to-ceiling windows in the Green Park Suites provide leafy views across the Royal Park. Most include king-size four poster beds with Hypnos mattresses and open-plan or separate sitting room. Living space of 49 sqm. These gorgeous Suites provide the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. King-size beds with Hypnos mattresses are adorned in luxury linen, while spacious living areas invite you to sit back and unwind.
The Penthouse Suite
With three double bedrooms, a Jacuzzi bath and private balcony with panoramic views across the iconic and regal architecture of the London skyline, nothing compares to the spectacular Penthouse Suite. Living space from 105 sqm. This gorgeous Suite provide the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. King-size beds with Hypnos mattresses are adorned in luxury linen, while spacious living areas invite you to sit back and unwind.
Enjoy the freedom that comes with your own private London residence. Their 18 luxury serviced apartments are located in Victorian red-brick townhouses adjacent to the hotel. Each apartment is accessed via your own front door with discreet internal entry to the hotel. They are fully equipped with a kitchen, spacious living area and 24-hour In Room Dining. Many are interconnecting, making them ideal for families, groups and long-term stays. Living space of 50 sqm.
Their REN Spa is a boutique haven of tranquillity, a gem in the heart of this hotel and the perfect choice for a girl’s weekend or to relax before Ladies Day at Ascot or Henley Regatta. Indulge yourself with bespoke REN treatments and personalised packages. They also offer a range of beauty treatments and finishing touches including manicures and pedicures, Gelish nails, Luscious lashes and HD Brows to make you look and feel gorgeous. After a long flight or busy day shopping, relax and de-stress in the two cedar wood hot tubs, sauna, steam room and relaxation area. They have something for everyone but if you don’t see the luxury Spa treatments you want, they will put something together just for you.
Guests have access to the property’s gym which include cardio machines and strength training equipment.
Designed and built in London in 2009 by award-winning artist and research scientist Patrick Blanc, the Living Wall is a vertical garden, created to echo the fantastic open space of Green Park opposite the hotel.
The Athenaeum is so committed to ensure families enjoy every minute of their stay, they offer a Children’s Concierge service to help plan each visit before the arrival and make the most of it during each stay.
Meetings & Events
When it comes to hosting business meetings, conferences and corporate events, it is essential that all arrangements are managed with attention-to-detail and precision. The entire team at The Athenaeum take pride in their standards, whether you are planning a small board meeting or a launch event venue for 100. Choose from a selection of spacious, air-conditioned meeting spaces with excellent acoustics. All have natural light with views over Mayfair’s leafy Green Park. Their bespoke corporate packages include a range of five-star services and amenities with large screen TVs, DVD and high speed Wi-Fi all included as standard. They can also provide you with a range of equipment, printing and administration services. Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin have inspired creative menus and a range of dining options including business breakfasts, light lunches and Champagne receptions. Surprise birthday celebrations, annual family gatherings, baby showers, there is always an excuse to throw a good party. At The Athenaeum, they have the knowledge and expertise you need to pull out all the stops, whether it is for an intimate private dinner party, a cocktail reception or an extra-indulgent Afternoon Tea with friends and family.
With its elegant Art Deco-inspired interiors, sumptuous menus created by Michelin-starred chefs The Galvin Brothers and impeccable service, The Athenaeum is the perfect choice for your big day. They love weddings and have everything you need under one roof to create a memorable celebration that is totally individual to you. Their luxury event spaces on the first floor have floor-to-ceiling windows with romantic leafy views over Green Park. The central Mayfair location makes travel easy and the award-winning Afternoon Tea, private dining and boutique spa make for a fabulous experience for your wedding party.
“Luxury Travel Guide Award 2016” – awarded by Luxury Travel Guide Global Awards
“One of Top Hotels in London 2015” – awarded by Travel + Leisure Magazine
“Favourite Hotel in UK 2014” – awarded by Family Vacation Critic
“Top London on Tea Place 2012” – awarded by The Tea Guild
“Best UK Family Hotel 2011” – awarded by Junior Design Awards
“One of the Top 500 Hotels in the World 2008” – awarded by Travel + Leisure Magazine
The history of The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences:
The prestigious address of 116 Piccadilly has seen its fair share of inhabitants over the years. Back in 1850, it started life as Hope House, the elegant private abode of MP Henry Hope. The mansion was said to have attracted the attention of Charles Dickens, who noted its extravagant interiors. This is not to suggest, however, that Mr Hope was an ostentatious character. In fact, he was renowned for his astuteness and committed patronage of the arts. His prize collection of Old Masters, which he would occasionally put on display to the public, made Hope House the home of one of Europe’s finest private art collections.
The same rational attributes cannot be assigned, however, to Henry Hope’s son-in-law, the roguish Henry Pelham-Clinton, the 6th Duke of Newcastle. When the Duke wed Hope’s only daughter, Henrietta, his spiralling gambling debts (around £230,000 – an eye-watering £143 million today) were settled and he acquired an impressive property portfolio to boot. When he died aged just 45, Henrietta sold Hope House to the fashionable Junior Athenaeum Club.
Gentlemen’s clubs were all the rage in the Victorian era, and the Junior Athenaeum surged in popularity as it entertained the great and good of London society. Among the MPs and Lords that passed through its doors, the club was particularly favoured by gentlemen connected with literature, science and art. The word “Athenaeum” loosely translates as “library” and is derived from the Greek name Athena, the goddess of wisdom. The noble name stayed at 116 Piccadilly in the 1930s as the club disbanded and the building was transformed into a luxurious Art Deco apartment block.
Four decades later, the Athenaeum and its neighbouring Victorian townhouses were snapped up by British entertainment group The Rank Organisation. The company renovated the apartments into an iconic hotel to accommodate its movie stars whenever they were filming at London’s famous Pinewood and Ealing Studios. As a five-star hotel, The Athenaeum has long been associated with the rich and famous. Charismatic executive manager Sally Bulloch heralded the hotel’s Hollywood golden age in the 1970s, where her natural charm and perennial presence at the hotel bar made her a hit with guests. She was said to have enjoyed a glass of champagne (or two) with Elizabeth Taylor, among countless others, and once (gently) admonished Russell Crowe for leaving his room untidy. Boy band Take That announced their split from the penthouse of The Athenaeum and legendary film director Steven Spielberg even installed an editing suite in one of the hotel’s residences when working on E.T., Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Today, stars, world leaders and the well known continue to use The Athenaeum as their discreet home-from-home.
The Athenaeum has been family-run since the 1990s and could not be more committed to its famous five-star service. An independent spirit remains at the heart of the hotel, where it continues to welcome everyone as VIPs and to make their stay individual.
When to go:
It’s always time to visit London. It gets cold in the winter but rarely snowed in. It gets warm in the summer but rarely blisteringly so (in fact, most buildings don’t even have air-conditioning). The winter months are generally more humid than the summer ones but experience only slightly more rain. You don’t come to London for the weather. It can rain at any time; there’s no dry season here. Daytime temperatures can range from -1° to 35° C but they rarely stay below 2° C or above 26° C for too long. Evenings are usually cool, even in summer, but hot July and August days can be muggy particularly on the Underground, which is not air-conditioned. The principal art season (for theater, concerts, art shows) falls between September and May, leaving the summer months for festivals and park-going. A few royal attractions, such as the state rooms of Buckingham Palace, are only open in the summer when the Queen decamps to Scotland. In summer, when the weather is warmest, the sun sets after 10pm and half of Europe takes its annual holiday and the queues for most of the tourist attractions, such as the London Eye and the Tower of London, might make you wish you’d come in March. For decent prices and lighter crowds, go in spring or fall, April and October seem to have the best confluence of mild weather, pretty plantings, and tolerable crowds. Everything is quietest in mid-winter but a number of minor sights, such as historic houses, sometimes close from November to March and the biggest annual events take place during the warmer months.
Galvin at The Athenaeum
Galvin at The Athenaeum is the latest restaurant from Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin. For the first time the brothers have stepped away from their trademark French-inspired menus in favour of championing Britain’s delicious homegrown produce and supporting independent farmers across the UK. An exciting array of new menus include a modern take on classic British dishes combined with Galvin favourites. Chef-restaurateurs Chris and Jeff Galvin make up one of Britain’s biggest culinary success stories of the past decade. Both are Michelin-star recipients in their own right, and have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, among them Sir Terence Conran, Antony Worrall Thompson and Nico Ladenis. The brothers are known for their love of French cuisine but employ the same passion and philosophy with everything they do. It’s all about simple, ingredient-led cooking with a focus on seasonal ingredients.
The BAR at The Athenaeum is a destination in its own right. Accessed via a discrete entrance on Down Street, it’s intimate and inviting with elegant bespoke interiors. As well as retaining The Athenaeum’s famous whisky collection, The BAR features a fine selection of wine and champagne alongside a range of pioneering craft spirits and Signature Cocktails created by renowned Italian bartender Giancarlo Mancino.
Putting on a good Afternoon Tea is something The Athenaeum has down to a fine art. It’s legendary, in fact, and award-winning, too. The Athenaeum afternoon tea has long been renowned for excellence. It scooped the Tea Guild’s prestigious award for “Top London Afternoon Tea 2012”, considered the Oscars of the tea world. The Galvin Brothers’ modern British Afternoon Tea showcases the country’s very best ingredients: fresh smoked salmon from Severn & Wye, Cumbrian ham, Kentish strawberries and Devonshire clotted cream. Afternoon Tea and a special Galvin Cream Tea are served daily in The BAR, Front Room and their beautiful heated terrace, which is open all year round.
Mayfair is the most central of London’s wealthy areas. Royalty and government are within earshot and the tranquility of the capital’s famous parks virtually on the doorstep. The hotel overlooks Green Park, and so very convenient for Mayfair, St James’s, and Knightsbridge. With its spacious new pavement terrace, its living wall and its views over Green Park, it has a more refreshing, natural feel than neighbouring hotels, especially in summer. With attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the Royal Albert Hall and the beautiful boutiques of Knightsbridge all within close reach, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is the perfect location for your London getaway.
Visit Buckingham Palace – During August and September, Her Majesty The Queen leaves London for her annual visit to Scotland. In this period, the nineteen state rooms are open to the visitors. This is a great occasion to visit Her Majesty’s office and residence. The State Rooms are the most important part of the palace and are magnanimously furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto; sculpture by Canova; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; and some extremely fine pieces of furniture from England and France.
Big Ben – Although commonly thought to be the nickname for the clocktower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben is actually the name for the bell inside of the tower. No matter what you call it, a visit to London wouldn’t be complete without stopping by.
Theatre – London‘s theatre scene is regarded as being one of the best in the world, only comparable with that of Broadway in New York. With new shows opening throughout the year, there is always a performance to suit all tastes. Dramas, comedies, musicals, London truly is the home of theatreland.
Visit Art Galleries – London boasts four World Heritage Sites and hundreds of art galleries, the majority offering free admission making this city a must for culture vultures. London‘s major galleries are home to works by some of the world’s most famous artists.
Explore the Borough Market – London’s oldest food market, Borough Market is a foodie’s paradise offering an eclectic mix of produce, with artisan breads, great cheeses, green grocers offering fresh produce and specialist butchers and fishmongers.
Shopping – Running down the side of Burlington House, now the Royal Academy of Arts, is Piccadilly’s most celebrated pedestrian shopping arcade with its delectable boutique-style luxury shops. It was built in 1819 by Lord George Cavendish to prevent passers-by throwing oyster shells and rubbish into his garden. As in the past, uniformed beadles still patrol the arcade today to discourage inappropriate behaviour. They have the authority to eject anyone who runs, carries large packages, opens an umbrella, whistles, hums or sings. Here you can find exclusive ranges of clothing, footwear, accessories, art, antique silver and jewellery. Another fashionable shopping street in Mayfair is Bond Street. At one time it was best known for top end art dealers and antique shops, clustered around the London office of Sotheby’s auction house. Sotheby’s has been in Bond Street for over a hundred years. Although some of the art and antique dealerships still remain today, most of the shops are now occupied by fashion boutiques, including branches of most of the leading premium priced designer brands in the world and exclusive jewellers.
Discover Green Park – The nearest park to The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is The Green Park which borders on Buckingham Palace and Gardens and St James Palace. With its mature trees and grassland, this provides tranquility and peace from the rush of London.
London galleries and museums are more often than not an overwhelming experience, an endless parade of disoriented visitors blocking your view and usually accompanied by a busy soundtrack of camera clicks. But there’s a different and far more interesting art and design game being played in a handful of addresses, mostly a stone’s throw from the main thoroughfare. With a little effort, you can catch artists with an edge, mingle with art-minded locals in cafes with a view or hunt for quirky souvenirs to wow friends back home.
There are always plenty of wonderful hotels throughout a thriving city like London. Luxury chain hotels attract visitors through familiarity, others have ridden on the wave of fame that notable guests have left in their wake. Then there are those who have made a name for themselves by offering something unique: a prime location, a notable spa, restaurant or service. The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences boasts several reasons to call it home during your stay in this exceptional city. Re-opened in July 2016 following a multimillion pound refurbishment completed by leading British design agency Kinnersley Kent Design, it offers 162 luxury rooms and suites, a new restaurant managed by Galvin Brothers and The Athenaeum afternoon tea that is has long been renowned for excellence. Located in Mayfair, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is the essence of Englishness: discreet, personal, friendly, interesting, lavish, quirky and down to earth.
Getting back to museums, here you can get a slice of true London inspiration and a slice of unbeatable crumble cake all at the same time.
Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)
A house of subversive creation since the 1940s, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) has secured its own rebellious corner on The Mall, the illustrious road that leads from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace over the elegant spreads of St James Park. Walk through the rows of pillars that give The Mall that classy je-ne-sais-quoi of a Parisian Boulevard and enter a world populated by the likes of Damien Hirst and Yoko Ono, William Burroughs and The Smiths. Here you will see a smart selection of emerging artists that will challenge your ideas and views, with exhibitions and talks, film screenings and live music. The cafe itself, overlooking the park, fuses graceful flowers with tasty mix platters and smooth modern beats, giving vital space to after- show meetings and debates. You will also find a perfectly complemented collection of dvds and books on art theory, philosophy, politics and sound.
British Film Institute (BFI)
Just a few minutes walk over the scenic Waterloo bridge to the south side of the Thames, the British Film Institute awaits to immerse you in the fanciful world of film: From classics like Guys and Dolls and ET to the much-awaited London Film Festival premieres and the Q & A with famous screen stars. The BFI is the meeting place for film aficionados (it holds an astonishing collection of British film and television) and fans of the beautiful Thames alike. Look for wild Pedro Almodovar collectables at the shop, before you make your way towards the Riverfront Cafe, Bar & Restaurant for delicious nibbles and drinks under the atmospheric Waterloo bridge. Weather permitting, grab a chaise lounge outside for people watching (the Southbank Centre book market has rows of second hand and antique books sprawling ahead), or get mesmerized by the playful flirtations of shadow and light when the sun sets.
Part of the massive Southbank Centre, the Hayward Gallery houses prestigious venues like the Royal Festival Hall. And, Hayward Gallery is only a few steps up from the BFI and is never short of exciting events. Through the years, visitors at the gallery have… jumped on a boat and rowed on a small pool on its roof, laid on giant plastic bubbles above South Bank’s roof tops or participated in thrilling games of light, in a series of exhibitions that persistently defy perceptions, balancing between virtual and physical reality. The Concrete Day Cafe & Night Bar lands us back down to earth with seasonal salads, old soul classics and a changing exhibition of artworks (the concrete- mixer outlined by fluorescent pink strip lighting outside the cafe is a trademark). Though the more dedicated foodies would do better by heading towards the Real Food Market (most weekends between the gallery and the Royal Festival Hall).
Speaking of surprises, the Serpentine Galleries are two free contemporary art galleries that take their name after the Serpentine Lake, laying serenely in the Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park. From Andy Warhol pop classics to the bold ventures of acclaimed Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic, to Bertrand Lavier’s playful fountain of garden hoses, Serpentine is on a mission to stun visitors, even when all they are after is a good cup of coffee. Each year a famous architect, from Zaha Hadid to Frank Gehry, is commissioned to design a temporary summer pavilion, so you can at last experience eating a luscious muffin inside a giant eggshell.
Galleries aside, there are two London museums that are worth a visit for their unique take on the British quotidian and they are jolly good fun for both children and adults.
The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
Featuring the collection of consumer historian Robert Opie is nestled in the back streets of Notting Hill. It will guide you through a maze of 12.000 oddities and fun facts from the 1800s to the present day – Rimmel cosmetics from the 1890s, KitKats from the 1930s, kids toys and uber-detergents that will make history more gripping than ever before. Needless to say that the museum shop is an experience in itself. On a sunny day,for example, you can enjoy a retro style ice cream while watching memorable TV ads from 1955-85.
Last but not least, the Geffrye Museum is a calm oasis amidst Hoxton’s hip cafes. A trip in a time capsule through period rooms and gardens reflecting the way London homes have changed the last 400 years, along with the taste, the social behaviour and the world as a whole. From a 1695 parlour to a 1998 loft apartment, this free museum is a lesson in style that will both relax and inspire you, the icing on the cake being the bright and elegant modern café overlooking the period gardens, where you can discuss a full house make-over over afternoon tea or wine.