The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a London legend, recently lovingly refurbished. In an unmatched retail location in Knightsbridge, can it regain its 1960s glamour? Darius Sanai checks in to our Hotel of the Month
It’s peak pre-Christmas shopping season and the Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a short stroll from Harrods and Harvey Nichols and basically inside the Sloane Street branch of Hermès, preferred by locals to the Bond Street boutique for its more thoughtful buying. It’s also a dash from the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
What’s the lowdown?
Fashion week tribes all have their favourite hotels, and it’s safe to say that until the pandemic, the Jumeirah wasn’t on their radar. It was more old-fashioned luxury where international visitors sipped tea in the lounge while their kids came back from shopping at Hermès next door. All that changed with the biggest refurbishment in the hotel’s 60 year history, which happened during the lockdowns.
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Everything from the bar, to the public areas, to the restaurant, spa and rooms, has been recreated with a contemporary eye. That in turn refocusses attention on the standout points the hotel always had, but which became lost as its original star faded. It’s in Knightsbridge, right on Sloane Street, but overlooks a peaceful garden square and has views across the city from all sides, unlike any of its competitors. It has the biggest and best indoor pool in London, and, did we mention, it’s right next to Hermès?
The new Italian restaurant, Al Mare, takes the superstar corner position on the angle of Sloane Street. It’s a big, light, airy, New York midtown type of space, and it’s been transformed into a casual chic venue with just the right mix of both, like a grown up Soho House. We recommend one of the booths by the window, and picking from the imaginative and light options from the menu, like tuna tartar with oscietra caviar and ponzu – though there is plenty of comfort food also (we enjoyed a rigatoni al tartufo after a long night out).
You don’t need to go out though, as the hotel’s bar has been pole-vaulted into the top tier of London bars courtesy of an all-star bartending team and some very original cocktails, and relaxed, cool decor.
Our suite had a view along the length of the garden square, where we could see locals walking their dogs and children, from a great height: and across the rooftops to the whole of London, from the Battersea Power Station to the City. Even more striking were the bespoke touches: a Berluti shoe polish kit, slippers and products all monogrammed for us, as were the pillowcases. Delightful and very relaxing.
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Even more relaxing were the new poolside cabanas, replete with an excellent selection of magazines (including LUX). Given the conservatory feel of this huge indoor pool, on a sunny day in February you could settle down and pretend you were, well, somewhere sunny.
Staying at the Carlton Tower doesn’t have the bragging rights of nearby hotels like the Berkeley or the Lanesborough, but we feel that is going to change quite fast.
Rates: From £750 per night (approx. €900/$1,000)
Book your stay: jumeirah.com/london/the-carlton-tower