As I step into Hotel 41, I am greeted by a smiling doorman, a young woman standing behind a very grand and luxurious black desk and a dapperly dressed general manager. All are wearing masks and I am politely asked to also wear one while in the hotel’s corridors, for the safety of both staff and other guests while in residence. I walk down a long monochromatic hallway, a first look at things to come, and I am directed to a lift, where I am taken directly to the fifth floor of a building that calls itself a neighbour of Her Majesty The Queen. Yes, Hotel 41 overlooks Buckingham Palace. Please note, I have not yet checked in. I’ve merely been brought into the next level universe of Hotel 41.
Check in begins after a short walk from the lift to the executive lounge. The walls aren’t painted, nor are they wallpapered. They are lined in textiles that in, my opinion, would make the most flattering floor length shirt dress. Hotel 41 is a place where every interior element is considered. The textures, the paintings and the ornate light fixtures make for a feast for the eyes in every room. However, the heartbeat of the hotel exists in the epicentre of the fifth floor, in the executive lounge. Sitting in the middle of the hotel’s 30 luxury suites is a room that is cleverly divided into several different sitting areas that somehow offer both an intimate and familial experience for guests, depending on what mood you’re in at the time.
I enter the lounge to check in and am invited to take a seat in any area I choose as paperwork is prepared. I find myself wide eyed with wonder at my surroundings but am instantly shaken back to some sort of reality, if you can call it that here, as a champagne trolley appears in front of my table with one question: rose or brut? I am swooning at this point, no word of a lie. Papers are signed, bubbles are sipped and I’m invited to stay and relax for as long as I would like and make my way to the room in my own time. At this point, I’m all too invested in the newness of it all. So, I rather indelicately neck my champagne flute, grab my carryall and head to the room, with mask on and a definite pep in my step.
The door opens to my suite and I can see that the monochromatic decoration is a theme throughout the hotel. A long skinny hallway, decorated with black and white framed prints leads me past the bathroom, a marble heaven, and into the main room. The size is surprisingly petite, yet the way in which the room is laid out makes it feel palatial in size. The two windows offer an expansive afternoon summer light makes me feel as if I could be on the coast. Drawing the curtains, I am reminded of my location in the neighbourhood of Victoria, and I instantly feel a pang in my heart for this city I have called home for so long. The light here, when it is switched on in the summer, is like none other. The city comes alive, and on this afternoon, in this hotel, I am bathed in the glow of London’s sunshine and it is magical.
It’s of course maddening, then, that I am drawn immediately to the working fireplace in the room. Dear reader, later that night I become the annoying hotel guest that turns her air conditioning down and asks the hotel staff to come and light a fire. I couldn’t help myself. A fire in a London hotel room is a rare treat indeed. It may have been sweltering outside, but I wanted just one hour with my feet in front of the fire, with a good book in hand. I got my dream hour and it was everything I had hoped for and more.
Now, before you go thinking that I spent my entire stay in the hotel room, rest assured I did quite the opposite. In fact, I wished I had another day to do exactly that as I felt I merely scratched the surface of the luxuries available in the room.
Approximately an hour after I checked in, I returned to the executive lounge for afternoon tea. More champagne was offered, but I had work to do, so stuck with tea and water only. As the cakes, the scones and the sandwiches were served, I was told there was “more where that came from,” and I need only ask for refills. I had to smile. The size of the serving was monstrous. I do love when people give Americans a hard time for their serving sizes and then sit down to an afternoon tea for one that could easily feed a family of six. As expected, every single bite was followed by a sound of pure delight. I try to keep these noises of pure pleasure to a minimum, so as not to embarrass myself, but I was having a hard time as I sat and enjoyed not only my food, but my surroundings.
Now, food at Hotel 41 is, I am almost certain, a reason why so many check in and come back time and again. I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say that staying here might be worse for your diet than a cruise. I’m nicknaming this establishment “Hotel 4.1,” to symbolise the 4.1 lbs you’ll put on staying overnight. I kid, of course, only slightly. The breakfast at Hotel 41 is legendary. The menu itself is on par with other hotels in London, but the presentation, the swiftness in serving with a smile and the local ingredients, which are prepared to perfection, make this a breakfast to remember. Then there is the 24/7 ice cream fridge. Eight flavours of Jude’s Ice Cream sits front and centre ready to be plundered. And speaking of plundering, there is an actual event in the evening, in the lounge, called “plunder the pantry.” This was traditionally a buffet of food for guests to nibble on while enjoying drinks in the lounge. These days, it’s an official menu to order from, for health and safety reasons. Hey, this is the world we currently live in. There’s everything from sausages to croque monsieurs, for those needing a late night snack.
While in residence, I took advantage of it all, and more. We were lucky with a summer evening that delivered the sunshine in spades, so decided to finish our evening on the roof terrace, which overlooks the Queen’s stables. As we sipped rose wine and tucked into a freshly prepared croque monsieur, we watched as a new horse was taught the ropes of walking in a parade. It was all pretty magical, made even more so by a sunset of purples and pinks in the sky all around us. When London delivers a night like this, it’s hard to imagine calling anywhere else in the world home. But, she then delivered a harsh reality walking out the door the next day… rain, by the bucket load. It’s as if the magic of Hotel 41 had worn off as soon as I walked out the front door. There’s only one thing to do… return!
For more information the hotel or to enquire about reservations, visit Hotel 41, and tell them Fashion Foie Gras sent you!
Fashion Foie Gras stayed as a guest of Hotel 41.