In the heart of well-heeled Mayfair, stands The Biltmore, the latest from the Hilton’s LXR Hotels & Resorts portfolio and its first in the UK. The facade is classic for the affluent London neighborhood—all red brick and soaring cream columns. Inside is just as elegant: Think seductive tones of purple, swathes of velvet and grandiose chandeliers.
While you can easily be an anonymous guest in many of London’s big-name hotels, it can sometimes feel like the personal touch is missing. The Biltmore manages to bridge the gap with attentive staff who remember how you like your coffee, monogrammed pillowcases and a warm, inviting atmosphere.
There are over 250 guest rooms to choose from at The Biltmore, yet it remains peaceful and quiet. The suites are spacious (surprising, considering the hotel’s location) and are more akin to a trendy city apartment than a hotel room, with a few considered touches: coffee-table books about London; tea from Whittard of Chelsea and toiletries from Penhaligon’s, the famed perfumer. Some suites have a view over leafy Grosvenor Square; a rarity in the city—it can feel like you’re staying in the countryside. The Roosevelt Suite is the largest at 1,720 sq ft, with two en-suite bedrooms, a dining table, living room and kitchenette. Pets are welcome here, too.
A big draw is the hotel’s signature restaurant, The Betterment by Jason Atherton. The English chef, whose restaurant Pollen Street Social gained a Michelin star in its opening year, first came to London at the tender age of 16, when he ran away from home. After opening restaurants all over the world, Atherton returns to London with this laid-back eatery. The menu, led by executive chef Paul Walsh, favors British cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients—the menu details where every ingredient is from: carrots from Surrey, crab from Salcombe, cabbages from Kent. Celebrating a special occasion? Book The Aquarium, a private dining space for up to eight guests, with ocean-inspired artwork, live lobster tanks and silver decor inspired by creatures of the deep.
You may or may not have seen the cocktail that went semi-viral when the hotel opened—the libation, called the Orange American, was served in a Toby jug that resembled then-President Trump, topped with fluffy cotton candy. Cheeky gimmicks aside, the cocktail menu is one of the best in the city, and the Terrace, a chic spot with vertical gardens crawling the walls, is made for after-work cocktails. The vibe is chilled and fun, and the drinks are a delight. A personal favorite is the Violet Sky—fragrant yet sharp, creamy yet light, sweet yet sour. It’s delicious.
After a night sampling the cocktails, visit the hotel’s gym. It’s said to be one of the largest in Mayfair and is well laid-out; two connected, open spaces mean that even if you are sharing the space with another gym goer, you might not see them. There’s plenty of floor equipment, Life Fitness machines with on-demand classes and a separate space for classes.
Some of the best shopping in the city is practically on your doorstep and the area is extremely walkable. Lace up your sneakers and head on a two-and-a-half-hour walking tour with a Blue Badge guide. You’ll walk through Mayfair, Belgravia and the Royal Palaces while learning about the area’s history and the lives of the aristocracy from the 1800s high society. Prefer to drive? The Biltmore has partnered with Royal Rental so you can get behind the wheel (or be driven) in a Bentley Bentayga or GTC. You can follow a specially curated itinerary and head out of London to visit tucked-away villages, charming towns and quintessentially English pubs, or go off-piste and create your own adventure.
This article appears in the 26 Aug 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Fall 2021