By J. C. Thomas
When you’re spending a night in one of Europe’s grand old cities – and London is arguably the grandest of them all – select a hotel that matches the splendor of the whole experience. The Royal Lancaster London, a 411-room icon of midcentury architecture a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, is one of the finest hotels in the city, boasting beautiful accommodations, impeccable service and unrivaled views of the London skyline. Panoramic views across the broad greenery of Hyde Park to a distant span of world-famous landmarks from the Shard and the London Eye to the Royal Albert Hall and Big Ben inspire you to spend just a little more time inside your room, imagining the centuries of stories in those streets, pathways and structures while enticing you to get out there and make unforgettable memories of your own.
A fine first impression
When my own family of four stayed at the Royal Lancaster London on a late December night, we had just one day to spend in the city before catching an early morning flight back home to California. With several locally-based family members in tow for a day trip, we touched down first in the hotel lobby to drop off our luggage. After dragging our bags and children for just a minute from the nearby Lancaster Gate tube station, the hotel’s eternally helpful staff took everything off our hands and almost immediately made our day by saying our suite was ready and waiting, although it was not yet noon. The lovely receptionist, after handing our toddler a complimentary activity pack, personally guided us out of the gleaming marble lobby, accented in gold and glass and a towering Christmas tree, and up to the 14th floor. The city could wait while we settled in, and wait it did, for more than an hour. We discovered that breathtaking view through wall-to-wall windows enhanced by mirrored columns. And the velvety living room sofas. And the Nespresso coffee and tea station in the dining area, along with all the other delightful features of a 549-foot Park Suite. A separate king bedroom was a private haven, while the bathroom in floor-to-ceiling marble, complete with walk-in shower and deep tub, was surely among the most spacious in London.
Strolling through Hyde Park and beyond
This being winter in England, we were running out of daylight and compelled ourselves out of the suite, out of that gorgeous lobby, and within minutes were entering Hyde Park, the largest of London’s four Royal Parks with a provenance credited to Henry VIII. Within the grounds are swans on the Serpentine and Long Water lakes, political proselytizers embracing free speech at Speaker’s Corner, the monumental Wellington Arch, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, and… a flock of parakeets? Yes, parakeets. Our destination was just on the other side of Hyde Park, and a straight walk through – the Science Museum. It’s an expansive, four-story institution with remarkable collections of historic and contemporary items related to scientific discovery, along with interactive exhibits ideal for kids of all ages. Admission is free. Other top attractions within a short walk of the Royal Lancaster London include the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, the high-end boutiques of Knightsbridge and Kensington Palace. Plus, with the Lancaster Gate tube station so close, the whole city is within very easy reach.
A memorable night in
With two small children, an early start and long travel day ahead, a night on the town was not on the cards. An evening enjoying the warmth and luxury of our suite, however, seemed the perfect finale for our travels. The view had changed to a panorama of faraway lights, our little boys’ attentions to the 55-inch smart TV in the living room (complete with international channels) and ours to the room service menu. The Royal Lancaster London has two restaurants on site – Island Grill and Nipa Thai – as well as a lobby bar and afternoon tea service, but having firmly nested for the night we had no intention of leaving our suite. A tray loaded with olive-studded bread, fat, crispy chips, a cheese plate and some other selections arrived in style under a stainless steel dome, a vision to fit any hungry room service-lover’s fantasy. We were also able to opt for our full English breakfasts to be brought to our room at our chosen hour, bright and early and the final London treat after a heavenly night’s sleep.
For more information about the Royal Lancaster London, visit www.royallancaster.com.
Disclaimer: California News Press and its contributors may have received goods, services and/or other professional courtesies to facilitate this review. All opinions are those of the author.
Note: This article was originally published in the April 12, 2018 print editions of the Valley Vantage, Calabasas Enterprise and Warner Center News.