Hotel review: The Cavendish London - Unforgettable Reception

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Scotland On Sunday Travel: Do Not Disturb

‘Welcome back Mr Rudden,” smiled the receptionist as I checked into The Cavendish London, one of the city’s more famous hotels.

It was a greeting that left me bemused – I couldn’t recall having stayed there in the past. I mentioned this. “Well in that case, welcome to The Cavendish,” she said, an even bigger smile on her face.

That evening, returning from a day watching the first MLB London Series, I found the Jermyn Street entrance to the hotel closed – a notice advised guests to enter by the Duke Street entrance. Turning the corner, deja vu hit. Whether it was the sculpted piece of modern art that dominates the side-entrance or the layout of the drop-off point, my spidey-sense tingled. I had stayed here before, only this was the entrance we had used.

It was a press trip, years earlier, to see The Lion King. It had slipped my mind, yet the receptionist had remembered. It was a nice touch, a lovely little attention to detail that made me instantly feel at home, and happily on this occasion, I had two nights to properly experience the hotel, which continues a proud history.

The Cavendish London was built in 1966 on the site of the previous hotel to bear the name, owned by self-made hotelier and socialite Rosa Lewis, better known as The Duchess of Duke Street, from 1902 to her death in 1952. Having been badly damaged during The Blitz, that incarnation of The Cavendish was finally razed to the ground in 1962. Contemporary, with just a hint of retro chic, The Cavendish London is a superbly relaxed base that, despite being just off Piccadilly, is far enough from the main thoroughfare to provide an escape from the hustle and bustle.

Budget or boutique?

The four-star deluxe hotel offers 223 contemporary bedrooms and seven suites, some with panoramic views of the London skyline. With a range of rooms, it caters for most pockets.

Room service

During my stay, London was experiencing an unusually severe heat-wave, so retiring to my perfectly air-conditioned room was a delight. With all the amenities you would expect, including free wifi, air conditioning, tea and coffee-making facilities, HD TV, en-suite shower, there are also good views across London from the upper floors, especially those from the suites and penthouse.

Wining and dining

A calm, understated design ensures The Petrichor Restaurant on the first floor is the perfect place to meet friends for a leisurely meal. Led by head chef Nitin Pawar, it offers a scintillating modern European-style menu, featuring traditional British favourites accompanied by an excellent wine list. Signature dishes include slow-cooked salmon with avocado and horseradish meringue, quail breast with confit leg and chocolate avalanche.

Meeting two friends for dinner, the discreet, unrushed service created the perfect atmosphere for an evening of fine food, a glass or two of champagne and wonderfully chatty company.

Similarly, during the day, pop into the Petrichor Bar & Lounge, an informal meeting place whether it be for tea, coffee or a tipple.

Worth getting out of bed for

Ideally placed for sightseeing, The Cavendish London provides the perfect base for catching the latest West End shows or soaking up the history of Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. The hotel also sits opposite the world famous Fortnum & Mason, well worth a visit.

And traditional London taverns don’t come more atmospheric than Chequers Tavern, just next door on Duke Street. Order a pint of the local ale, sit back, soak up the atmosphere and let your mind wander back in time.

Little extras

A tin of loose-leaf Cavendish Tea proved an unexpected but fitting welcome gift on arrival.

Guest book comments

Spacious and bright and subtly furnished, The Cavendish London certainly lives up to its reputation as a deluxe four-star hotel with five-star service.

Classic Room rates start from £215, Superior Room from £245, Executive Room from £305, Junior Suite from £413, Penthouse Suite from £1,007. The Cavendish London, 81 Jermyn Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6JF, enquiry.cavendish@the-ascott.com