Royal Lancaster, London - Panoramic views from a 1960s architectural icon that hosted The Beatles - Scotland on Sunday Travel
Overlooking Hyde Park, with the fountains of the latter’s Italian Gardens in the foreground, this 18-storey hotel enjoys a panoramic vista across London - saying in fact that almost all rooms have 180-degree views.
However, what is less obvious at first sight is that the luxury hotel, which has 411 rooms and suites, also boasts a fascinating history - including The Beatles holding their Yellow Submarine film première after-party there in 1968.
While the entrance, reception and much of the lower level of the property is opulently modern, the rest of the skyscraper’s exterior clearly dates back to the 1960s, and it was designed by architect Richard Seifert, who was very prolific around that time.
Originally intended to house the offices of British entertainment conglomerate the Rank Organisation, when a financial incentive was introduced by the UK Government to create more hotel rooms, its future was sealed.
Budget or boutique
Expect five-star opulence in a mid-century architectural icon.
For current safety and sanitisation measures see https://www.royallancaster.com/about/we-always-care-about-your-health-safety/
The hotel is located right behind Lancaster Gate Tube station, with a gold and glass dominated entrance, and a large reception area.
I am extremely fortunate to be staying in the Park Suite on the 15th floor, a jaw-dropping space with views in not one, not two but three directions.
There is a large living area with two luxury, light blue sofas and a marble coffee table facing a 55-inch TV, which sits next to pale wood shelves including artwork of London and books including guides to the city and fashion tomes.
There is also a proper desk and a dining table, and in the bathroom there is a large tub (facing a window so you can admire the view), separate shower, two sinks, and White Company toiletries - as well as amenities including your own loofah.
The bedroom has a large king size bed, and it’s from that room that I start to really take in the suite’s views.
I struggle to think of any London landmarks I can’t see - those on the cast list include The Shard, the London Eye, the BT Tower, the skyscrapers of the City and Canary Wharf, the white towers of Battersea Power Station and the Royal Albert Hall - as well as the bright, multicoloured lights of the rides of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
Further to the right is the relative tranquility of the Serpentine lake, while nearer ground level I can see the hotel’s bee hives.
Wining and dining
The hotel has several dining areas - the first of which I noticed was the elegant-looking Hyde Cafe, offering top-notch patisserie. There is also, on the first floor, the likes of Nipa Thai, which holds the Thai Select Award from the Thai Government for authenticity no less. However, I enjoy the luxury of in-room dining, and from the extensive menu choose a main course of mozzarella and heritage tomato salad. Breakfast is served in the Park Restaurant and I sit admiring the Italian Gardens - believed to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria - as I work my way through everything from patisserie and fruit to houmous from the buffet.
Worth getting out of bed for
Having eaten a hearty breakfast, I decide to stretch my legs, initially with a foray into Hyde Park, then to Marble Arch before making a beeline for department store heaven Selfridges.
Refuelled by a coffee there, I walk to Burlington Arcade on Piccadilly and do a bit of window shopping at Fortnum & Mason. You could also cross Hyde Park in a different direction to Harrods in Knightsbridge, for example - perhaps stopping off at Kensington Palace - while the hotel is within walking distance of Paddington station where you can catch the Heathrow Express.
Budget or boutique
The hotel lives up to the word “royal” in its name, with a suitably regal offering. Its Nine Kings Suite hospitality space, for example, refers to the line of nine English kings that followed immediately after John of Gaunt, first Duke of Lancaster.
The Royal Lancaster stresses that it is now fully dog friendly, and all rooms are soundproof. The hotel is also family friendly, including children’s amenities.
As former visitors The Beatles once sang, “I get high” , this hotel’s height provides several floors from which to enjoy breathtaking views across the city and a luxurious sanctuary from which to admire them.
The Royal Lancaster London offers a number of packages, including a delightful dinner, bed & breakfast package from £359 based on two sharing, including: Overnight stay in one of the beautifully designed bedrooms with a delicious breakfast the next morning.A delicious two-course dinner in Nipa Thai (includes either a starter & main course OR main course & dessert). Excludes beverages.Greater flexibility with free cancellation until 4pm on the day before your arrival
Royal Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY (+44 207 551 6000, https://www.royallancaster.com)