Although I was born in South London, and spent the first three years of my life in Dulwich, Belgravia is the part of London I first really knew. That’s because my mother had a flatshare there in the mid 60s, and my parents lived there on Elizabeth Street after they got married in 1967. After we moved to Kent, my parents still banked at the National Westminster on Ebury Street, and my mother’s dry cleaners was around the corner.
Of course now Belgravia is way beyond the fiscal means of most flatsharers, and the quarter has been colonised by the very, VERY wealthy. But, oddly, the one thing it has always lacked is a slew of good restaurants, beyond posh pub dining rooms, and an excellent hotel.
Enter Belgraves. Constructed on the site of the old Sheraton Belgravia Hotel, a hotel long past its sell-by date, it’s the first European outpost of America’s Thompson Hotels.
It’s an unexpected area to find a Thompson Hotel: If you know 60 Thompson or Thompson LES in New York, then this hotel is slightly different: it’s doesn’t have the same kind of Downtown crowd or hip bar scene, but what it does very, very well is bring a modern, arty sensibility to a mid-size hotel that never feels cookie cutter or corporate.
I particularly like the first floor open plan bar, with its comfortable sofas, interesting art and kilims on the floor. (If you smoke there is a great smoking terrace.) If I ever need to go for a drink in the area, then the bar here would be my first choice.
I had looked over the bar a few months ago with the PR for the hotel, and was angling for an opportunity to get between the sheets upstairs. So, when my mother came to town, the offer of a review stay was gladly accepted. After all: she had to be the perfect person to compare and contrast Belgravia old and new.
The bedrooms are slightly masculine in feel, with a brown and taupe colour scheme, with a purple sofa, and the interior design has made what is, frankly, a not huge room look way much bigger than it actually is. There’s a mirror over the bed, a thrust out window embrasure, and a clever headboard that al serve to give a feeling of space. It feels fully realised and very expensive: I wish more hotels would adopt this kind of clever luxe furnishing, rather than giving us undecorated walls and sparse furniture. I slept very well, in an incredibly comfortable bed, with its deliciously cool and silky high thread count sheets.
One of the things that I really like about the rooms overlooking Chesham Place is that they are all about the vistas. There’s this wonderful view out over the private garden that greets you as you walk in to the bedroom, so you feel as though you are perched up in the air. (There’s a comfortable velvet upholstered window seat in the thrust out window so you can sit and gaze.)
And this is what you see from the bath out into the bedroom itself.
I also very much like the touch of the traditional Penhaligon’s toiletries
There is a branch of Mark Hix’s Hix restaurant in the ground floor. I ate there with my mother, and thought the room cramped, and the food a bit meh, (I had an accurate if uninspired risotto), and pretty expensive. However the service was seamless, utterly charming and we had a lovely evening there, although I see absolutely no reason to ever return. It’s a shame, as the area is crying out for a good restaurant.
The exact opposite is true of the hotel itself tho. It’s a long overdue and very welcome addition to the area, and the perfect hotel base for anyone with style planning on an SW shopping mission: hitting Knightsbridge for Harrods and Harvey Nichols, Sloane Street, and the Kings Road.
20 Chesham Place London SW1X 8HQ
LLG was a guest of Belgraves for one night. She paid for breakfast, internet access and dinner herself, costing approximately £150