The Lanesborough, London
The Lanesborough is now proud and ready to reopen its decorative doors. Located in the heart of London, the hotel once again has regained its status as one of London’s finest hotels. Hamish Kilburn reports…
Sitting beautifully in all its antiquity between Knightsbridge and Belgravia, The Lanesborough London is not just an iconic part of the historic city, but stands too, as a significant landmark within the European hospitality landscape. Its latest renovation echoes its illustrious ethos of class, quality and the highest level of sophistication.
Until now the hotel, which boasts one of London’s most celebrated addresses, had been closed since the end of 2013. With the aim of re-affirming its position as London’s finest, The Lanesborough has undergone its first complete renovation since the Regency-era property was converted into a hotel more than 20 years ago.
Under Oetker Collection management, the overhaul of the grade-II listed building has embodied the signature style that has become synonymous with The Lanesborough over its long history. Frank Marrenbach, CEO Oetker Collection says, “With its strategic location in the heart of London, The Lanesborough, with managing director Geoffrey Gelardi at its helm, is a prestigious addition to our portfolio… [The hotel is] a major step for our development.”
Time and effort has been spent on the ornate refurbishment of the building. More than 300 people have been involved in the day-to-day transformation of the 93 rooms and meticulous attention to detail has been paid to keep The Lanesborough as a building of special architectural and historic interest.
Renowned interior designer, Alberto Pinto, and leading architects, ReardonSmith, worked together keeping the hotel’s Georgian heritage at the centre of the design, while modernising the hotel by seamlessly weaving in the latest communication technologies and entertainment systems.
Studio Alberto Pinto led the design philosophy and treated the hotel as a private residence, to reinforce the implementation of new designs to all public areas and guestrooms.
Completing the refurbishment of all public areas as well as back-of-house areas, ReardonSmith reviewed the hotel room by room and decided what should be retained, rebuilt, restored, refurbished or replaced in order to fulfil the brief.
The Front Hall
Keeping the property’s Regency origins at the heart of the restoration, the re-opened hotel adds modern and historical twists. This provides a matchless layer of styles, reflecting the graceful maturing of an operational historic building.
The lobby area has remained largely untouched. Minor changes have been made though, such as the introduction of a pantry and the relocation of the concierge desk.
A particular focus has been paid to the ceilings throughout the hotel. With restoration of original detailing such as ceiling roses, coffering, cornicing and fresco painting – look up and you will see hand-painted narratives of traditional country pursuits such as hunting and horse riding. An impressive 2,100 books of 23-½-carat gold leaf were used to dress the ceilings of the public areas and guestrooms, reimagining the property’s Regency heritage. Throughout the building on the walls, original 18th-century art can be found.
Upstairs, the guestrooms and suites have been revitalised to an impeccable standard. While the signature mahogany panelling in the rooms remain, it is now complimented with hand stencilling. Indeed, throughout the hotel an impressive 5,500 original stencils, hand crafted by Dolby & Taylor, have been used to create a variety of effects on the hotel’s walls.
Each room includes its own entrance foyer, a writing desk and seating area, a bathroom of hand-cut Italian marble, and a tablet for effortless control of room conditions to suit each guest’s preference.
There are now five-guestroom designs that reflect the Regency period, although the reality of the various configurations within each group means that no two rooms are exactly the same. Each design group consists of three jewel colour ways to create warmth, harmony and comfort. 14 different types of bed canopies hang within the rooms, with more than three million hand stiches and bespoke tailoring using the highest quality fabrics.
The majority of suppliers used for the renovation, such as Bennison Fabrics, George Smith Furniture and Brintons Carpets, are British based. Exceptions include the French-sourced fabrics companies, such as Braquenié, Le Manach, Pierre Frey, Toscan, Verrier and Linge au Coeur, which produced the embroideries of The Royal Suite and the Withdrawing Room.
Guests at The Lanesborough can now enjoy the ultimate dining experience at Céleste, which has been fully refitted to reflect the Regency-inspired-design brief, with new hand-modelled frieze panels to match the new plaster ceilings. Seven individually designed private dining rooms offer elegant event spaces, the largest accommodating 180 guests for a reception.
A hotel of this calibre deserved nothing less than the highest standard of quality treatment to both preserve its heritage, while leading innovation in hotel design. The Lanesborough has re-opened 93 guestrooms and suites and multiple bars, as well the Fitness Studio and The Spa Studio, where guests can relax in an exclusive sanatorium, while enjoying a supreme selection of therapies and treatments.
The Lanesborough showcases the best in traditional British craftsmanship. At last, after two years’ closure, The Lanesborough is once again one of London’s most distinguished hotels. The wait is over.