Situated on the elegant Albemarle Street in London’s upscale district of Mayfair, is the highly acclaimed Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel. After visiting a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoying my stay, I couldn’t wait to return and experience more of what this renowned establishment has to offer. Arriving outside its impressive white exterior you cannot help but look up in awe at this impressive building which is unsurprisingly steeped in history. Brown’s praises itself to be one of London’s first hotels and boasts famous guests such as Agatha Christie, Rudy Kipling as well as being the location of the very first telephone call by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.
The first to greet you are the exceptionally hospitable doormen, dressed head to toe in a quintessentially British attire. As they guide you down the elegant lobby it is here where you get an initial glimpse of the hotel’s breathtaking interiors. The lobby has a cosy and encompassing ambience and truly makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time, blending traditional elements with chic contemporary additions. As with all Rocco Forte hotels the interiors are designed by Olga Polizzi, thoughtfully conceived to embody the buildings unique history and surroundings.
It isn’t until you step into the intimate reception area where you truly see her Anglo-Italian style come to life. The space is tremendously endearing with a domed ceiling, intricately decorated with an archway of delicate blue and white painted flowers. An impressive fireplace adorned with accessories, comfortable seating, a central chandelier and mosaic tiled flooring all harks back to its illustrious historic past.
The hotel has a range of ninety-eight classic, executive and deluxe bedrooms and seventeen individually designed suites. I was fortunate to stay in one of their classic suites located on the top floor of the property. Walking into the suite I was extremely enamoured by just how beautiful the room was. In terms of room sizes in London, the suite is extremely spacious, light and airy. The classic suite offers an expansive sitting room, separate bedroom with a king-size bed and generous bathroom. The sitting room is impressive in its own right, not only because of its size but also its enticing decor, exuding a charming understated elegance with a calming pallet of cream, grey and green. A lounge area centred around a central fireplace is enhanced with a beautiful combination of both traditional and modern furniture. The large windows not only allow light to flood the room but also provide a charming view overlooking the refined townhouses and the row of luxury boutique stores below.
A dining table in the corner of the room was generously filled with delicious treats courtesy of the hotel, including fresh fruit, a bottle of Champagne and chocolate truffles. A personalised card was also enclosed welcoming me back to the hotel, signed by a number of the staff which I found utterly endearing. The sitting room also includes a large desk area adored with artwork, books and photography. An attractive cabinet filled with a minibar with supplies of water, coffee/tea as well as a Nespresso machine was also a welcomed addition.
Wandering through to the bedroom I was yet again surprised by the sheer size of it. The decor was cosy, relaxing and demure with different textures of soft furnishings and materials. Not only did it include a generous king-sized bed backed by an oversized headboard, but it also a comfortable chaise longue where you could lay back and enjoy one of the many books or magazines on offer. In addition to this, a large walkway with a wardrobe on each side provided ample space for clothing, suitcases and bags. As the suite was located to the back of the hotel, it was peacefully quiet and I was able to experience one of the most restful sleep.
The adjoining spacious bathroom includes twin sinks, a walk-in shower, bathtub and a selection of luxury toiletries created by Irene Forte. I especially loved the addition of a TV in the bathtub and enjoyed watching my favourite shows whilst soaking in some bubbles whilst enjoying a chilled glass of Champagne.
Brown’s Hotel offers several places to eat and drink, one of which is Charlies located on the ground floor. Named after the founding Forte, Lord Charlie, this restaurant offers an array of modern British food developed by Michelin-starred chef Adam Byatt. This spacious restaurant has again been designed by Olga Polizzi, and has a cosy yet sophisticated feel and even includes botanical wallpaper which nods to its connection with the author of The Jungle Book, Rudy Kipling, who was said to finish his book here.
The menu was extensive and I opted for a starter of salad of Cornish lobster, crab and heirloom tomatoes which was immensely refreshing. This was followed by a beautifully succulent sirloin of Dexter beef and a delectable salted custard tart to finish. The dishes were all reasonably priced for this area of London, especially for the substantial portion and quality of produce. My hat goes off to the sommelier who offered me the most delicious wine pairings for all the dishes.
The Donavan Bar is the hotel’s space to enjoy a range of delicious cocktails. The bar is inspired by British photographer Terence Donavan and it is here you can see his prints and photography adorning the walls. Former president of the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild, Salvatore Calabrese is the man behind the imaginative drinks using his highly acclaimed mixologist skills. I enjoyed a delicious Negroni, one of my all-time favourite cocktails and it didn’t disappoint.
Adjacent to the bar, The Drawing Room offers a secluded space where guests can enjoy numerous culinary delights along with their award-winning Afternoon Tea. Its comfortable seating and relaxed ambience is the perfect place to sip on a warming cup of tea and treat yourself to a delicious scone.
If you can prise yourself away from the hotel, its prominent position means that you are never too far from shops, restaurants and bars. The adjacent historical Royal Arcade provides a sophisticated and niche shopping area, including one of my favourite perfume houses, Ormonde Jayne. Nearby Old Bond Street offers a selection of exclusive designer stores, where shoppers can peruse and buy a range of luxurious goods. Several historic sites nearby include the iconic Buckingham Palace and St James Palace.
Brown’s hotel epitomises Rocco Fortes outstanding vision for providing exemplary accommodation that truly encompasses the spirit of its setting. Although the hotel has been modernised over time, its historic past remains noticeable, exuding warmth and soul that is often absent in other establishments. Although very much an opulent hotel, Brown’s feels more like a luxurious townhouse, exuding a level of comfort and an enveloping quality that’s truly exceptional. This attribute, along with its scrupulous customer service, lavishly appointed rooms and perfect location, entices guests to return again and again. Every detail has been cleverly thought of when it comes to the perfect guest experience, no matter what you need it is always at your fingertips. I very much look forward to my return to this home away from home.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 5/5
Customer Service – 5/5
Accommodation – 5/5
Cleanliness – 5/5
Food and Drink – 5/5