There are many advantages to be had for a hotel based in Knightsbridge and the Jumeirah Carlton Tower makes the most of all of them. Harvey Nichols and Harrods practically on the doorstep, the designer shops on Sloane Street a mere stone’s throw away and those lovely leafy lanes away from the main drag to wander down. But the 18 floors of the Jumeirah Carlton Tower offer something else too; one of the most spectacular views you can get across London.
Front desk Manager Wiebke is letting me down gently.
“Mr Mossack, your room is on the 17th floor. It is as high as you can go”
“But you have 18 floors”
“Yes but our 18th floor is permanently reserved.”
I nod sagely, but In my head i’m thinking all kinds of scenarios; Royalty? Celebrity? Sports star?
Wiebke remains professionally non committal of course, but she’s impressed me. Still, floor 17 is only one off the top, so I count myself lucky. Then I count myself really lucky when I see the view from my room. It really is nothing short of spectacular, the almost iconic outline of the Battersea Power Station framing the horizon on one side, the green expanse of Hyde Park on the other and just below the leafy retreat of Cadogan Garden and Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s little sister Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel.
Up here though, in the rarefied air of the 17th floor, all is good. As it should be, after all, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower is something of a London legend, over 50 years in the making and now in the hands of the Dubai based Jumeirah group who know a thing or two about luxury hospitality. The subtle pale grey/pink interior with dark wood furnishing is classic Jumeirah luxury as is the king bed and my expensively marbled bathroom complete with walk in waterfall shower.
I take a stroll downstairs to the lobby where Wiebke is deep in conversation with another guest. Perhaps this is the mysterious 18th floor resident I think to myself. She glances at me and with true professional aplomb, manages to both acknowledge me and retain eye contact with her guest at the same time.
Clearly, a Jumeirah pre-requisite.
Chinoiserie, the famous lobby restaurant is doing good business. Here, during the day, breakfast, light meals and afternoon teas are served while business deals are discussed, lovers hold hands or shoppers compare notes. Come night though and it is almost standing room only, as the Knightsbridge set descend to meet and drink pre and post dinner.
Along the corridor and the celebrated Rib Room awaits. In the 1960s this was the place in town for roast beef. Now totally refurbished but in an odd shade of orange and brown, I’m torn between timeless retro classic and interior design malfunction. Clearly, the crowd inside are not worried in the least, it seems the legend lives on. I take the opportunity to stay awhile at the bar and order an Old Fashioned (I’ve decided on timeless retro classic, so it seems appropriate) and before I know it, it materialises in front of me alongside a bowl of warm nuts. Perhaps it’s all the nostalgia, but dinner is a triumph; a real treat for lovers of classic service and a menu that doesn’t disappoint on any level. The cheese souffle starter and blackberry souffle dessert are particularly memorable, and true to form the beef filet is appropriately perfect.
Morning breaks and I’m greeting with yet another stunning visage across London. I don’t want to leave but breakfast is calling back in the Rib Room.
My waitress Constance is a joy, fussing over me and treating me like a long lost son. There is a vast buffet, but she’s having none of it. ” I’ll get it for you” she tells me “just tell me what you like.” Who can argue with that?
I tear myself away from breakfast to explore the first floor swimming pool but here’s a surprise. A golf centre too no less, complete with driving range and tuition. This is the home of the Swing Factory, a technique developed in 1920 by legendary golf teacher Leslie King in his book and taken to new levels using video to highlight and correct swing errors. I get a swing analysis from Jamie who manages somehow to pick out some positive comments from the train wreck swing he has witnessed and nevertheless provides insightful pointers to making me an overnight golf sensation.
After all this activity a coffee break is called for and I take it up at the 9th floor Club Room at The Peak Health Club & Spa. healthy snacks, coffee and a stunning view.
I come away feeling the Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a towering example of what London can offer when it comes to luxury hotels (even without getting the 18th floor!).
More about Jumeirah Carlton Tower Knightsbridge
Superior room with breakfast at Jumeirah Carlton Tower is from £348 inclusive of VAT.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, On Cadogan Place
London SW1X 9PY
Tel: +44 (0)20 7235 1234