Story and Photos by Melanie Votaw
THE CADOGAN HOTEL
75 Sloane Street
London SW1X 9SG
If you want a truly British experience, stay at The Cadogan Hotel while in London. A historic property that is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2012, the hotel still has an old-fashioned elevator, as well as original stained glass and chandeliers. Yet, the rooms are filled with all of the modern amenities you want and expect in a luxury hotel.
I loved my spacious room with two bathrooms, which had a multitude of windows and was decorated with dark woods, deep red fabrics, and crisp white linens. There was a desk, an LCD-TV, free WIFI, iPod docking station, DVD player, iron and ironing board, and minibar.
Modern technology aside, The Cadogan enjoys a colorful history. It was once the home of actress Lillie Langtry who was reportedly the mistress of King Edward VII. She sold the house, and after it became a hotel, she stayed on in her old bedroom, which is now Room 109. Oscar Wilde stayed in Room 118 and was arrested while a guest at the hotel. He also apparently skipped out without paying his champagne bill (although he purportedly settled that debt later). In 2001, Earl Cadogan purchased the hotel, making it the first time in history that the Cadogan family has owned the property.
Incidentally, the pronunciation of “Cadogan” is a little surprising for the American. The emphasis is on the second syllable and pronounced “cah-DUG-un.” It was hard for me to avoid putting the emphasis on the first syllable.
The Cadogan’s location is fantastic because it’s close to both Knightsbridge and Sloane Square. Paddington Station is nearby, which is where the Heathrow Express arrives, so you can take the train from the airport and be in your hotel room quickly after an inexpensive cab ride. You could even walk from the station if your bags are easy to pull. Then, if you want to shop at high-end stores like Harrod’s, Fendi and Prada, you’re in the right neighborhood. Plus, you’re nearby the London Underground, which can take you anywhere you need to go. Central London locations, such as the West End theaters, are only minutes away.
While at the hotel, be sure to meet Ritchie Long, the concierge extraordinaire who won the Golden Keys Concierge of the Year award in 2012. He’ll make you laugh and give you the best advice for the theater or other activities in London. You can even ask him questions before your stay by connecting with him on Twitter at @Ask_Ritchie. The hotel itself has won accolades as well, including the Best UK Luxury Boutique Hotel in the 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
The Cadogan’s Chef, Thomasina Miers, who has been a winner of BBC MasterChef, and the Head Chef Oliver Lesnik are now working with food writers to create special menus that change every 6-8 weeks. Chefs and food writers may seem like strange bedfellows, but the alliance has resulted in exceedingly interesting dishes like Rabbit Ravioli and Loin or Chocolate and Chilli Cake. They call this effort “Great Taste at The Cadogan,” and the prices for these special menus are not expensive at £18 for one-course; £23 for two-courses; or £28 for three-courses.
They have also launched the Great Taste Awards, which recognizes British producers of top food products. The award stickers have been added to produce in leading stores like Harrods.
The Cadogan continues to serve afternoon tea, as it has done since 1887. The Drawing Room where the tea is served is lovely and traditional with the original oak wood paneling and stained glass windows. Sit on one of the comfortable couches or chairs and admire the original art on the walls.
The boutique hotel has 65 individually designed rooms and suites. As a guest, you have access to the private Cadogan Gardens across the street, as well as tennis courts.
For a hotel of this caliber in London, the room rates are reasonable, starting at £175. I highly recommend The Cadogan when you’re in London. You’ll have all the perks of staying at a larger, brand name luxury hotel, but you’ll be steeped in history with a staff that will remember your name and face. For this reason, guests return over and over.
© September 2012 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.