Search for cheapest prices: Berkeley Hotel
Knightsbridge is the London playground of the super wealthy, with jaw-droppingly expensive property prices, a high concentration of designer shops and chauffeured Bentleys and Rolls Royces parked along the streets. Living there may be a pipe dream for 99 per cent of Londoners, but those visiting the city can have a taste of the affluent lifestyle by booking into one of the very luxurious five-star hotels located there. If you do plan to stay in Knightsbridge, you may as well do it right and book into The Berkeley, which is famed for its exquisite service, rooms and style. Celebrities flock here and Glamour Magazine once called it 'the most friendly, relaxed, yet totally luxurious five-star hotel', a glowing and thoroughly deserved recommendation.
The Berkeley has been operating for over 100 years, but the traditional features have been subtly combined with modern touches to bring the hotel bang up to date. Rooms are available in King and Queen sizes, and range from Superior to Deluxe, to Balcony, alongside a range of divine suites, for an extra special stay. Rooms are sophisticated and very well appointed, decorated in ice greys, lemons, creams and lapis lazuli blues, featuring empire style furnishings with a contemporary twist and plenty of thoughtful extras, such as fine art prints, marble bathrooms, opulent fabrics and Asprey toiletries. In-room amenities include a satellite TV with pay per view movies and internet access, radio, CD and DVD player with a DVD library, bathrobes and slippers, a make-up mirror, a hair dryer, minibar, alarm clock, 24 hours of complimentary Wi-Fi internet, direct-dial telephone, dual voltage sockets, an in-room safe and a voicemail system. Everything you will require during your stay and more.
The hotel also offers a lavish smorgasbord of extra services, including babysitting, luggage storage, picnics made to order, treats for visiting children, multilingual staff, a very well-connected 24-hour concierge, currency exchange, porter service and 24-hour room service, all you would expect from such a reputable hotel and more.
The Berkeley's restaurants and bars are famous in their own right, with Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, which has two Michelin stars and serves very delectable modern European cuisine. Koffman's is the brainchild of legendary chef Pierre Koffman, where you can dine on decadent fare such as soufflé skate with lobster sauce or try curious traditional British dishes such as pig's trotter stuffed with sweetbreads and morels. The Blue Bar is a favourite drinking haunt of Madonna when she's in the UK. A languid, hip ambience combined with a lengthy cocktail menu make this a very desirable spot to while away the evening. Last but not least, The Caramel Bar is where you can sample the hotel's famous Prêt a Portea, an afternoon tea where you receive a selection of biscuits and cakes reflecting the season’s catwalk look.
The Berkeley also features a Spa, where you can enjoy beauty treatments galore and massages to wind down after a day sight seeing. If you want to exercise, the hotel includes a fabulous health club with a state of the art gym and, the piece de resistance, a rooftop pool, for panoramic views of the city après swim.
When nestled in such a comfortable and stylish cocoon, you may forget that the outside world exists, but The Berkeley is ideally placed for seeing the sights, shops and attractions of London. When in Knightsbridge, one has to visit the fabulous Harrods department store, where you can pick up anything from cheeses, to shoes, or even a puppy at the pet store. Harvey Nichols is just down the road offering a low-key shop for those who find Harrods a little too ostentatious. Hyde Park is two minutes walk from the hotel, where you can enjoy picnics, open-air concerts and tennis in the summer months, or you can peruse The Serpentine Gallery and head to the west side of the park for a tour of Kensington Palace, if there's a bit of a chill in the air. Past Knightsbridge you will come across the Victoria & Albert, Science and Natural History museums and the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington and to the east of The Berkeley you are just a five-minute walk from one of London's most renowned address, Buckingham Palace, where the Queen resides when she is in town. When she isn't at the Palace, visitors can tour the staterooms, but if touring isn't an option, you can watch the Changing of the guard’s ceremony.
Oxford Street shops, Marble Arch, Fortnum and Mason food hall, the River Thames, Savile Row tailors and more still are all within walking distance of The Berkeley, making this a truly splendid location to stay in. The hotel is very well located for transport, especially for international visitors who need to transfer to airports outside of London. The hotel is just two minutes walk from Hyde Park Corner tube station, which services the Piccadilly line, from which you can travel to Heathrow Airport direct in 20 minutes. The hotel is also just 15 minutes walk from Victoria Station, where you can catch the Gatwick Express Train to the airport in about 25 minutes. Both stations also enable you to explore other parts of the city.
The Berkeley is an excellent choice if you can afford the high price of the rooms. It offers a taste of old-school glamour; with enough hip cachet to woo a younger crowd and staff are exceedingly professional and friendly. It is disappointing that after paying a high sum for a room, you then have to pay extra for internet, when some 1 and 2 star hotels offer it for free, and the breakfast is a little steep when there are so many cafes nearby to grab a snack or a fry up. However, there are so many perks to staying at The Berkeley that these gripes can be overlooked. For a truly special experience, ask for a room overlooking Hyde Park, and definitely sample the Prêt A Portea, which comes highly recommended.