45 Park Lane
Located next to the Dorchester Collection’s flashy, eponymous flagship in Mayfair, the 45-room boutique Park Lane occupies a restored historic building, which used to house London’s Playboy Club but is now a far cry from 1960's bunnies. French designer Thierry Despont (interior designer for Bill Gates and the Carlyle among others) created lavish but cool interiors, with original contemporary art, including works by Damian Hirst, chocolate-brown suede walls and pretty limed mahogany.
The views of Hyde Park—all of the rooms look onto the green expanse—are a lovely destination-specific detail. The only “event” space in the hotel is a media room with super-comfy chaises and an intimate vibe (it seats a mere 10 people). With no reception and intimate interiors, 45 Park Lane feels more like a cozy club than a hotel. The only real glitz factor is an outpost of Wolfgang Puck’s Cut restaurant franchise, which has received some mixed reviews for its high prices and noisy rock n’ roll soundtrack (selected by Puck himself). At breakfast, try to sit by the windows, as you’ll get a chance to see the the royal horses out for their morning exercise. More winning is the cool Bar 45, on the first floor, which stays open until 1:30 am and serves innovative cocktails and popular bar snacks, like mini Kobe sliders and steak or tuna tartar.
Apartments to Rent
For those who prefer an apartment or apartment-like set-up for their stay, Indagare can offer a range from serviced apartments in the heart of Chelsea to Georgian townhouses in Belgravia. Contact our Bookings Team for options.
This pretty 17th-century manor combines country house charm with a sleek contemporary design. Behind the mellow stone façade is the kind of ultracool setting that will reassure the most die-hard urbanites: the split-level stable-yard rooms feel more Manhattan loft than cozy Cotswold cottage, all clean lines and funky lighting. Beds are enormous with crisp white goose-down duvets, while upstairs, splendidly smart bathrooms impress with gigantic showers and freestanding baths. The Home Farm Cottage, which can accommodate six people and occupies a former farmhand's house, is particularly lovely. And then there’s the spa. Tucked behind an ancient temple, it boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that frame glorious views of rolling green countryside. Go holistic with Reiki, Shiatsu and a Thai massage, then hop into the steaming outdoor hydrotherapy pool, deliciously warm even in chilly weather. Go in the spring, when the blooming gardens won’t disappoint.
Named after Bartholomew “Batty” Langley, a famed 18th-century architect, landscape gardener and writer, this whimsical townhouse feels like it could be the private home of its eccentric namesake. Unique details abound in all of the property’s 29 rooms. In the penthouse suite, for instance, a trick bookcase leads guests into the downstairs bathroom via a secret passageway. Upstairs, a standalone marble bath sits between the four-poster bed and French windows that lead out onto a glorious roof terrace. Every piece of artwork and antique has been lovingly sourced by the owners Douglas Blain and Peter McKay, and Apple TVs are discretely concealed behind mirrored cabinets.
The cozy public rooms (the Tapestry room, complete with a well-stocked honesty bar, is a highlight) add to the decadent flavor; it’s all too easy to forget that Liverpool Street Station and the gleaming skyscrapers of the city are mere minutes away. There is no restaurant, but breakfast served in bed will regularly arrive on a creaking wooden tray that is piled high with smoked salmon bagels, freshly baked pastries and fruit topped with granola.
Belmond Cadogan Hotel
London's Belmond Cadogan Hotel is located at the intersection of three top neighborhoods—Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Belgravia—and an elegant boutique hotel.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Set on 100 acres of pasture and woodland, Raymond Blanc’s English manor house is for couples looking for a traditional English getaway .
Blakes, one of the world’s first boutique hotels and the brainchild and baby of designer Anouska Hempel (now Lady Weinberg) is a hotel that knows its niche, and has faithfully and successfully served it for almost two decades. Tucked away on a quiet residential street in the heart of South Kensington, Blakes got the slightly opulent colonial and indisputably chic recipe right when it first opened in 1987. All that was needed was a little freshening up. And after eight months and a £4 million renovation in 2011, Blakes is looking better than ever.
Guests can choose from two design schemes—moody romantic with warm lacquer reds, black and cream, or the more pristine modern in black-and-white rooms with similarly toned, good-looking bathrooms. I honestly can’t choose between the two. Predictably, Blakes is beloved by the music and fashion worlds (regulars include the Beckhams, Hugh Grant and Jean-Paul Gaultier); it’s a place that anyone craving privacy and style will keep coming back to.
A good bargain category are the luxury doubles, especially the room numbers ending with a 4 (i.e. 204, 304 etc) because they have a separate sofa seating area, two Bang & Olufsen televisions and a separate shower and bath. Don’t miss the three new, glass birdcage conservatories in the rear courtyard, perfect for any season.
Brown’s Hotel, A Rocco Forte Hotel
The historic-yet-hip Brown's Hotel in London, England is located in the fashionable Mayfair neighborhood and formerly played host to Winston Churchill.
A medieval manor in a picture-perfect location with super-professional hands-on staff—what more could you ask for? Okay, so there’s no spa, no gym and no minibars; instead, a weekend at Buckland is more like a sumptuous house party. It’s very grand but, thank heavens, totally unstuffy. With fires burning day and night beneath great big imposing mantelpieces and three drawing rooms to curl up in, this is a hotel where you feel incredibly well looked after. Parts of the house date from the 13th century; with mullioned windows and deep-set stone walls, there’s a real feeling of history to the place. Chintz and four-posters, flagstone floors and wood paneling complete the look. There are only thirteen bedrooms, but try to get the Fountain Room, which has the best views of the gardens. You’ll find that the bedroom doors aren’t locked (though locks are provided on request). Wake in the morning to double-yolk eggs for breakfast and a quick round on the croquet lawn.
Bulgari Hotel London
At first glance, Bulgari London in Knightsbridge does not resemble other London five stars. And that is precisely the idea. From the outside, the hotel and its stark, white exterior looks almost like a private residential building. But inside the lobby, coming across loud and clear, is the bold imprimatur of the luxury fashion brand known for a sleek, bejeweled kind of Italian glamour and craftsmanship that signifies Fashion with a capital F.
In the spare Bulgari Lounge by the lobby, yacht-like, high-gloss mahogany paneling and floor-to-ceiling silk wall hangings with embroidered Bulgari stars, chic modern seating, low, circular white-and-gray marble tables and portraits of models in Bulgari jewels on the walls add an air of cool cinematic drama amid the black, white and silver tones that tie to Bulgari’s past as a Roman silversmith. It feels almost as if you have entered the set of a fashion show or a movie about Italian fashion. (Not surprisingly, Bulgari jewels have appeared in more than 40 films—and on celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn to Charlize Theron and Billie Eilish.)
The hotel, which recently celebrated its first decade in Knightsbridge, opened right before the London Olympics opposite Hyde Park (an ideal spot during the summer outdoor concert season), and is conveniently located down the block from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the Victoria & Albert Museum. The new build, overseen by renowned Italian architect and designer Antonio Citterio, invokes Bulgari’s design heritage and sophisticated style, along with Citterio’s contemporary custom Flexform furniture collection. In the 85 rooms and suites, handmade woven silk draperies reflect the past with a pattern inspired by a brooch made by Bulgari’s founder Sotiria Bulgari during the 19th century. Modern touches include carpeting by Altai and B&B module libraries chock full of a delightfully eclectic assortment of books on everything from Mews style and British History to Islamic art and Coco Chanel, and authors as far-ranging as Nancy Mitford, J.K. Rowling, John LeCarré, Jane Austen, Ian McEwan, Dylan Thomas or Zoe Heller.
Rooms and suites at Bulgari London are among the city’s largest, and the rich mahogany wall paneling unifies rooms as you move through them, creating the feel of a luxe yacht cabin. Cushioned headboards on plush beds feature oversize signature Bulgari floral medallion patterns. Expansive bathrooms are all done in dramatic black marble with pre-set Toto toilets, sizable soaking tubs, a high-tech steam shower and Bulgari bath products. Executive Rooms are spacious—doubles of nearly 500 square feet—with leather wrapped travel trunks that have been turned into minibars. Knightsbridge Suites are even larger, and the suites on the top three floors feel sprawling. All come with a spacious King-size master bedroom, living room with a fireplace, a state-of-the-art kitchen and dining area. Suites also come with butlers, who can prepare meals and special dinners upon request. Some also have terraces with Hyde Park views. Dual walk-in closet areas with substantial open closet and drawer space mean guests have plenty of room to make themselves at home. Extra touches like your own personalized calling card printed with your address-in-residence wait for you at the desk in your room upon arrival, and it is the kind of hotel where the butler will leave a shiny Bulgari bookmark on your book on the bedside table at turndown, just so you know they’re thinking about your every need.
When it comes to sustainability and impact efforts, the hotel is ahead of most city properties, saving on carbon emissions with its geothermal ground source heat, a green roof by the London Diversity Action Plan with boxes for birds, bats and peregrine falcons, as well as energy conserving lighting and rainwater collection. There are also electric car charging points on site and bikes for Hyde Park bike rides. (Brand-wide, Bulgari has helped Save the Children raise $90 million since 2009 through its Save the Children Bulgari jewelry collection, securing a better education for more than two million children. Guests can contribute to the Give Hope campaign by purchasing a special edition silver and onyx ring, bracelet or pendant. A significant portion of the proceeds goes directly to the campaign.)
Even with the fashion focus, families and children will feel welcome here, and families booking multiple rooms will receive a significant benefit. On our visit, European families with children of all ages were enjoying the lobby restaurant and the hotel’s main restaurant, Sette by New York’s Scarpetta, which also has a separate entrance on Knightsbridge Green. It serves appealing, healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a bright, modern space with leather banquettes. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge with special artisanal pastries and dolci by resident chocolatier Gianluca Fusta; brunch is popular on Sundays. There is also a bar area, a private dining room for those looking to host a private party and a cigar bar owned by cigar merchant Edward Sahakian, who may be there to welcome you to sample rare vintage and limited edition cigars. When it comes to cocktails, guests head downstairs to Nolita Social downstairs (yes, an outpost from NYC) to enjoy craft cocktails, live music and a DJ Thursday through Saturday. The modern space is also available for private events.
Along with room size, the hotel overdelivers when it comes to its 22,000-square-foot spa. The private, sophisticated space has 11 treatment rooms, and one of the largest pools in London (along with elevators that bypass public floors and take guests straight to their suites). Designed to feel like a Roman bath with textured Vicenza stone, the 60-foot lap pool, has a colonnade with comfortable loungers and a separate vitality pool with full-body massage jets and walls and ceiling accented with tiny tiles of gold leaf glass that recall Byzantine mosaics of Venice and Ravenna.
The Workshop gym, founded by top trainer Lee Mullins, offers guests personalized assessments that can include movement, nutrition, body composition and genetic analysis as well as recommendations for the best exercise for your body type. They also perform assessments for food intolerance as well as metabolic and movement testing to determine the right training intensity and recovery, and can suss out imbalances and reduce injuries.
If you’re looking for more entertainment during your stay, you’ll find a 47-seat private screening room dedicated to the late Richard Attenborough downstairs as well. The hotel has more than 300 new and classic films available for private screenings. It also hosts a Women in Film series, championing young female filmmakers—all part of Bulgari’s commitment to the arts, complete with Q&As with directors and cast members. The exceptional concierge team can also help get you into the latest hotspots, arrange helicopter tours of the city, river cruises on the Thames, as well as London street art or foodie and rock ‘n roll tours. Especially for families, Bulgari leads a citywide treasure hunt with a private driver, stopping at key sites from Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace to Covent Garden with fun history lessons and surprises along the way—like a visit to Hamleys toy store.
Set in the heart of Oxfordshire's Burford, a town that looks straight off a chocolate box lid, this black-and-white-timbered, 17th-century town house positively bursts with tearooms, crafts shops and antiques. Upstairs, the dark-beamed bedrooms are small but perfectly formed, brimming with well-chosen antique furniture and lovely porcelain. You’ll find thick Witney blankets on the beds, vases of tulips and, in the Sherborne room, a four-poster bed and an enormous bathroom with a rolltop bathtub for two. The family photos dotted around the place will make you feel like you’re staying with friends (if only they would lose the teddy bears on the beds). To top it off, a sweet-smelling walled flower garden beckons beyond the back doors.
This cheery cluster of old-fashioned stone farm buildings in the Cotswolds has been transformed into such a thoroughly modern, thoroughly friendly hotel.
What a joy: a proper hotel for adults that also offers all sorts of treats for babies and children, guaranteeing a good time for the whole family. For the kiddies, there’s a heated indoor pool for splashing about (with separate child zones and times); a wonderworld nursery run by nanny pros; a relaxed, pub-style restaurant, the Gumstool Inn, complete with high chairs, bibs, homemade purees, warm organic milk and staff who get down on their knees to clean up the mess and still smile. And you can also forget the hideous bedroom-sharing scenario that always involves trying to fit the crib into the bathroom and hushed voices, putting a damper on romance. The ten new family suites come with separate children’s bedrooms (two single beds or bunk beds, plus room for a cot) in the same smart contemporary style as the rest of the hotel and a fabulous monitoring system that connects to the front desk. While staff listen for the stirrings of sleeping children, parents get to dig in to sophisticated comfort food—pressed foie gras and apple terrine, seared sea bass, licorice crème brûlée with blackberry sorbet—at the sexy restaurant. What else is there? A gym, glorious walks and cycle routes, and an outdoor hot tub and spa so serene that your brain will turn to mush.
Charlotte Street Hotel
This André Balazs property is a 15-minute walk north of Claridge's in the exclusive residential neighborhood of Marylebone. Most famous for its impossible-to-book restaurant, which opened in March 2014, Chiltern Firehouse consists of twenty rooms and six suites housed in a late-19th-century Victorian fire station. Contrary to its façade, Chiltern’s interiors are exotically decorated, reminiscent of a member’s only club. The French design team behind the hotel, Studio KO, transformed the public spaces using floral patterns, hanging plants and bamboo and wicker furniture throughout. With large windows and a generously sized outdoor courtyard (serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in the summer), Chiltern has a uniquely airy atmosphere, a rarity in London. Guests can also order room service from the Chiltern Firehouse restaurant.
The hotel’s 26 accommodations have a different style than the lobby and instead incorporate teal, brown and olive hues in velvet fabric. While the rooms offer such interesting details as old-fashioned lamps, wind-up phones, and lavish bathrooms with claw-footed tubs (a throwback to a bygone era), the general aesthetic feels overlooked and under-designed in the grand scheme of the facility. Guests are clearly not meant to enjoy the hotel from the comfort of their rooms. Chiltern has the making to be the Chateau Marmont of London, and for better or worse, the service will probably match. There is no gym or spa, but the hotel can arrange access to one nearby as well as tennis courts.
If you want to live large and see and be seen in the heart of Mayfair, London, the Claridge’s hotel from Maybourne Hotel Group is the place to do it.
With hip but minimalist interiors, a Zen vibe, a branch of Nobu and one of London’s most acclaimed spas on the premises, the COMO Metropolitan is a hot spot for a reason. Many of the 144 rooms overlook Hyde Park, and those on higher floors are veritable cocoons of serenity floating above the green expanse. The members-only Met Bar remains one of London’s trendiest meeting spots, and guests have automatic access. Although the COMO Metropolitan doesn’t immediately appear family friendly, they offer serviced apartments - two- and three-bedroom options - that are ideal for parents in search of space.
Corinthia Hotel London
If you want Wi-Fi, mood lighting in the bathroom and an Ammique bed in Room 16 (made from capsules that mold to the shape of your body), you got it. Cotswold House hotel is high-tech city slick in honey-hued Chipping Campden. Located in the heart of the village and boasting a secret walled garden, it’s as unexpected as it is gorgeous. Shaded pathways meander past giant urns overflowing with sweet-smelling flowers, and benches sit tucked in hideaway corners. Bag the Hidcote cottage, and spend the weekend hopping in and out of your private hot tub or curled up by the fireplace in the bedroom. With beds so comfy you could sleep for days, you’ll need a tempting breakfast to lure you out from under the covers. And what delicious delights await: lavender honey, candied orange marmalade and marinated prunes, porridge with whiskey and cream. Even better, there’s no hurry; it’s all on offer until 11 A.M.
Covent Garden Hotel
Owned by Kit and Tim Kemp’s Firmdale Group, which has six other hotels in London and one in New York (the Crosby Street), Covent Garden can claim Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet as fans. Designed by the talented designer Kit Kemp, who lovingly decorated each of the fifty-eight bedrooms and suites in a different style, the hotel’s appealing touches include fabric-covered mannequins that complement the rooms, oversize headboards towering above plush four-posters and top-of-the-line Miller Harris bath products. Giorgio Armani likes Penthouse 303, and John Malkovich always books Room 201 (though Junior Suite 5, all red toile and high ceilings, would be my pick).
Despite Covent Garden’s small size, it boasts the amenities of a larger property - an excellent restaurant, a gym, the Soholistic beauty treatment room, even a screening room that can accommodate up to 47 guests. Indagare members have commented that this is a great choice for theater-going visitors as well as for families (it’s central to many tourist sights). But do not expect the neighborhood to feel quiet or tucked away; you are staying in the middle of bustling Covent Garden.
Cowley Manor glows majestically as you roll up the driveway, not so much Cotswolds chic as classical Italianate grandeur, with fabulous grounds that are sculptured and landscaped within an inch of their lives. The building is Grade II listed, but you won’t find any traditional formality inside. So long, Chippendale and chintz, tartan carpets and heavy velvet curtains; all is groovy and bright here, like the azure pool table and the leather-clad walls in the billiards room. This is one funky country house. Pick an “Exceptional” room in the main house; some of the rooms have private terraces, which are bathed in sunlight when those English clouds part.
The pièce de résistance is the C-Side spa, artfully tucked into the hillside of the garden and cloaked by a roof of lavender. The steaming swimming pool slices through the sunken courtyard and is toasty even when there’s a nip in the air. (Do make sure to book a spa slot, though; it’s packed at weekends.) Back at the hotel, all is surprisingly child friendly. There’s even a complimentary dedicated high tea for the little ones, when the usually elegant and serene restaurant becomes bright and flamboyant with primary-colored plastic utensils and kid-size nibbles—not a chicken nugget in sight. And later, for grown-ups, wild boar steak with black pudding mash, warm Cotswold rabbit salad and seriously good puddings. What a winner.
Located forty-five minutes outside of London and just twenty minutes from Heathrow, Coworth Park is a peaceful sanctuary removed from the chaos of England’s capital. The property consists of seventy rooms: thirty in the main Manor House and the remaining rooms spread out over the Dower House, Cottages and Stables. The overriding aesthetic is contemporary elegance with many of the rooms in the Manor House featuring four-poster beds and high ceilings. The rooms in the cottages and stables offer a cozier charm and are better for young families.
The Eco-spa is a big draw with eight treatment rooms and a soothing indoor-outdoor pool that is open year-round. The property also offers a plethora of quintessentially English activities like polo, croquet, shooting, and horseback riding. In addition, guests can fish, mountain bike, go for a run or simply find a cozy nook to curl up in with a book. A well-rounded kids’ club, two on-site restaurants, a bar and Spatisserie, the spa’s juicer, round out the facilities.
Dial House Hotel
The oldest building in the village, Dial House stands proud on the green overlooking the River Windrush. And what a village. The stone bridges crossing the river have even led some to call it “the Venice of the Cotswolds.” It’s a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s a glorious haven to escape the hordes. The imposing 17th-century house, named after the large sundial above the front door, is supremely elegant inside. Rooms are intimate and contemporary—high-end designer wallpaper, Zoffany quilts on the bed—but not so urban that you lose a sense of place. Besides, who wants to be stuck inside here anyway? Go out and explore those rolling hills, slumber on the deck chairs in the garden, or, if you must be inside, wallow in the deep baths for hours. The old summerhouse on the top lawn is outrageously romantic, so as soon as it’s warm enough, book it for a candlelit supper.
Dormy House may have started life in the 17th century as a farmhouse, but don’t expect anything too rustic. A recent extensive revamp has revealed it in all its glory: as one of the most comfortable, stylish and contemporary places to rest your head in the area. The forty rooms are equipped with top notch toiletries, Nespresso machines and tablets, and the six suites are each unique and charming.
The hotel has been designed with city visitors in mind. The spa is slick and luxurious; you can sit on the spa terrace–perhaps after a spell in the mud room–and watch the local wildlife from the comfort of your robe. Because some things stay the same: the hotel is still part of the 400-acre Farncombe Estate.
There are two restaurants. Choose the Garden Room for dinner and Sunday lunch or thePotting Shed for all-day dining.
Dorset Square Hotel
For Tim and Kit Kemp, the reopening of the Dorset Square Hotel was a kind of homecoming. Back in 1985, the hotel was the couple’s first joint venture, and though they eventually let it go, it was the collaboration that led to the birth of a very stylish empire. Nearly thirty years later, the Kemps reacquired Dorset Square, and in June of 2012, saw it reincarnated as their company’s seventh contribution to the London hotel scene. With only 38 rooms, the handsome Marylebone townhouse is the most intimate property in the Firmdale portfolio.
Dorset Square has long been a haven from London’s tourist bustle, and the hotel, like the neighborhood, keeps a relatively low profile. In this sense it offers a clear counterpoint to bolder siblings like the sceney Soho and the fast-paced Haymarket. Its low-key facade blends harmoniously with the residential streetscape and foreshadows an equally low-key interior. There are no fitness, screening or treatment rooms – just a sensible drawing room and a friendly English-style brasserie.
Accommodations, while lovely, are generally on the small side, and travelers who tend to spread out should consider booking the Marylebone Room or the Dorset Square Room. The hotel’s two signature rooms have the same price-tag but different features; while the former, located on the ground level, has a proper sitting area encompassed by charming built-in bookshelves packed with colorful volumes, the latter has the advantage of privileged second-floor views of the leafy square.
Firmdale fanatics will be pleased to find that the hotel’s refreshing simplicity was achieved at no cost to the whimsical aesthetic with which the brand has become synonymous. Its hallways and stairwells are outfitted in custom wallpapers printed with horticultural diagrams from a vintage biology textbook, and a playful cricket motif pays tribute to the square’s legacy as birthplace of the venerable Marylebone Cricket Club, founded at Dorset Fields in 1787. If anything, Dorset Square is yet another (slightly more concise) expression of the incredible versatility of Kit Kemp’s unique design-language.
Sister hotel to Lords of the Manor and practically next door to Blenheim Palace, the Feathers is well connected and the perfect place to take baby steps into the Cotswolds. Five adjacent vibrant, redbrick, 17th-century town houses have been gutted and merged into one property. Creaky floorboards and dark corridors, antiques bedecked and oh-so traditional; some parts look like they haven’t been touched for years and remain dustily unchanged.
Thankfully, the sleeping quarters have been brought up to modern day. Marble bathrooms have power showers and bedrooms boast flat-screen TVs and great vases of fresh flowers. If you want a steam room as well, go for the Goldcrest Suite. The bar has a few stuffed birds (hence the hotel’s name). But if that’s all too stuffy, sneak out to the courtyard garden; when it’s warm enough, it’s the perfect spot for an early-evening martini.