The car door closes behind me and I look up blurry eyed at the golden sign peeking out from a plant-clad living wall reading, The Athenaeum. Having done a little pre-trip research, I knew the hotel and residences were a modern addition to the Mayfair neighborhood of London, but this was a pleasant surprise.
Swept into the lobby via revolving door with a cheery “hiya” from the quintessentially British doorman, donning a top hat and bowtie, I looked around at the mod, mirrored furniture, filled with guests enjoying the stacks of sandwiches and sweet treats comprising afternoon tea, and confirmed I had indeed arrived in London.
A five-star, family-run hotel since the 1990s, The Athenaeum is rooted in London luxury. Its recent renovation presents minimal rooms that exude Art Deco inspo, with a clean color palate, splashed with texture from the royal, velvet headboards and matching herringbone throws. With 135 bedrooms, 11 suites and 14 townhouses, the brand prides itself in providing a pied a terre for all of its guests which is why in its latest renovation, the property added a members-only space: The View.
Occupying a corner of the 10th floor, the leather and velvet furnished room provides extra space for guests to unwind in a space that feels like their own. The best part? The views of Green Park directly adjacent to the hotel, and London’s skyline, including the London Eye, providing a dramatic backdrop come sunset. Sip on complimentary coffee and sweet treats in the morning hours, and wine and cheese come the evening. In between, the space is accessible for lounging, playing a game of chess with its London-inspired pawns, or if you must, working, but with an unmissable view.
We spoke with The Athenaeum’s marketing manager, Ramona Jalba, to learn more about the property’s history, what it means to be family-run in a city of brand names, and the history tied to the property’s name.
What’s the most requested room?
Our Park View guest rooms at The Athenaeum are the most requested. We are lucky to be located in Mayfair right across the road from Royal Green Park, and just down the street from Hyde Park. Our rooms have recently been renovated by the award-winning English designer Martin Hulbert– he magically repurposed our rooms to take advantage of the extraordinary view we have of the park. To be in the heart of Mayfair, yet to be able to rest your eyes upon the lush greenery of Green Park – well it is no wonder these rooms are the most requested!
What makes it so special?
As soon as you walk in, you feel transported to a luxurious, yet comfortable, modern and elegant home. Your feet sink into the lush carpeting and you can’t help but to be drawn to the floor-to-ceiling bay windows offering extraordinary views onto the bustling Piccadilly Street and Green Park. The windows let in the natural light and are an original feature in our history-rich building. Thanks to the creative vision of Hulbert, our guest rooms have been modernized while maintaining our quintessentially English heritage. Two comfortable chairs are positioned right by the windows, beckoning you to curl up with a cup of tea and rest after a busy day. And whether your room is teal or amber-colored, you will find that every bit of attention has been paid to every detail with textiles being carefully sourced and specially made, from classic Herringbone weaves and linen-lined wardrobes, to silk-clad furniture and plush velvet cushions showcasing the very best of British craftsmanship.
What is the rate?
Currently rates for this room start at $650.00 USD
What room is your personal favorite?
Our newest addition to the hotel is “The View,” an exclusive residents’ lounge on our top floor. This marks the completion of a multi-phase, comprehensive renovation project led by Martin Hulbert. “The View” invites guests to ‘Look at London Differently’ featuring one of the most spectacular skyline panoramas in all of London. Guests can relax here any time during the day finding a calm oasis with a view, or take some time out if they arrive early, or in advance, of a flight departure once they’ve checked-out of their room. Throughout the day, “The View” features a stocked shower suite for guests to freshen-up, complimentary beverages, and light snacks crafted by Michelin-starred Galvin brothers’ restaurant, Galvin at The Athenaeum.
Any fun facts about the hotel or rooms?
The Athenaeum once played host to celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Christian Bale, Harry Styles, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and countless world-leaders. Guests may be surprised to learn that within the four walls of The Athenaeum many London legends have been made: Take-That announced their split, Steven Spielberg edited E.T., Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark from his suite, and Russell Crowe was famously made to tidy his bedroom. A lovely book awaits each guest that provides a history of its celebrity past.