In the heart of Knightsbridge, less than a 10-minute walk from Harrods and the Victoria and Albert Museum, this enchanting little boutique hotel is full of quintessential English charm.
There’s something very special about staying at a Red Carnation Hotel. In some of my earlier stays at other hotels in this family owned group, I made the mistake of heading out for dinner or to meet friends but I’m experienced enough to know now that, when it comes to Red Carnation, staying in is definitely the new going out. So this time I cleared my diary, checked-in early and enjoyed all that Egerton House has to offer.
As with all Red Carnation welcomes, I’d barely put one foot on the first step before an enthusiastic concierge appeared out of nowhere to help me with my bags. The welcome is always like returning home after a period of being away: you’re expected, you’re an individual and the team genuinely love to look after their guests.
The spacious and elegant Studio Suite 42, decorated in natural tones, tented ceiling and contemporary chandelier was my home for the evening. Ilona, Reception Manager, escorted me to my room to give me a comprehensive briefing of all the fabulous features, of which there are many. With a Nespresso machine, Jing Teas, handmade biscuits, a fruit platter, fresh orchids, complimentary water, a stack of glossy magazines, divinely soft linen, and a generous supply of Penhaligon’s toiletries, The Egerton House Hotel goes out of its way to ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible.
The hotel itself is a red-bricked Victorian building littered with sumptuous textures, antiques, art and beautiful individual pieces of furniture. Each of the rooms has been individually designed by Red Carnation Founder, Beatrice Tollman. A dog lover herself, you will find dog themed paintings, cushions and little trinkets everywhere.
The Egerton House Hotel serves one of the best afternoon teas in London with homemade cakes, Devonshire clotted cream and a nice selection of teas. Depending on the time of year you might get to enjoy Chelsea Flower Show or festive themed delights. There’s even a Teddy Bears’ Picnic for the little ones! Afternoon tea is served in the cosy lounge with plump sofas, little occasional tables and even a log fire that burns during the cooler months.
The piece de résistance for me however was the discrete and charming Martini Bar, popular with the locals and guests alike. The hotel comes alive in the evening as many come to sample an exciting selection of gin and vodka based Martinis. Be warned! The portions are as generous as they are delicious so as a self-confessed ‘lightweight’ I was tipsy pretty much from my first couple of sips! As I had yet to dine, I opted for a refreshing and tangy vodka based Lemon Martini but I have it on good authority that the Chocolate and Espresso versions are equally divine.
Aside from a wonderful selection of hors d’oeuvres, dinner is a somewhat semi-casual affair. Dinner is taken in the lounge and bar, and there’s an extensive menu. Guests can enjoy a range of dishes, including a classic Sirloin Steak, Wagyu Burger or, as a lighter option perhaps, Bea’s own recipe chicken soup. If none of these options tickle your fancy, then do as I did, and build your own custom salad from a long list of ingredients. The service is warm and friendly and you are invited to linger and enjoy the surroundings.
Eventually I had to head to my room however and, as with all Red Carnation Hotels, The Egerton House Hotel provides one of the best turn-down services in the City. Returning to my room I found a floating bath candle and bath pillow enticing me to have a pre-sleep soak and I loved the surprise gift left on my pillow, a mini manicure kit to take with me.
I can’t finish without mentioning the breakfast, served in the elegant dining room on the lower-ground floor. All crisp white linen, glass and silver, it’s a place you want to linger to contemplate your day ahead. I started with good intentions with the healthy buffet selection and smoothie but couldn’t resist the beautiful Eggs Florentine, cooked to perfection, which – along with my perfect stay – left me feeling entirely satisfied for the rest of the day.
So next time you are looking to impress a Martini Connoisseur, find a discreet and homely retreat or host an afternoon tea in West London, I challenge you to do better than The Egerton House Hotel.
About the Author:
Carolyn Pearson is the founder and CEO of women’s business travel network www.maiden-voyage.com