Lancaster London is a four-star hotel situated adjacent to Hyde Park, and a short walk from the city’s renowned Marble Arch. Launched in 1967, the property is due to change its name back to its original ‘Royal Lancaster’ title in two years’ time in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. It equally has a continued ambition to be one day classified as a five-star destination.
Lancaster London boasts 416 elegant guestrooms, situated across 18 floors, and grants stunning vistas that extend as far as the arch of Wembley Stadium in the North. We stayed in one of the Embassy Suites with a City view, located on the corner of level 14. Although the green-themed décor was looking a little tired, the accommodation, which featured windows on two sides of the room, was tastefully furnished in a traditional style, and housed a separate toilet, a walk-in wardrobe with a pair of small dumbbells for those who wish to burn some extra calories whilst away from home, a small lounge area, and sleeping quarters which came complete with a very comfortable king-sized bed, writing desk and large flatscreen TV. The ensuite marble bathroom was lined with a generous selection of nicely-perfumed toiletries from The White Company, and offered the choice of either a standalone shower or bath.
When it comes to dining, there are two main eateries at Lancaster London – the ‘Nipa Thai’, and the ‘Island Grill’, a dual-level contemporary 65-cover restaurant. We ate at the latter which brings a modern European menu using the finest ingredients in-line with each season. We started our meal with a beautifully-concocted passion fruit Mojito and Piña Colada from their good range of cocktails and mocktails, before tucking into the starters. I had the Seared Tuna Salad, a mouth-watering mélange of Yellow Fin tuna, cherry tomatoes, pickled onion and ginger, and finely cut cubes of avocado. My guest sampled the ‘Island Salad’, composed of purple sprouting broccoli, roasted onions, red peppers and courgettes, and Bulgar wheat, dressed with a sweet and discrete poppy seed vinaigrette. Both were exquisite and gave a great first impression.
From the ‘Grills’ section of the menu, I then headed for a sumptuously-moist and lightly pan-fried fillet of sea bass which sat on a bed of spinach leaves, chicory and pesto gnocchi. I enjoyed this with a side of whole grain mustard mash which was strong in flavour, and creamy in texture. My guest had her eye from the start on a well-cooked sirloin steak, which came with a mushroom jus, a nice dairy-free alternative to the regular sauce. A helping of thyme-roasted carrots complemented the meat perfectly.
Dessert is always a tough decision, but the Lancaster London’s signature honey Panna cotta, made with ingredients from the beehives stationed on the roof of the tower-like building, came highly recommended. Lancaster London is actually a champion for the humble honey bee, and was the first to install them. It also organises and hosts the annual “London Honey Show” in October to provide education on urban beekeeping. This dish, which translates from Italian as ‘cooked cream’, was finished by pieces of crunchy chocolate-coated meringue, berries, a honey snap and yellow edible flowers. It was indeed a great choice, so much so, that I had no regrets about not opting for one of my all-time favourites, tiramisu. My partner selected a delicious and refreshing array of black cherry, mandarin and raspberry sorbet. We rounded off the meal with a soya hot chocolate and a lemon tea before heading back to our suite, helped along by some petits fours. Our host, Valentin, was excellent from start to finish, always attentive and regularly topping up our water glass. The service was swift, but at the same time, the three courses were nicely paced and never rushed.
In the morning, between 07:00 and 12:00, there are two options for breakfast depending on your level of hunger – the ‘Island Grill’ for an à la carte menu, or the ‘Park Room’ for an all-you-can eat buffet. Having already eaten at the former, we decided on the ‘Park Room’, where there is everything from salad, to smoked salmon, to pastries and fresh fruit, and there are even Thai dishes for guests who prefer oriental cuisine first thing. It was a feast for the eyes, and a great pre-cursor to venturing back into the British sunshine.
All in all, Lancaster London is in a very convenient location, with easy access to some of the Capital’s most famed attractions. It should therefore be a serious consideration when looking to explore one of the UK’s most exciting cities.
Weekday rates start from £179.00 per room per night, whilst weekend tariffs are available from £159.00.
Reservations can be reached on 020 7551 6000, or visit www.lancasterlondon.com to find out more.