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First Look: The Peninsula London

The Peninsula London, seen on a walk in the park.

Meet the newest hotel in London’s Belgravia neighborhood.

With views of Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace as its most famous neighbor, The Peninsula London debuted as one of the capital’s most notable new openings, in a year of notable openings. Three decades in the making, the completed hotel has the sheen of a brand-new Louis Vuitton bag – subtly tasteful, while still making a statement. Guests arrive through a discreet internal courtyard designed by landscape architect Enzo Enea, who has crafted serene settings at the likes of The Peninsula Istanbul, Miami Beach’s Setai, and The Dolder Grand in Zürich. At its center, two 120-year-old Japanese maples, brought in from Paris, set a calming tone.

The Lobby.

Architect Peter Marino took inspiration for the interiors from England’s grand houses and royal parks, which is especially evident in the grand lobby, where handpainted de Gournay wallpaper lines the room and crystal chandeliers light all-day dining and afternoon tea services. The lobby’s high windows overlook Wellington Arch and bathe the space with natural light.

Chinoiserie-inspired Canton Blue.

Staff uniforms designed by Kate Middleton fave Jenny Packham and more than 200 artworks from the Royal Drawing School nod to British design. Meanwhile, flourishes such as the Chinese imperial guardian lions at the entry, the Rolls-Royce Phantoms in the 13-vehicle livery (which guests can book for airport transfers or outings around the city), and Cantonese fine-dining spot Canton Blue celebrate Peninsula’s Hong Kong roots. The restaurant’s design visually recounts the story of the Keying junk with hand-selected porcelain plates and dark wood paneling.  

“This wooden boat traveled from Hong Kong to England in the middle of the nineteenth century to deliver Asian porcelains, fabrics, and artifacts to London society, starting a craze for chinoiserie,” says managing director Sonja Vodusek.

Chef Claude Bosi’s rooftop Brooklands and the adjacent Brooklands Bar evoke England’s car racing and aviation history with the dining room’s Concorde-inspired design, which includes the jet’s actual pilot seats; a sleek, aircraftlike ceiling; and vintage race cars borrowed from the Brooklands Museum. The restaurant’s tasting menus highlight British ingredients and flavors in dishes such as Lake District lamb, Dorset snail, and a cep mushroom dessert, served with a view of the London skyline.

Wellington Arch views from a Grand Premier Park Room.

Among the hotel’s 190 rooms and suites, The Peninsula Suite stands out with its private gym and screening room. But even the entry-level rooms make an impression as some of London’s largest, ranging from 549 to 570 square feet. Guests can select between interior courtyard or exterior views with impressive sightlines of Hyde Park Corner’s Wellington Arch. Inside, guests will find mahogany-paneled dressing rooms and amenities such as tea sets, Nespresso coffee makers with endearingly helpful accompanying video instructions, and nail dryers. 

Despite being newly constructed, the hotel melds seamlessly into the charismatic Belgravia neighborhood, offering the chance to live at one of the city’s most impressive addresses – at least temporarily.

Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa or dining credit.

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