There is nothing like a tip of the hat and a warm greeting by name to make guests feel welcome when passing through the doors of a hotel. Many properties make you feel like another anonymous face in an endless sea of visitors. Not so at the Athenaeum Hotel & Residences in London: This 5-star hotel in central London truly strives to be your home away from home.
Located in the Mayfair neighborhood, the Athenaeum is at the center of everything on the busy thoroughfare of Piccadilly. Yet, surprisingly, when you step inside its elegantly designed guest rooms, a peaceful quiet descends, washing away the hustle and bustle of the city. Street-facing rooms also offer a view over Green Park.
Landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park are only moments away. It is also just a short walk to the shopping delights of Fortnum & Mason, Hamleys and Harrods. Even attractions farther afield are easy to reach by Tube from the nearby Green Park Station.
The lobby isn’t large, yet it offers a nice place to enjoy tea or a cocktail. When we visited, it was beautifully decorated for the holidays.
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Rooms at the Athenaeum are elegant yet cozy. A family of three can squeeze into a Deluxe or Park View Room, but large families will want to look at the suites or one of the Residences — luxury serviced apartments that offer a sense of local living in beautiful red-brick townhouses. They include kitchenettes and a living area spread over 550 square feet, allowing families a bit more space and privacy.
Rooms at the Athenaeum feature luxury Hypnos mattresses, a pillow menu to meet guests’ individual needs, bathrobes and slippers, and complimentary water, tea, Nespresso, milk and juice. Service is friendly and efficient yet unobtrusive, with conveniences such as turndown service to help keep rooms tidy and organized.
Galvin, the restaurant at the Athenaeum, is led by Michelin-starred London chefs and brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. The menu focuses on farm-to-table fare and features produce from independent farmers across the United Kingdom. There are prix fixe or a la carte menu options. And while the selection is quite broad, from venison and pheasant to risotto and pasta, there is also a children’s menu for smaller diners. In warm weather, ask for a table on the sidewalk (behind protective clear glass) for excellent people-watching.
Galvin also offers a choice of a full English or Continental breakfast. Afternoon tea at the restaurant features local ingredients such as fresh smoked salmon, Cumbrian ham, Kentish strawberries and Devonshire clotted cream.
The Athenaeum takes families seriously, offering a children’s concierge to keep little ones happy and entertained. The concierge can supply toys, arrange special outings or deliver milk and cookies at bedtime. And if parents are looking for a night out, there’s a team of nannies and babysitters on call. Arthur, the stuffed-bear mascot, also welcomes families in the room (and can be taken home for a fee).
While the hotel itself doesn’t offer much room for children to stretch their legs, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to get their exercise in Hyde Park nearby and Green Park across the street. Parents can hit the gym at the Athenaeum or check out the REN Spa. REN Spa offers a range of beauty treatments, nail services, two cedar wood hot tubs, sauna, steam room and relaxation area.
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Editor’s Note: The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences hosted Tamara and her family in order for us to review the property for families. As always, all opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Tamara Gruber and the Athenaeum.
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