Walking into the lobby of Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Hotel 41 feels like you’ve been sneaked into the secret side entrance of a VIP club in a quiet corner of London. The low lighting, checkerboard-tiled floor polished to perfection and solid wood-paneled walls give off an alluring ambiance.
Time temporarily stops as you take it all in. Then the receptionist, hidden off to the left in your peripheral, breaks the spell with a warm “hello,” and before you know it, someone comes to whisk you and your luggage upstairs to the Executive Lounge for a proper check-in.
We love this boutique retreat for that initial feeling and these three other reasons.
The Conservatory Suite
A hotel room is a hotel room is a hotel room. But then there’s Hotel 41’s Conservatory Suite, with its huge atrium roof sheltering the whole of the upstairs bedroom and lounge area.
Lie back on the king-size bed and absorb the big blue sky, or wait until sundown on a clear night when the stars are on view to take in a one-of-a-kind London vista. Unless you want to rise with the sun, you’ll want to hit the button to close the electric blinds.
The Conservatory Suite is the star of the show, for sure, but you’ll find comfort and luxury in every one of the other 27 rooms and suites at this chic property. The sleek black-and-white scheme reigns throughout (it’s like crawling into a Chanel bag) with polished brass fixtures, white orchids and open fires working together to provide immense comfort.
Each unit features a Savoir bed (which translates to a magical night’s sleep), Bose sound systems to dock your devices and marble bathrooms stocked with local Penhaligon’s amenities to bathe in.
Oh, and that “Whatever, Whenever” button you see on the phone in your room? Simply press it to have nearly any request fulfilled, big or small.
As addresses go, you don’t get much more conspicuously prime in London than Buckingham Palace Road, even if it’s not the city’s prettiest thoroughfare. It’s a busy main stretch, swooshing with coaches, cars and people walking to and from the nearby shops, museums and iconic sights.
Victoria underground station is a five-minute jaunt, the mainline train platform — zipping travelers off to Gatwick airport and beyond — just a couple minutes more. The grand dame herself, Buckingham Palace, is just a six-minute stroll in the other direction, meaning you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and still get to the castle grounds for the 11 a.m. changing of the guard.
Back at your sumptuous home base, almost every window overlooks the historic Buckingham Palace Mews. The nearly 200-year-old royal stables offer a deliciously voyeuristic view into the pageantry of aristocratic life.
But with its enveloping monochrome and mirrors, maze of dark wood and fabric-covered corridors, Hotel 41’s interiors are pleasantly calm, the busyness outside forgotten.
The Homey Hospitality
Expect attentive, committed service — Hotel 41 has a 2-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio of helping hands ready to tend to any request, be it greeting you with a flute of champagne (from a choice of four varieties) and a little dish of canapés at check-in to delivering a bottle of fresh milk for coffee and some treats from the kitchen to nibble on as you unpack or tucking a hot water bottle under your duvet at turndown.
An Executive Lounge (open to all guests) boasts two beckoning fireplaces and a whole corner dedicated to an ever-replenished pantry of goodies you’re invited to plunder at will, 24 hours a day. Look out for the small freezer stocked with pints of Jude’s Ice Cream, which you can sneak back to your suite after dinner.
By the front entrance, a hot beverage station invites you to help yourself to chai tea or coffee on your way in or out — a metaphoric hug, hello or farewell that’s always welcomed.
You won’t even have to set foot outside the posh address for more fulfilling sustenance. A secret passageway leads you to Hotel 41’s sibling stay, The Rubens at the Palace, next door, where you’ll find The Leopard Bar (nightly live jazz; an excellent whiskey collection), hearty dinners from The English Grill (the lobster Arnold Bennett open-faced omelet is incredible) and more exotic cuisine at The Curry Room.
All of this can be found at the neighboring property, yet, remarkably, it’s at Hotel 41 where you’ll feel most at home.