“Throughout the renovation we kept in contact with our regular guests, picking them up from the airport, making them reservations elsewhere in London – even at our competitors,” explains Alice Miller, sales and marketing executive at The Lanesborough, over coffee.
“This was thought the best way to maintain our position while we were closed.
“Now, reopened, we have begun to welcome them back here to The Lanesborough.”
It’s this level of personalised service, taking care of long-standing guests even while the doors of the hotel were closed for 18 months, that has won The Lanesborough its place in the hearts of discerning travellers.
Closing in December 2013 the hotel risked losing its place at the top table of London hospitality.
Right on its doorstep in Knightsbridge alone Claridges, The Dorchester, The Connaught, Bvlgari, and The Berkeley all offer exquisite competition to The Lanesborough.
But owners, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, need not have worried.
Under the leadership of managing director Geoffrey Gelardi the renovations have been a stunning success.
While remaining true to the original Regency style of the hotel, The Lanesborough has been thoroughly refreshed.
“It has been a process of restoration, rather than reinvention,” explains Miller.
“When the hotel was originally launched in 1991 we felt we had created an amazing product, and this process was designed to restore it to its original splendour.
“We weren’t here to paint the walls pink!”
During the process the Grade II listed building was taken back to its shell and totally transformed by Alberto Pinto.
Its 93 rooms and suites, including the seven-bedroom Royal Suite, were reimagined by Pinto and grouped into five design schemes, reflecting the Regency period, with each consisting of three rich jewel colour ways to create warmth, harmony and comfort.
At the same time, there are 14 different types of bed canopies hung within the rooms, featuring over three million hand stitches and bespoke tailoring using the highest quality fabrics.
A team of artisans using age-old techniques, often used in decorating Palaces, were entrusted to deliver a distinctive form of luxury, befitting for The Lanesborough.
The craftsmen were all specialists in their fields and included embroiderers, crystal specialists, cabinetmakers, bronzers, lacquerers, gilders, mirror specialists, and makers of decorative trimmings.
Particular focus was paid to the ceilings throughout, restoring original detailing such as ceiling roses, coffering, cornicing and fresco painting.
To add to the extensive services offered to all guests, 23 private butlers are on call day and night to care for the individual needs of every guest, while a fleet of 14 luxury cars including a Rolls Royce Phantom can chauffeur residents around London in impeccable style.
Relaunching earlier this year, The Lanesborough also saw a change of management, moving from Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ St Regis flag to join the Oetker Collection.
“We felt a little lost with St Regis, and the move to Oetker means we now feel a little more celebrated,” continues Miller.
“In the company of just eight other individual properties in the Oetker portfolio, we feel a lot more at home.”
Discretion has also played a key role in the success of the property.
Visitors from the Middle East, Russia and the United States are able to visit unnoticed by prying eyes.
This also perhaps explains the high volume of repeat guests, with some choosing to live in the hotel for months on end.
Of course, no London hotel would be complete without a range of fine dining options.
With a sizable collection of Cuban and pre-Castro cigars as well as rare Cognacs dating back to 1770, The Garden Room is the ideal setting for a night of relaxed sophistication.
For cocktails, The Library Bar offers a touch of grandeur in a warm and welcoming setting.
The highlight, however, is Céleste, a homage to sister hotel Le Bristol in Paris.
Here 250 different mouldings have been created to achieve the historic scene in bas-relief that surrounds the frise under the sky dome.
English crystal chandeliers illuminate the delicate detailing, with the largest weighing 200kg and stretching two metres wide.
Executive chef Florian Favario has overseen a new culinary era for the hotel, bringing a French inspired cuisine.
The results are modern and imaginative, using only the best of British ingredients.
Signature dishes include Heritage tomatoes with tomato sorbet, Home County lamb with courgette couscous and homemade harissa, and for dessert, hand crafted sugar strawberry, “mara des bois” Chantilly and sorbet.
It is with sophistication, panache, and a thoroughly British sense of classic style that The Lanesborough has retaken its place on the London hospitality scene – better than ever.
With its enviable location at the heart of London, in prestigious Knightsbridge, and panoramic views of Hyde Park, The Lanesborough has long been considered one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.
Its legacy lies with it having been built on the former home of Viscount Lanesborough and it remains one of London’s most revered Regency landmarks.
Opening room rates start from £720 per room per night.
For more information please visit the official website.