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The Wellesley Hotel London Is Small, But Sharp

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  Site Where: 11 Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom
November 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM | by | ()

We’ve talked a number of times about how cigars are having their moment, both in London and elsewhere (whether with fashion cocktails or in the Pink City). One of the hotels that is doing its part to bring them back is The Wellesley, a small (36 rooms and suites) hotel in Knightsbridge, just west of Hyde Park Corner.

We took a brief tour (hard hat and all) of the hotel as it’s getting ready to open a few weeks from now, on December 14.

A conversion of a 1920s townhouse, the hotel’s front façade features the arched windows and red tile work that are the signature of the London tube, harking back to the days the building was part of Hyde Park Corner station. That had never clicked for us but now that we know we see the resemblance.

The bus stop out front will be moved so that a small driveway can be created for cars to pull up to the hotel, with a Rolls Royce house car on hand to take guests around town. We tried a similar service when we stayed at the Four Seasons Park Lane, and being dropped off in a Rolls Royce Ghost in front of the ridiculous queues outside the A&F store on our way to Regent Street (Londoners will know what we’re talking about) gets you a LOT of looks.

Tall hedges will shelter the terrace out front, with one of the largest cigar humidors around, complete with marble map of Cuba on the floor, just inside to your left. Across the colonnaded hallway that runs through the middle of the hotel is the Crystal Lounge, with its own outdoor space as well. A little further down to your right will be the small-scale Oval Restaurant, focusing on accessible, comfort Italian food. Coming back for an evening of live jazz (we love us some good live music) at the Jazz Room will be on our to-do list. Louis Hoover, who co-created and starred in the West End show The Rat Pack will be the resident artist.

Given the hotel’s small size, guests will be whisked up to their room for check-in formalities. We saw a one-bedroom suite, which sat right behind one of the arched windows. Art deco is a heavy influence, with mostly cream and gold tones. A short hallway had a lovely marble bathroom (with a bathtub and separate, gigantic freestanding rain shower) to the left. The living room had a desk to work at and a sitting area dominated by a rather bold gold-colored sofa. Around the corner, behind double wood-framed doors, was the compact bedroom, which in the suite we saw had no external windows.

Hallways were still largely covered in protective material, but we liked the deep purple walls. We also peeked into an entry-level Queen room, which was not overly big. Opening rates for a Queen room are £390 (about $620), excluding VAT, and are valid until March next year. That’s on par with entry level rooms we can find at neighbors like the nearby Four Seasons, and above the likes of Firmdale’s Soho Hotel or Covent Garden Hotel, where rooms start at a larger square footage. We think that's going to be tough established competition to take on. A one-bedroom suite like the one we saw will start at £990 (about $1,600).

[Photos: The Wellesley]

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