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Written by Graeme Winchester

Last month London’s Mayfair saw a hugely exciting re-launch in the form of The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences on Piccadilly. Guests have enjoyed the privacy and anonymity the hotel affords since 1849 and now, together with its existing quirky personality, the hotel has undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment courtesy of design whizz kids Kinnersley Kent.

Where once a rather dated single storey reception stood, now an impressive floor-to-ceiling expanse of windows flood a sleek, high-design lounge, elegantly decorated with contemporary art and bright furniture. The traditional check-in desk has been replaced with up-to-the-minute touchpad technology, ensuring the guest experience begins the moment the client enters the hotel.  

In an exciting move, the much-heralded kings of modern European cuisine, the Galvin Brothers, are overseeing the whole of the hotel’s food and beverage offering.  A small but perfectly sophisticated restaurant – Galvin at The Athenaeum – offers a seasonally driven, British-produced menu, which includes Poached native lobster salad, with avocado and pink grapefruit, Rose County beef rib eye, and Hampshire watercress and green peppercorn butter.  My Yellowfin tuna burger served with cabbage slaw and avocado was sublime.  Having been coerced into trying a dessert, we settled on the Valhrona chocolate mousse with almond biscuit – an utterly delightful, luxuriously creamy and perfectly light mousse, served in a tall martini glass with the fragrant almond offering a welcome punch. 

The Bar, situated to the rear of the hotel and with a discreet entrance just off Piccadilly, is ideal for a late afternoon cocktail. This is where the magic happens. International cocktail guru, Giancarlo Mancino, has curated a compendium of signature cocktails that will give The Langham’s Artesian Bar a run for its money. Mancino, an Italian, brings with him his country’s talent of creating effortless beauty and style in everything.

Though it is the beautifully decorated Residences, housed in a Victorian terrace beside the hotel, that inspire the most. One-bedroom suites offer interconnecting door access to the adjacent room, ensuring families and small groups are well looked after. The Residences will also benefit from the same in-room dining as the hotel and has a twice-daily maid service to keep everything looking spot on.

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