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Service with a smile is just part of the experience at top hotel

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: September 27, 2013

By STEPHEN SINFIELD

  • No 11 Cadogan Gardens

  • No 11 Cadogan Gardens

  • No 11 Cadogan Gardens

  • No 11 Cadogan Gardens

  • No 11 Cadogan Gardens

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NO. 11 CADOGAN GARDENS

Knightsbridge, London

www.slh.com

www.no11cadogangardens.com

LONDON is awash with hotels, and with more springing up all the time, it’s getting increasingly difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Price and star ratings used to be the easiest way to tell quality. However, more recently we’ve had disappointing stays in five-star hotels having paid top prices for rooms resembling a bedsit.

This trip to London was for a special occasion and so we resorted to a different method when selecting the hotel – it needed to be a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World club.

What’s special about the SLH club is that you can guarantee that the hotel will fulfil everything it promises. Joining No. 11 Cadogan Gardens in this elite club of London hotels is the Dukes – a hotel previously reviewed by the Mail and one which put us on to the SLH quality guarantee.

Our hotel of choice this time was No. 11 Cadogan Gardens in the Knightsbridge area of the capital. Situated down a quiet street off Sloane Square and within walking distance to both the tube network and shops.

As with most London hotels, car parking outside the hotel is limited and so we arrived on foot after leaving the car in the safe hands of a nearby QParks facility.

We’ve never parked in a multi-storey car park before which was brimming with Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and every make of sports car imaginable — this was the garage for Knightsbridge’s elite, this was posh and we hadn’t even made it to the hotel yet.

Finding the hotel was easy as it proudly flies a giant Union flag outside — this must be a delight for the hotel’s loyal following of American tourists having jetted in from Heathrow which is only 15 miles away.

As soon as we arrived we were greeted by a small welcome party keen to take our bags, and while the extremely knowledgeable front of house manager explained the hotel’s many facilities – gym, free WiFi, restaurant, gardens, library, etc – we admired the dark wood panelling which filled the entrance hall.

The hotel is spread across four floors and has an elegant central staircase with ornate chandeliers. Thankfully we were housed in room number eight – The Cadogan Suite – on the ground floor.

Access to our suite meant that we had to pass through the light and elegant Drawing Room – a room filled with luxury seating with its main focal point being the huge open fireplace. While adjacent to our room was the conservatory — a small but relaxing area flooded with natural light.

After thanking the staff for bringing our bags to the room, we quickly regretted the fact that we didn’t take them up on their offer of a tour of the room’s facilities. Not being able to locate the bathroom was the reason why. . .

The Cadogan Suite houses a massive four-poster bed which has a mirrored backdrop and is edged with mirrored wardrobes down one wall.

A small coffee table rests in front of a huge open fireplace while a dining table and chairs fills an alcove by the windows.

A complimentary bottle of wine and dish of fruit on the table was an unexpected but welcome touch and we quickly learned how to use the luxury coffee maker and turn on the huge wall-mounted flat-screen television — but we still couldn’t find the bathroom.

I looked in two of the mirrored wardrobes to find the usual hotel essentials of a safe, hair drier, bathrobes and slippers – but still no bathroom.

It was my wife, Sherlock Sinfield, who decided to look in the remaining wardrobes to reveal the humongous marbled luxury bathroom.

The bedroom planners had certainly worked their magic on this room as two of the mirrored wardrobes opened to reveal a stunning suite containing antique-style sanitary ware including a marble-edged bath and separate bucket-head shower enclosure.

The room was spacious, warm and well-lit with a mix of antique charm and modern luxuries.

Fresh flowers, luxury toiletries from nearby Sloane Street perfumer Ormonde Jayne and extra touches such as an iPod dock and complementary bottled water made this hotel room feel more like home.

As the heavens opened on our first night, the weather made deciding where to eat an easy choice – it had to be the hotel restaurant Tartufo.

This restaurant only opened in May under the watchful eye of chef Manuel Oliveri and is proving popular with both guests and visitors.

The pricing structure is simple with set prices for two, three or four-course menus ranging from £25 to £40 per person.

We opted for a two-course meal and selected wild sea bass with crushed potatoes as the main course and dark chocolate crunch for dessert — this even came with gold leaf trim.

Although our meal in theory was only two courses, it came with the added extras of tomato canapés, a generous plate of mixed breads with oil and a post-dessert petit four of amaretto biscuits.

The service throughout was impeccable while the food was some of the best we have experienced in a UK hotel.

For those of you not wanting to partake in a full dining experience, the Drawing Room hosts afternoon tea, cake and Champagne from £22 per person, while the bar offers a comprehensive wine and cocktail list.

One service which we often overlook at hotels is the concierge.

Like most, we never tend to make use of their services, yet on this occasion we allowed them to book us a taxi for the following morning.

Although many attractions are within a 15-20 minute walking distance and the nearest tube station is less than 10 minutes away, we decided to opt for a taxi as we were ‘suited and booted’ and dressed to impress.

The concierge service was impeccable. It was 11am and our pre-booked taxi wasn’t at the door so they instantly telephoned the taxi service while ushering us to wait in the spacious library.

Wow, what a room, the range of international newspapers on offer was breathtaking and along with shelves filled with classic novels, there was also a flat screen television displaying rolling news.

When our taxi arrived just a mere two minutes later than expected, the concierge escorted us to the vehicle. And upon our return — gone midnight — the concierge was ready waiting by the front door.

It is this continual level of detail and attention which makes this London hotel one of the best.

The room, the restaurant, the facilities and the service are worth smiling about.

FACTS:

• 54 guest rooms including 19 suites.

• Outdoor terrace

• 020 ­7730 7000

SPECIAL OFFER

Suite Escape Package: Stay in a unique and delightful suite for a minimum of a two nights at 20 per cent off of the best available room rate with full English breakfast for two people each morning. Rates from £265 per night for a two-night stay

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