Anglophile Heaven: Brown’s Hotel
Anglophiles, listen up. There’s a hotel in the heart of London that will satisfy every one of your cherished fantasies. From British authors to high tea, Brown’s Hotel, a five-star icon in Mayfair, has it all.
For starters, it’s the oldest hotel in London. It was opened by the butler of one of Britain’s most well-known poets. James Brown, butler to Lord Byron, converted a row of Georgian townhouses into this London landmark in 1837, the same year Queen Victoria took the throne, and from its heyday, it has catered to the well-bred. Queen V herself and Winston Churchill were both frequent guests, not together, we feel responsible to note.
The Brown’s is also where Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book, where Agatha Christie set her novel, At Bertram’s Hotel, and where A.A. Milne landed after selling his home in Chelsea.
This posh oasis in the middle of London is a staple on both Conde Nast and Travel+Leisure’s lists of the world’s best hotels. With original wood paneling, mosaic floors, chandeliers and antique furnishings, each of the 117 rooms (including 29 suites) was designed by Olga Polizzi, the designer for the Rocco Forte Collection that took over the hotel in 2005.
Even those who can’t afford the frighteningly-expensive prices come to this historic hotel to partake of its award-winning afternoon tea. The Brown’s Tea Room, with its fireplaces, baby grand piano and sophisticated décor, offers 17 teas, including Brown’s own blend, served up on silver trays with clotted cream, homemade jams, crustless sandwiches and buttery scones.
And now, at the risk of intruding upon all this Anglophile drooling, we’d be remiss not to mention the Brown’s not-so-English notables. Both Theodore and Franklin D Roosevelt honeymooned at the Brown’s (Theodore’s wedding license hangs in the foyer where it lists his occupation as “Ranchman”), Alexander Graham Bell carried in a suitcase of odd-looking equipment which he proceeded to use to make one the world’s first phone calls from his room at the Brown’s to the home of the hotel’s owners and Haile Selassie lived there when Mussolini invaded Ethiopia. Oh yes, and Stephen King has a thing about the Brown’s Kipling Suite.
But back to the Anglophile fantasy, Brown’s is not only one block off Bond Street and its swanky designer boutiques, but it’s within walking distance of Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, and, of course, Buckingham Palace.
Find out more about this hotel with the motto, “Leave it to me” here. Brown’s, 33 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London, 800.223.6800.