The Connaught, the heart and soul of Mayfair
Every time in London, as an oriental guest , I have always beens fascinated with English culture. As a Chinese traveller to London , I endulge in British lifestyle; and as an international traveler, I am always fascinated by legendary English butler service . My recent stay at The Connaught fulfilled all my fantasies and more !
The Connaught, the legendary Mayfair hotel built in 1897, has recently undergone an extensive restoration and refurbishment program. The detailed work includes a magnificent re-design of the guest rooms, suites and public spaces. In this “one of the world’s most distinguished addresses “, a delightful Japanese influenced garden is the first thing that saluted the eye. Walking into the lobby of The Connaught, with the delightful bespoke Cire Trudon candle scent (one of the oldest luxury candle makers in the world, established 1643 in Paris), I am standing at the heart of British heritage architecture – the classic dark wood stairs , the exquisite chandelier and of course the antiques and works of art which had previously been in the hotel and now have been meticulously restored.
In the living room of my suite , I was surprised to see the Chinoiserie cabinets have custom stands built to hold as the mini bars. And also the light fixtures provide guests with a unique experience – with ‘scenes; from ‘meeting to dating ‘. One of my favourites in the suite was the Smart TV , not so much about the TV programming but about the music selection. As a female traveler , I always prefer nice relax surrounding background music.
Between the classic English feeling instilled by the interior design and relaxing music, I found the perfect blend between modernity and timeless aesthetics with a 1950s sense of elegance and solidity. The suite bathroom has independent two by one meter showers (‘For Him and for Her) with the finest organic bathroom amenities by Bamford. During my stay, I also took pleasure in just sitting on sumptuous window couch to gaze at the buzzing Mayfair.
With the evening coming, the Connaught bar is getting busy with local patrons and hotel guests too. I had small chat with the famous mixologist—Agostino, I mentioned I would like to try a Champagne cocktail – and he mixed a wonderful champagne cocktail with fresh mint herbs and lemon. It was the perfect start of my evening… Unfortunately I forgot the name of this cocktail , but I am sure in the Connaught bar everytime will always provide anyone with their favourite surprise!
The Aman Spa at the Connaught is the first such collaboration between Aman Resorts with a hotel property which is not included in their chain. The SPA is located in the new west wing of hotel and features five treatment rooms with an Asian-inspired decor, a heated 60 meter pool and a fitness studio. After a swim and a 10 minutes ritual in the steam room, I tried the Oriental oil massage, with a perfectly trained therapist (Jason) In the candle-lit treatment room, I felt heavenly relaxed. The experience was absolutely sensational !
Relaxed and refreshed at the same time, I felt hungry and this lead me to experience the new Saturday brunch menu in the Hélène Darroze restaurant ! The two Michelin starred Chef prepared an innovative Saturday brunch featuring some of her favorite American recipes. The menu includes classics such as mac & cheese, hot dogs, and brownies. All dishes have been created with a signature Darroze twist such as the addition of Périgord black truffle and Comté cheese to the mac & cheese, and the usages of smoked sausage from Morteau for The Connaught hot dog. Guest can freely opt for a selection of starters from flavorful cured meats and country-style pates to Scottish smoked salmon served with organic scrambled eggs and Darroze sourced the finest seasonal cheeses. The main course had all the American brunch classics .
And the last and most tempting part was the dessert selection. Try the warm waffles which are prepares table-side on an antique French waffle iron or the lime cheesecake with vanilla poached pineapple ! There is, of course, a selection of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, all made freshly that morning . My favourite was the lime cheesecake, with a taste ideally balanced between creamy and sweetness.
With this sweet taste of the lime cheesecake , my short London trip came to and end with a promiss to myself to return soon…
My thanks to Mark Rhodes-Jones, Agostino, and Christina Norton !
Amanda Zhang in London