Whenever I’m in London, I stay at the Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments. It’s so comfortable and accommodating, I feel as if I’m staying in my own home away from home. The employees here play huge role in creating this welcome. The Athenaeum staff is like a family. Many of them have been working at the hotel for over a decade and I was lucky enough to be in town when Alex, the head concierge, was celebrating his fortieth year at the Athenaeum. He and the other concierges. Donald and Duncan, have always been a great help to me and remember exactly what my preferences are. But if you’re new to the Athenaeum and not quite familiar with the team here, then you’ll want to be sure to drop by the general manager’s cocktail party on Wednesday evenings. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the hotel and fun to meet its other guests, many of whom are in the entertainment industry! If you can’t make it to the Wednesday party, don’t worry. They have afternoon champagne receptions in the hotel lobby that are also a lot of fun.
Each of the Athenaeum’s 123 bedrooms have a lovely theme, decorated with designer fabrics. Some are quite traditional and have a definite British style. Others are much more sleek and contemporary. All the rooms have high-speed internet access, plasma screen televisions with ETV, and CD players.
Since I was traveling with my family, I decided to stay in one of the Athenaeum’s townhouse apartments. These flats have recently been refurbished in different styles, and my personal favorite was apartment twenty-two which has a definite “Austin Powers” feel to it. They also have a “kid friendly” apartment that features a video game as a coffee table. These apartments feature all the luxurious amenities of the regular rooms but have the advantage of more space and privacy, with a separate entrance. All feature a sitting room and kitchenette, DVD players with a DVD menu, 24 hour room service and twice daily maid service. Many have fold out couches and laundry machines. Video security on each apartment allows you to screen your deliveries and guests. Very popular with families and visiting rock stars!
In the afternoon, the “Windsor Lounge” is the spot to get a traditional English high tea with sandwiches and scones, and for dinner you have to try “Bulloch’s”. The food here is traditionally British with a Mediterranean influence. The draw at Bulloch’s isn’t just the food…it’s also the chairs. Many celebrities who have eaten at the restaurant have agreed to have a commemorative plaque placed on their chair in exchange for the hotel making a charity (“chair”-i-ty) donation. It’s so much fun to look at whose chair you’ve been seated in! (I got to sit in Russell Crowe’s seat!)
After dinner I relaxed in the Whiskey Bar. It’s the perfect meeting place before or after the theater, or for whiskey aficionados to appreciate the range of over 200 single malts available. They also feature a wide variety of wines by the glass and other drinks as well, with complimentary hor d’oeuvres early in the evening.
Other amenities at the Athenaeum include a full service spa, hair salon, fitness room Jacuzzi spa, sauna and steam room. The hotel is located in London’s Mayfair district, which is right in the heart of the city. You’re just minutes away from the theater district, Buckingham Palace and fabulous shopping at Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
You know, now that I think about it, the Athenaeum is not just a home away from home… it’s better!