Located at 116 Picadilly, in London’s posh Mayfair neighborhood, the Athenaeum Hotel has become a classic venue to see and be seen while visiting the British capital. At first sight, the vertical gardens that cover its facade captivate and invite visitors and guest to enter the magnificent building. The award-winning hotel sits opposite tranquil Green Park and is one of London’s few family-run five-star hotels.
A few years ago, the hotel underwent a multi-million dollar renovation to reinvent itself and brought onboard Michelin-starred chefs The Galvin Brothers to run the culinary aspects of this London classic. One of their most successful initiatives has been keeping alive the emblematic tradition of High English tea, with a twist. Afternoon tea is a centuries-old custom that was started by Anna Maria Russel, Duchess of Bedford, as a way to pamper her noble friends—mostly women—with refined desserts and aromatic teas from the Eastern reaches of the British Empire. It usually consists of miniature cakes decorated with sugar flowers, orange scones, and delicious fruit tarts.
But the Athenaeum, always ready to explore new and evocative ideas, now offers an exclusive service reserved for gentlemen. Dubbed Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, this concept tries to rescue the history of the English private clubs, replacing the delicate champagne glasses that are served alongside the tea, with excellent malt whiskeys, and the delicate English pastries for hearty snacks. Available daily from noon to 7 pm, this offer is characterized by iconic dishes from English cuisine, featuring boar sausages, meat pies and bacon scones with cheddar cheese—ideal for tea lovers who do not have a particular appetite for sweets.
Intimate and refined, the Athenaeum is classic, modern and sophisticated with vintage accents defining the elegant decor.
Some of the most popular entries in the hotel’s menu include a selection of sandwiches to accompany a Goosnargh duck Scotch egg, Gentleman’s relish & toast, sausage roll and Lancashire bomb rarebit & English crumpet followed by cheese scones and Eccles cakes.
Intimate and refined, the Athenaeum is classic, modern and sophisticated with vintage accents defining the elegant decor. Although it has 164 rooms and 18 apartments, the interiors masterfully balance the comfort and privacy of a home with all the amenities of a luxury hotel. As is expected from an establishment of this prestige, the hotel has an excellent boutique spa that is perfect to indulge after a long flight, for a girl’s weekend or to relax before Ladies Day at Ascot or Henley Regatta.
This London landmark is known worldwide for its excellent and relaxed service, eclectic and luxurious environments and outstanding views of Green Park. A few steps from Buckingham Palace, museums and the best luxury boutiques in the city, the hotel’s location is truly privileged. From Trafalgar Square to Covent Garden, everything is within easy reach.
Be sure to visit its whisky bar, equipped with London’s most extensive collection of malts. More than 300 different labels make up this selection, which holds brands and special editions collected from all over the world. Indulge in a 12-year-old Double Wood Balvenie, or discover the sophistication Jack Daniels can offer with its Gentleman Jack Tennessee whiskey.
Next time you visit London, make some time to visit the Athenaeum Hotel for tea or for an extended stay. ■