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Short stay: The Cavendish London, Mayfair, London, UK

In the true spirit of The Cavendish London you could order The Duchess from The Petrichor Bar: a cocktail of Galliano, Cointreau, orange juice and double cream. Then toast Rosa Lewis, known as the Duchess of Jermyn Street, who worked her way up from humble origins to purchase The Cavendish London in 1902. Back then Rosa cooked for Lord Northcliffe, General Kitchener and the Duke of Windsor. Her remarkable rise and rumours of an affair with King Edward Vll inspired the 1970s BBC series The Duchess of Duke Street. Damaged by the blitz in the Second World War, The Cavendish London was demolished and rebuilt in the 1960s. For the ultimate London views book the Royal Suite on the 14th floor. The welcome High ceilinged with its marble and gleaming surfaces, reception features evocative black-and-white photographs of London scenes. Nostalgic pictures of royalty recall the Cavendish’s heritage. Reception is fast and friendly, even allowing for COVID-19 formalities. The room There is always a sense of exhilaration looking out over London’s skyline. From our Executive King on the 12th floor, the view takes in the Post Office Tower, St Paul’s dome, a clutch of skyscrapers, the Shard and the London Eye. Around a king-size bed and strategically positioned chaise-longe, the air-conditioned room provides contemporary luxuries: a HD TV, Bose Wave Music Station, coffee-maker, fridge,  Bose Ipad docking station. And, as the Cavendish sits on Jermyn Street, an iron and ironing board to make sure that you are looking your best. Splashes of gold fabric on the soft-furnishings bring subtle colour to a quiet decor of beiges, browns and greys. The bathroom The Villeroy and Boch bathroom has a separate power shower and large bath. Toiletries are courtesy of the White Company. A fluffy white bath robe and white slippers await you. Facilities The Petrichor Restaurant is named after the pleasant smell that often accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. Appropriately the two AA Rosette restaurant focuses on seasonal and local produce. Remembering that Rosa Lewis cooked for King Edward Vll at Buckingham Palace, the menu is displayed on the wall, chef Glen Padiyar proudly presents quintessential British dishes with tasteful European influences. A smoked salmon starter arrives with quail’s eggs and Irish soda bread, capers reminding us that cuisine also flourishes beyond the white cliffs of Dover. Similarly, the tradition of a sirloin steak – and remember it got its name when King James l allegedly knighted a particularly succulent loin – is modernised with caramelised shallots, creamed celeriac, parsnip crisps and a red wine jus. Equally regal is a selection of desserts that includes hot chocolate fondant, berry pavlova, a fruit plate and a selection of British cheese. Prunes marinated in Earl Grey Tea is an inspired pairing for the Lemon Posset. Location The location is at the heart of stylish London: Mayfair, Piccadilly and St James’ are all a stroll away. Obviously, The Cavendish London is popular with those on business too. As Green Park and Piccadilly tube stations are almost equidistant the hotel is very accessible. Though if you are arriving into one of London’s railway stations, there is far less traffic to delay a taxi than pre-pandemic. Other nice touches Head Concierge, Richard Jenkins, nearing two decades of service is the London expert, intimately knowing Jermyn Street and beyond. The Cavendish London concierge team, proudly wearing the Golden Keys of the Clefs d’Or access scarce tickets for the Royal Academy, the V & A and other exhibitions. Dinner reservations are a speciality too. Served in the Petrichor Restaurant, afternoon tea with champagne, honours the achievements of Rosa Lewis. After finger sandwiches, a melon sorbet with passion fruit, scones and clotted cream, guests finish with the famed Cavendish pastries: chocolate eclairs, coffee gateau opera, lemon meringue tart, strawberry powder, lemon balm Victoria sponge, chocolate and raspberry tart, and wild strawberry cheesecake. The Queen of Cooks, a title conferred on Rosa Lewis by the great chef Auguste Escoffier, would have approved. Another nice touch is that check-out time is mid-day from Monday to Saturday and 1pm on a Sunday. The cost An Executive King Room, including breakfast, begins from £305. The best bit In the centre of prestigious Mayfair, The Cavendish London is well-placed for the sights of Pall Mall, Buckingham Palace and St James’ Park. Fortnum & Mason and the Ritz are neighbours. There’s far more to Jermyn Street than made-to-measure tailoring of shirts and suits. Have a hat made to measure at Bates or a bike at Bespoke Cycling. Search the galleries for Old Masters renaissance portraits or contemporary sculptures. Though openings and hours, in the autumn of 2020, are currently variable for the emporia of Jermyn Street. Even Tramp nightclub has to close at 10pm, a time when previously clubbers were only just finishing lunch. This most exclusive of streets dates back to 1664 when Charles ll authorised Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans, to develop the area. Now it is the place to buy boating blazers, bow ties, custom made shoes, decadent dressing gowns, innovative cuff-links, pocket squares and polo attire. There’s even a theatre, one of London’s smallest with just 70 seats. The final verdict Although the Cavendish celebrates the Rosa Lewis heritage, the hotel aspires to 21st century luxurious comfort. At the very epicentre of fashionable London, the discretely stylish Cavendish Hotel, with the top-notch Petrichor Restaurant, provides guests with memorable service whether their stay is for business or leisure. Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by The Cavendish London.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. One pleasure that I’m not going to give up on this year is doing some Christmas shopping in London.

    It can be a gruelling experience but I usually book a hotel so that I can recharge. Afternoon tea would set me up nicely for another bout of shopping.

    1. I went to London last weekend to do some shopping and it was very quiet. The train was half empty and no crowds around. Although there were people around in the shops it wasn’t as frantic as it usually is leading up to Christmas.

  2. I’m revealing my age here. I can remember watching The Duchess of Duke Street
    on BBC. The heroine was quite a feisty lady. To do what she did in those days was a great achievement.

  3. Even though you’ve got so many attractions and shops on your doorstep I can’t see many people leaving the hotel once they had booked into the Royal Suite. I could see myself taking lunch out on the terrace, then afternoon tea, then a cocktail. It would be hard to drag yourself away from that view.

  4. Stayed at the Cavendish a few years back and loved everything about it! Great location! So looking forward to getting back there!

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