Built in 1837, Brown’s Hotel was London’s first hotel. While it’s a top choice for visiting royalty and distinguished guests, this five-star property also has a reputation for being one of London’s best family hotels.
I’ve met friends here for afternoon tea and had drinks at the bar here more times than I can count (we used to live in London) but never, until recently, a chance to be a guest in residence. I was delighted to book in for three busy nights.
A Fabulous Mayfair Location
Brown’s Hotel is located in Mayfair, one of my absolute favorite London neighborhoods. It’s distinguished and elegant while also conveniently located near both Piccadilly Circus and Green Park tube stations. Guests may walk to Hyde Park, the theatre district, and more shopping that one can reasonably master in a holiday. If you are short on time in London, this is the place to stay because it’s so central.
On a sunny July evening, we took the Heathrow Express in from the airport to Paddington Station and then hopped in a taxi for about a 10 minute to Brown’s Hotel.
As one might expect from a hotel of this caliber, check-in was a breeze. We arrived to Brown’s Hotel later than anticipated and were running late to meet friends for dinner. A bellman literally took our luggage from the taxi as we sped away. Later, during a proper check-in, it was sent to our room.
My daughter went bananas for the detailed Harry Potter-themed amenity that waited in our room in addition to a nice fruit bowl. I’d corresponded with the hotel about our itinerary and in the process mentioned that we were on a trip to see all things Harry Potter (and we did… highly recommend). They obviously paid attention and the pastry chef stepped up to the challenge.
Our Deluxe Room
I booked myself into an Executive Room on a Virtuoso rate that included an upgrade if available, which we did receive. Rooms in London, like many European cities tend to run on the small side but this is plenty of room for two. The split-king is an arrangement I prefer actually as it tempers motion and provides more space, important when jet lag is a risk. And, it was very comfortable with luxury linens. The room was also very quiet and we managed to totally avoid jet lag (though are quite practiced).
I love this room’s cushioned bench that ran across the length of the windows. The contemporary decor suits the historic nature of the building. Between the closet and chests of drawers we unpacked with space to spare. The bathroom is pretty, too, with lots of white marble, a shower/tub combo, plush towels and organic Rocco Forte amenities. Sprinkled around the room are various books about London, history and decor to flip through. I also appreciate that there is a local mobile phone for guests to use while out and about.
Rest assured that the food at Brown’s Hotel is truly excellent. Truly. Breakfast especially is beautifully presented. We were so rushed each day to leave the hotel to meet friends and sightsee that we enjoyed breakfast via room service exclusively. What a treat it was, especially as it was included in our rate. A full English is way more than we could eat and a meal I look forward to when in a London luxury hotel.
HIX is the hotel’s signature restaurant and definitely a place to have dinner. My daughter opted for fish and chips while I ordered the grilled Dover sole, which they expertly deboned at the table, paired with some lovely champagne. It’s a great way to spend a 75 GBP dining credit (also included with my rate) and as indicated in my welcome letter, my champagne was on the house for doing so.
When in residence you should also make time to have a drink at fashionable The Donovan Bar, something I’ve enjoyed many times prior. It’s a tribute to British photographer Terence Donovan and has 50 of his prints lining the walls.
I wish we would have had time for afternoon tea but alas we did not. However, if you are going to ask me where the best afternoon teas in London are, Brown’s is definitely toward the top of the list. I’m certainly not the only person to say this. It’s lovely.
And, if you’d like to have a picnic in nearby Hyde Park (when visiting London in good weather you definitely should), the Brown’s Hotel can organize this for you.
Families R Forte
Kids at Rocco Forte Hotels have a lot to look forward to. The Families R Forte program at Brown’s Hotel has a long list of amenities for kids which is partially why this is one of London’s best family hotels.
Rest assured there are cribs, dishes, high chairs, anti-slip bath mats, bibs and kids’ menus but this London family hotel takes it a step further. Kids may have teddy bear turndown, a VIP card to check out books from a kids’ library, game consoles, spa treatments and much more fun.
Good to Know
Brown’s Hotel has a full-service spa that, at the time of my visit, Virtuoso guests receive a discount in. I did not have time to check it out but am certain the treatments are excellent.
In my opinion, Brown’s Hotel is a quintessentially English, luxury hotel that gives you a proper sense of place. There are 115 rooms and 33 suites, but it does have the cozy feel of a boutique hotel.
If you like staying in historic properties, by all means choose Brown’s Hotel when in London. Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call in Europe from here. Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker were regular visitors. Theodore Roosevelt stayed here. The list goes on.
Brown’s Hotel Reservations
I also find that Brown’s Hotel can be a better value than other five-star hotels in the area.
I was so pleased by our rate and that it included amenities, especially during peak summer season. I can add Virtuoso amenities to your stay that include:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom, in restauarant
- 75 GBP Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, not valid on retail items)
- VIP Welcome from General Manager
- Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
*The desktop version of Virtuoso.com is where you’ll search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version from a mobile device, after clicking on a Virtuoso hotel link, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” You can also use my form to request rates.
My agency is also a member of Sir Rocco’s Knights, the exclusive preferred partner program for Rocco Forte Hotels so that I can compare offerings from both programs should you like to book.
Feel free to ask me questions about our stay or send me your dates and I’ll see what’s on offer.
We will certainly return. And, I’ll take more photos next time! The exterior, rooms, afternoon tea, picnic, and The Donovan Bar photos are courtesy of Brown’s Hotel.
Have you stayed at Brown’s Hotel?