More about Berkeley Hotel London
Pret-a-Portea - afternoon tea with a difference
My sister was visiting us from Sydney so a fancy afternoon tea was in order. We wanted something different - none of those traditional sandwiches and scones - so we headed to the Caramel Room at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge to sample their 'Pret-a-Portea'.
From the website:
"Pret-a-Portea is a new concept in afternoon tea. It has been designed to add a creative twist to the classic elements of the traditional English afternoon tea, with the cakes and pastries inspired by the latest fashion season's catwalk designs for the style conscious and with savouries in miniature mouthfuls for the figure conscious." It was a pretty special indulgence. Instead of the usual finger-sandwiches, the savoury treats were très gourmet - things like lightly-seared tuna, goats cheese balls, salmon sashimi, mixed seafood, artichoke & asparagus and so on, all really tasty.
The sweet treats looked amazing and for the most part tasted just as good. They were all created based on the latest catwalk looks - from boots to handbags to coats. Check out my photo of the menu for full descriptions of all the cakes. My favourite was the Alexander McQueen Stuart tartan chocolate cake.
They kept replenishing the food - bringing out the savoury and sweet plates at least three times each, which gave us all the chance to try the same things, so no need to squabble over the Valentino leopard chestnut crème handbag or the Yves Saint Laurent frilly passion fruit meringue! And no need for dinner that night either.
The Wilton Arms
This is a lovely pub in a road full of mews houses in Belgravia...nearest landmark is the Berkeley Hotel. Real friendly, good food, and very quiet considering its location!
Boxwood Cafe - fine dining in Knightsbridge
The Boxwood Cafe was our first Gordon Ramsay 'related' dining experience in London. It is owned by Gordon Ramsay Holdings, though Gordo doesn't actually cook there himself.
The restaurant is located in The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. This is a modern, stylish space, with spot lighting and tasteful green accented décor. I wasn't such a fan of the black & white photography that adorned the walls - well, the photos themselves were very good, but the unusual subjects of the pics didn't do it for me.
Service was mostly very professional, but in a relaxed style - apparently the Boxwood "has perfected" "the informal style" of service. I was a little annoyed with the announcement upon our arrival that our table had to be returned in 2 hours - although I expected this to be the case (as we were dining early). I find it a bit crass to mention it at this time, perhaps they should have done so the previous day when they rang to confirm our booking. And why is it that when you are dining in a limited time slot that they take so long to come and take your order!?
We were dining on a special deal of 3 courses from a set menu for £25, which is very good value when you see the A la carte prices. To start, we both had the Smoked haddock with potato and endive salad, soft boiled quails egg and wholegrain mustard dressing. This dish was nicely presented, though was over-dressed - the mustard dressing almost disguising the lovely smoky Haddock.
For main course I had the Pan fried fillet of salmon with crushed charlotte potato, crab and basil. This dish was disappointing. The salmon was too salty for my taste and although the potatoes tasted fine, I don't recall seeing or tasting any crab... Alex had the Roasted breast of guinea fowl with pancetta, herb crusted tomatoes and caper butter sauce. This was a better dish, with nice presentation and for the most part good flavours, though he wasn't too keen on the herb crusted tomatoes - he claimed the herbs tasted like 'freshly cut lawn', which I don't think was supposed to be a compliment.
So far, the highlight of the meal for me had been the bottle of Sancerre we ordered, that was perfectly chilled and delicious. But then came dessert. I wasn't keen on any of the dessert choices on the set menu, so asked to see the full dessert menu which we both ordered from (this added an additional £3 to our menu cost).
I had the Warm chocolate fondant with salt caramel and iced almond milk which was pretty great actually. The very chocolaty fondant had a perfectly oozy centre with both chocolate and salt caramel, and the iced almond milk aka almond flavoured ice cream was good too.
Alex had the Valrhona hot chocolate fondue with marshmallows, biscotti and fruit, which he thoroughly enjoyed. A small pot of melted chocolate arrived with the aforementioned ingredients that you could dip and then devour. He was particularly impressed by the marshmallows which weren't your average kind. He also enjoyed a glass of Austrian dessert wine which was the highlight of his evening.
We liked the atmosphere of the Boxwood Cafe, and the service was friendly, but overall the food didn't meet expectations.
Myself and a friend stopped at the Berkeley for 2 nights as a birthday treat, leaving our partners at home to look after the kids so we could have a weekend of luxury and shopping!
From the moment we stepped out of the taxi cab it was a fantastic weekend. the concierge helped us into the hotel with our bags and the staff were most helpful.
Our room on the 2nd floor although slightly on the small side was nicely decorated, overlooking Hyde Park. The beds were so comfortable and everything was clean and fresh.
The marble bathroom was fantastic with a huge bath and power shower over.
The only slight gripe I might have would be the fact that the windows in our room didn't open but as i say it is only a minor gripe.
Wonderful choice==great base to explore London
Prices are quite high in London so you might as well have a great room. The Berkeley was recommended to us and what a treat. Lovely terrace, marble bath with deep tub and towel warmers==great bed with duvet and down pillows. A few minutes from shopping at Harrods and a beautiful walk through the park to Buckingham Palace. Staff went beyond the call getting us theatre tickets and dinner reservations. They even had my raincoat transported across town when I left it at a restaurant. Wonderful few days.
Impeccable rooms and service
Everything about our stay was wonderful. When my room wasn't ready after arriving from a flight from the US, the staff invited me to the spa for a shower and relaxation. When it still wasn't ready after that (although not quite yet officially check-in time), they upgraded my husband and I to a junior suite. The room was romantic and covered with red velvet--sounds like a bordello, but really it was elegant, cozy, and spacious. Great balcony. Beautiful bathroom, and even when the shower had some leaking problems the hotel staff quickly jumped on the problem to resolve it. In fact, the service was top notch and wonderfully friendly. And the hotel's location just off Knightsbridge and right in between the Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge tube stops, and a block from Hyde Park, made it just perfect. Tea in the Caramel Room (a 'fashionista tea') was great fun, too. Can't wait to return.
We stayed at the Berkeley at the end of August. It was a wonderful stay. We had our twin 10 year old boys with us and the hotel was very child friendly. The rooms were nicely appointed, and well maintained with very good amenities. The pool area was nice and they had floats for the kids. There were many families staying there. What really impressed us was the service. They could not do enough for us. Any minor problems we had were quickly remedied. Whatever we needed was prompltly brought to us. All of the staff members were pleasant and helpful. We would stay again on our next trip!
Not a 5* hotel
Bit mixed on this review as some elements are excellent ... all staff are great, and the restaurant Petrus is wonderful. One gripe about the service is that the Blue Bar on a Friday night gets so busy that residents cant pop in there for a pre-dinner drink.
It is the rooms that let this hotel down, badly. I had a junior suite at £500 a night. The decor is nasty, think 1980s Laura Ashley .. but taste is subjective so I can let that slide. However the elements of disrepair, threadbare carpets, dirty bathroom, stained chairs etc are inexcusable in a 5* hotel in London.
And the addition of a 5% service charge to the bill .. service for what exactly ?? A hotel rents out rooms .. therefore a charge of £25 for a receptionist to check me in, a doorman to say "hello" to me, and a rude bouncer to tell me that I cant get a drink in the Blue Bar seems insane.
And as for the £6 room service toast (two slices) for breakfast ..... and they forgot the butter !!!
Girls night in package
Three of us were booked on this package from Saturday to Sunday. It was excellent, and not to be faulted. From the doormen to the beauty therapists. A truly professional group of people. The goodies supplied as part of the package were excellent, and the room service flawless.
A definite "must do again" in the diary......
With my weekend cut short, I had to return to London for a sunday night.
Despite living i west London, I had some meetings in the west end on monday, and rather than rummage around an empty fridge at home thought I'd treat myself to night out with some friends and an overnight stay in a decent hotel with a pool.
Arriving at the hotel I was met by a ruthlessly efficient doorman and my car valet parked.
Check in was straightforward, the receptionist instantly recognised my name and booking, despite never having stayed before.
I was upgraded to a junior suite on the second floor. A good old fashioned room with plenty of space, a very large and "old fashioned" bathroom. Like the room however, it was very comfortably up to date where it needed to be.
Used the pool. It's not very big, and not suitable for laps. The steam / sauna was better than many.
Dinner at Boxwood Cafe was very enjoyable, despite us being very late. Dinner for 3 with an aperitif and two bottles of wine (no desserts) was around £300. Not bad for central London, but still makes me pine for SE Asia.
One of the most comfortable beds on the planet. Room service breakfast was exemplary. My order of toast, tea, juice, fresh fruit and yoghurt was just under £40. £4 of which was a yogurt!! Ouch. But the fruit platter(£10 I discovered, very ouch) was as good as the best in asia - and much nearer to home.
Check out felt as close to enjoying spending such a mad amount of money on one night in a hotel as I was ever going to get, so no real grudges there.
A quick espresso in the cafe/restaurant was, like everything else in the hotel about as good as it gets. But at price. £7 for a espresso (although a double). Not exactly Starbucks.
My car had been parked on a resident bay opposite the hotel, and no fuss with the doorman. I guess they keep a sharp eye out for the traffic wardens who plague the area.
I travel and stay in alot of 5 star hotels. This one has a style all of it's own. I left feeling a tiny bit proud to be british. And quite a bit poorer!
A real treat though.
Foodies on tour!
My partner and I will be heading to London for a long weekend shortly, and a key element of such breaks for us is always eating.
Can anyone recommend some good restaurants for us? Ideally not Italian, Indian or Chinese, as they're the choices where we live (Greek would be good....)
We'll be staying in Chelsea, so somewhere near there would be handy, but "have Tube ticket, will travel".
Thanks in anticipation!
Re: Foodies on tour!
There are planty of good ones in London and close to your area though for a real good one always worth to take a tube even if you're very hungry...
You can see some good restaurant at my Hampstead Page (its a neighborhood in London) and in my London page.
Enjoy your trip !
Re: Foodies on tour!
What's your budget? There's an inexhaustible supply of good, unusual restaurants!! Do check my london page for a Scandinavian and a Polish/Mexican :-)
Try having a browse around on www.squaremeal.co.uk. That gives lots of great reviews, you can check by area, and they also tell you the latest 'hot' places. If I were you I'd try Gordon Ramsey's new place at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. It's called The Boxwood Cafe and has got great reviews so far.
Errrm Greek ... well, there's Jimmy's in Soho (Frith Street) which is cheap n cheerful! Or, for the best Greek cooking EVER check out The Real Greek - also on my restaurant page - but it's in Hoxton, other side of town.
Let me know where you end up!
Re: Re: Foodies on tour!
The best Greek restaurant in town is Kalamaras in Inverness Mews, W2 (Bayswater tube).
Lots of Lebanese places too, mostly around Edgware Road but consider Byblos in Kensington High Street near the Commonwealth Institute.