London has always felt to me like a home away from home. I like to mix it up when I stay there, depending on my mood. When I feel like a small, very private hotel with intimate spaces and incomparable service, it’s 41.
At first, 41 looks like a typical old-world London club. You take the elevator to the fifth floor, over which the entire 30-room hotel is spread, and come to a lounge with all the requisite elements—the button-tufted leather club chairs, the wood-paneled library, the fireplace—that give an immediate sense of place. But then you wander about and raise an eyebrow at an original Matisse (the hotel has quite a collection of original art), the candles floating in your personal bathtub and the riot of black-and-white patterns brought together in an eclectic but chic way.
But what I really love about this place is its staff-to-guest ratio of two to one. The staff here act more like personal attendants, and they stand ready to serve—a classically English trait. It is not unusual to have a member of staff prepare a child-friendly picnic prior to a family outing, or serve Champagne just because, or draw a romantic bath at turndown—all without being asked. The service so intuitive that it truly makes the entire experience.
A unique element at 41 is its nightly spread of nibbles and drinks, and its invitation to “plunder the pantry” anytime the desire arises. You can enjoy it by the fire in the lounge, or in the privacy of your suite. It’s a fun bonus that contributes to the “house party” atmosphere.
The 41 is one of several Red Carnation Hotels, whose portfolio also includes The Chesterfield in Palm Beach, beloved by so many (including me). For more about 41 and other RCH hotels, pick up the December issue of Palm Beach Illustrated.
A chic black-and-white suite under the skylights
The lounge, proper yet worldly, and ever-so-private
The Union Jack flies proudly outside 41, which is named for its address: 41 Buckingham Palace Road