BY IANTHE BUTT
In its nineteenth-century heyday, London’s Cadogan Hotel was a hub for socialites and artists: Oscar Wilde lived upstairs in Room 118 until his infamous arrest in 1895. When Belmond purchased the Chelsea property in 2014, the aim was to restore the classic glitz while infusing the property with contemporary appeal. Five years and $48 million later, the Belmond Cadogan Hotel, opening this month, pulls off that timeless-yet-modern vibe. The hotel is housed in four adjoining Queen Anne-style town houses – the rusty-red and caramel brickwork, carvings of winged creatures, and dramatic turrets make it feel as though Harry Potter might take up residence here. Inside, common areas show off mosaic marble floors, original stained-glass windows, and contemporary art hung on wood-paneled walls. British chef Adam Handling oversees his eponymous main dining room, as well as the chandelier-filled tea lounge, where tea cabinets rotate to reveal Champagne-stocked shelves after dark.
A grand staircase leads to the 54 elegant guest rooms, whose decor channels a cabinet of curiosities, with touches such as cross-cut timber side tables, blue morpho butterflies, and coral-patterned carpets. Wilde’s former room is now the Royal Suite, actress (and Edward VII mistress) Lillie Langtry’s 1890s abode is Room 106, and a Penthouse Suite features a fireplace and a stunning dining space beneath a copper-plated dome. The hotel’s library is stocked with titles by past and present Chelsea residents, there’s an intimate spa, and guests have access to the tennis courts and grounds at the adjacent Cadogan Place Gardens. The surroundings make a stay here feel less like a night at a swanky hotel and more like a visit to your own history-steeped London pied-à-terre.