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The Wellesley Hotel is a new edition to the most prestigious luxury hotels in London. The 36-room boutique hotel was opened in December 2012 and is located at 11 Knightsbridge, which was previously the original entrance to Hyde Park Corner underground until the 1930’s, and then later to the renowned Pizza on the Park jazz club.
The opulent interior has been restored in keeping with its 1920’s history, and has been given a contemporary feel from award-winning designers Fox Linton Associates. Italian hand-cut Carrara marble runs through the main floor and links the Cigar Lounge and Terrace, The Crystal Bar, The Oval Restaurant and the Jazz Room.
The Wellesley’s owners have been careful to maintain its musical legacy, and have kept an intimate Jazz Room at the heart of the hotel, as a place where guests can enjoy afternoon tea, evening cocktails, and listen to established and up-and-coming jazz acts.
As a nod to Pizza on the Park, The Oval Restaurant serves refined Italian cuisine — including pizza — alongside more extravagant delicacies such as Beluga caviar, served at £450 per 50gr. Seating only 28, guests are ensured a personal dining experience.
For those staying at the hotel overnight, The Wellesley has a selection of suites equipped with the latest technology, such as Samsung tablets for 24-hour butler service, and a mobile phone issued upon arrival, with matching printed business cards. For guests staying in London on business, The Wellesley Penthouse occupies the entire sixth and seventh floors and has its own boardroom, as well as views overlooking Hyde Park, for £11,500 per night.
Perhaps the crowning luxury is the Rolls Royce parked outside with the unmistakable “wellsly” personalized registration plate, available to take guests anywhere they request within a 1.5 mile radius of the hotel. However, if you would prefer to stay within the comfort of the hotel for the evening, some real pleasures can be found within The Crystal Bar and the Cigar Lounge.
The Crystal Bar is an extraordinary room furnished with authentic 1920’s furniture and showcasing some of the most rare whiskey and Cognac available. In keeping with the 1920’s theme, the cocktail menu includes some “forgotten” mixes that illegally flourished during the U.S. Prohibition, as well as a selection of classics.
Cognac connoisseurs are spoiled for choice, with a wide range of rare and vintage bottles on offer, including one of the oldest cognacs in London — a £4,000 per glass bottle of Cognac 1770, pre-dating the French Revolution.
The cigar terraces, extending from the Cigar Lounge and The Crystal Bar, offer the perfect environment to relax and enjoy sampling the Wellesley’s cigar collection. Situated on the ground floor, either side of the front entrance, these marble floored terraces offer a private, secluded environment with overhead heaters, under-floor heaters, and even an open fire.
Time and care has been given to sourcing the rare vintage cigars that make up the Wellesley’s impressive collection, stored in the UK’s largest bespoke humidor. Customers can browse from standard classics at one end of the room and, crossing the marbled map of Cuba on the floor, step over to the rare and vintage selections.
The collection includes a rare box of Davidoff Dom Perignon cigars, selling for £800 per stick. These original Cuban cigars were made in the El Laguito factory in Havana and were the result of a Davidoff and Cubatabaco collaboration in the 1970’s, a cigar now dwindling in supply.
However, most notable are the 2005 Cohiba Behike 40th Anniversary cigars, named after the witch doctor of the Taino Tribe, and made in commemoration of the Cohiba brand. Just 100 humidors, each containing 40 cigars, were originally made with the boxes being decorated in the most beautiful materials; shark skin, black ebony, mother of pearl, ox bone, sycamore and cedar.
The Wellesley collection includes three boxes of these sought after cigars, priced at £3,000 per stick. This is an opportunity to enjoy an extremely rare experience, arguably the Holy Grail for cigar connoisseurs, with each individual cigar being numbered from the 4,000 that were originally made. The Wellesley, with their impeccable taste for cognac and cigars, is a rare experience indeed.
Visit www.thewellesley.co.uk for more information.
Photographs: Cigar Humidor (top left), Crystal Bar (top right), Cigar Lounge (bottom left), Cigar Terrace (bottom right).