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A slice of Italian luxury in Britain: Contained in the opulent Baglioni Hotel London by Hyde Park

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I arrived on the opulent Baglioni hotel on my folding bicycle. Within the rain. The hotel sits directly opposite a multi-use path through Hyde Park, so I got a very good view of its Italianate brick exterior as I pedalled through Kensington’s classiest puddles. 

I folded the bike, sheathed it in a made-for-the-task bag and carried the (barely dripping) package into the plush lobby.

An attentive doorman took the bag and hung it from a luggage trolley so I could check in with out a dead weight over my shoulder. Moist, muddy bike? No sweat.

Similarly, the receptionist was sweetness and lightweight. Yes, I do know that is their job, and also you’d expect nothing less from the well-trained staff of a five-star hotel. Still, there is a world of difference between real warmth and a now-smile smile.

I used to be checked right into a deluxe room on the third floor. Deluxe is the usual room within the Baglioni hotel. The bike was delivered soon after I settled in, its arrival announced with a surprisingly loud electronic chime.

Carlton Reid spent an evening at the opulent Baglioni Hotel London, which sits opposite town’s Hyde Park

The hotel's website describes the property - operated by the Italian Baglioni Hotels brand - as 'your Italian home in London'. Above is the hotel's Royal Suite

The hotel’s website describes the property – operated by the Italian Baglioni Hotels brand – as ‘your Italian home in London’. Above is the hotel’s Royal Suite 

Carlton in the Baglioni lobby with his folding bicycle

Carlton within the Baglioni lobby along with his folding bicycle 

Five minutes later, there was one other buzz on the door — a maid delivering a plate of Baglioni biscuits. My form of hotel.

I had previously stayed on the Baglioni hotel in Rome. This one is smaller – ‘your Italian home in London’, states the hotel website.

Unlike the Roman flagship, this wasn’t a royal residence in a former life, so it is not clad throughout with Sienna marble. Nevertheless, I think that staff training is similar throughout the group since the two hotels share the identical ethos of friendly charm.

Baglioni is a small chain and — very like the stylish hotels within the family-owned Rocco Forte group — the firm specialises in historic properties.

The hotel in Rome and this one each have a Brunello restaurant, and I reserved an early dinner. (Brunello is Italian for ‘brown,’ one in every of Baglioni’s signature colors.)

Carlton found that the hotel's receptionist was 'sweetness and light'. He writes: 'There's a world of difference between genuine warmth and a now-smile smile'

Carlton found that the hotel’s receptionist was ‘sweetness and lightweight’. He writes: ‘There is a world of difference between real warmth and a now-smile smile’

Early the following day I used to be to travel by train to Milan (where, incidentally, a recent Baglioni hotel has just opened), and so for my most important course, I selected a saffron-dashed Milanese risotto in a creamy parmesan sauce. Easy, but delicious.

A lot of the menu is classically Italian, although for an American couple with young children on a close-by table, it clearly wasn’t an issue for the kitchen to rustle up burgers, fries, and — in dainty pots — some salsa di pomodoro, or tomato ketchup to you and I.

The double bed in my deluxe room was supremely comfortable, which ought to be no surprise because five-star hotels expend loads of effort within the dreamtime department.

Carlton enjoyed an early dinner in the Brunello restaurant, above, where most of the menu is classically Italian

Carlton enjoyed an early dinner within the Brunello restaurant, above, where a lot of the menu is classically Italian

'Bedrooms and bathrooms feature black marble floors with Moroccan brass sinks,' Carlton reveals

‘Bedrooms and bathrooms feature black marble floors with Moroccan brass sinks,’ Carlton reveals 

A designer recently told me that the boss of the upscale 4 Seasons hotel group gave him an inventory of his 15 hospitality priorities so as of importance. Topping the list, ahead of exemplary service, was the supply of a supremely comfortable bed.

A lobby’s ‘wow’ factor was third. The fourth was the view from a room.

And that is where my room lacked a little bit. The fittings were deluxe, however the views weren’t. My window missed bland brick partitions. Pricier suites have views over to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, and while sweet vistas won’t be a priority for everyone, they’re for me.

When cycle touring I often travel with out a tent, preferring stars above and luscious landscapes at dawn.

Carlton had previously stayed at the brand's flagship hotel in Rome, the Baglioni Hotel Regina, pictured above

Carlton had previously stayed on the brand’s flagship hotel in Rome, the Baglioni Hotel Regina, pictured above 

Pricier suites at the Baglioni Hotel London, such as the Presidential Suite (above), offer views over to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park

Pricier suites on the Baglioni Hotel London, akin to the Presidential Suite (above), offer views over to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park 

The Baglioni Hotel London is housed in a three-part terrace that was built in the 1870s. Above is the bathroom in a Deluxe Suite

The Baglioni Hotel London is housed in a three-part terrace that was in-built the 1870s. Above is the toilet in a Deluxe Suite

The bar in the Kensington Suite at the Baglioni Hotel London. 'Mental note: next time, specify a room with a view,' Carlton writes

The bar within the Kensington Suite on the Baglioni Hotel London. ‘Mental note: next time, specify a room with a view,’ Carlton writes

I closed the curtains. Mental note: next time, specify a room with a view. (And the Baglioni does have them, but, after all, they’re costlier.)

The fifteenth priority from the 4 Seasons boss is what the hotel looks like from the skin, and here the Baglioni is on firmer ground. It is a three-part terrace in-built the 1870s and converted into the luxurious De Vere hotel within the late Nineties when 4 terracotta winged lions by the sculptor Alfred Drury were added to corners.

Inside, the decor now majors on dark brown and gold. Bedrooms and bathrooms feature black marble floors with Moroccan brass sinks.

All rooms have Illy espresso coffee machines, which was perfect for my early start because, with the primary Eurostar of the day to catch, I could not make breakfast, sadly.

I walked my bike to the multi-use path and pushed off through the mist still enveloping Hyde Park, plane and horse chestnut trees whistling within the wind.

TRAVEL FACTS

Baglioni Hotel London is at 60 Hyde Park Gate in South Kensington, near the Royal Albert Hall, the National History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is a temporary walk to the shops of Kensington’s High Street and Church Street, or in the opposite direction, Knightsbridge’s famed department shops Harvey Nichols and Harrods.

Baglioni Hotels is a bunch founded in Tuscany 49 years ago by Roberto Polito and film producer Carlo Ponti, husband of Sophia Loren. There are classy black-and-white photos of Loren dotted discreetly across the hotel.

Polito’s son Guido has been Baglioni’s CEO since 2011, although the chain was acquired last yr by Mexico’s Palace Resorts, owned by the Chapur family.

In addition to this 67-room hotel in London, there are Baglioni properties in Rome, Venice, the Maldives, and Sardinia, lots of them in buildings of historical, cultural, or artistic merit.

A deluxe room for 2 in Baglioni Hotel London costs about £425 per night. The three-bedroom Royal suite — with a bijou balcony looking over to Hyde Park — costs a little bit under £6,000 per night. The signature suites include butler service. In a nod to the hotel’s origins, one in every of the suites is generally known as the De Vere suite.

PROS: Beautiful rooms throughout. The staff are splendidly attentive and friendly. The Royal suite has a balcony and the perfect views (squint and you will feel you possibly can see Kensington Palace).

CONS: A video on the hotel’s website lingers on a balconied breakfast table overlooking Hyde Park, but that is from the expensive Royal suite, so unless you are ponying up £6,000, you will not get that view.

Rating out of 5: *****

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