Travel Reports

Bed Matters - The Athenaeum, London

Bed Matters - Athenaeum, London

Where? The Athenaeum on Piccadilly, opposite Green Park and ideally placed between the bars of Soho and the shops of Knightsbridge.

Isn’t The Athenaeum a Gentlemen’s Club? There is a club called The Athenaeum, but the hotel is different and far less fusty. Check out the Austin Power’s Apartment 22; it’s groovy, baby.

Apartment, you say? As well as rooms in the main hotel, The Athenaeum has taken over some Edwardian townhouses on Down Street and built 33 apartments, each one unique and perfect for a weekend of solitude or seduction.

But it’s not a classic hotel. There are more classically designed rooms. However, The Athenaeum has been brilliantly refurbished by Martin Hulbert with quirky décor that ranges from a button-mosaic backdrop in the reception area to shelves filled with odd art – like a Jeff Koon-esque dog in a perspex box and a shelf full of toy Routemaster buses.

What’s special? If that design isn’t special enough for you, pop into the Garden Room with its secret sunken garden, silk drapes and tiny alcoves for romantic. The Pink Tea comes served on the same porcelain they use in Buckingham Palace, and you can see and smell the loose leaves before you choose.

Pink Tea? It’s in aid of breast cancer research, with a percentage going to the Breast Cancer Campaign. It comes complete with pink Champagne, pink salmon sandwiches and scones oozing with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam – pink, of course.

OK, enough pink! What else can we do? Nip around the back to the village-like atmosphere of Shepherd’s Market, where you’ll find exquisite bistros and tavernas that wouldn’t look out of place in Santorini or Sorrento. If only we could get the sun to shine…

The Athenaeum, 116 Piccadilly, London W1J, 020 7499 3464,

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