Shop and stay: Jumeirah Carlton

By Jessica Brighty, TravelMail

Last updated at 17:11 31 March 2006


Nighty night in Knightsbridge

Finding it:

Totter down Sloane Street from Knightsbridge, keeping Harvey Nichols on your left, salivate at the immaculately dressed windows of Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Armani, Dior, Prada, Hermès, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, YSL, Gucci (need I go on?), then swivel a left - you're there.

The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is slap bang in the middle of the high-end shopping paradise of Knightsbridge, occupying a whole block overlooking the tall trees of Cadogan Gardens.

First impressions: As you sweep through the revolving doors into a marble-floored, wood-panelled reception, a lady harpist (in killer heels) serenades the mainly middle-aged and moneyed clientele.

A bustle of business types, American tourists, Middle Eastern families and frazzled shoppers lounge on the comfy armchairs of the Chinoiserie, sipping tea and nibbling pastries.

What about the rooms? All 220 rooms have been recently refurbished with every state-of-the-art comfort: climate control, high-speed internet access, giant flat-screen telly, Bose Wave radio and CD player. The remit of the refit was to allow more natural light into the hotel, and many rooms have lovely lofty views over Cadogan Gardens towards the Thames, or onto the hotel's private gardens. We could see the chimneys of the iconic Battersea Power Station from our third floor room.

Wow factor: Understated. The decor is verging on business bland, with ultra-tasteful tones of olive and sand, plenty of golden wood and beige walls hung with recessive watercolours depicting London scenes.

The rooms feel quite small, and somewhat over-furnished, but mirrors have been cleverly used to enhance the space and nobody could complain about the vast seven-foot-wide beds - postively dreamy.

Bathrooms are flashier, with pretty green glass tiles, modern fishbowl basins and ceiling-to-floor marble. Towels are heavy and soft, there's an anti-fog mirror and a regiment of generously-sized Bulgari Green Tea products.

Head to the in-house Peak Health Club for a truly impressive hotel health club experience. There's a sleek stainless steel pool, steam room, sauna and gym - all free to guests. Or treat yourself to a beauty treatment in the tiny but fabulous Peak Spa.

But the location is undoubtedly the biggest wow, especially if you're a shopper.

Best for: Designer label shoppers who want to overnight a mere staggering distance from Harrods, Harvey Nicks and any designer store you could name. After all, think of all the money you'll save on cabs...

Will the kids like it? Not especially, this is a grown-up hotel.


The Rib Room:
a London institution

Food and drink:

The legendary Rib Room & Oyster Bar has been serving up giant, pricey portions of fantastic British meat to greedy carnivores for 40 years.

The roast rib of Aberdeen Angus, served with feather-light Yorkshire pudding, sounds steep at £28 but it is truly out of this world - the meat is melting soft and flavoursome. The night we visited, none other than Nigella Lawson was tucking into this very same dish with her signature lip-licking gusto.

Starters are around £15 (we had a so-so prawn cocktail for £13 and six delicious Scottish angel oysters for £16), most mains are around £25-£30 and mainly traditional desserts seem over-priced at £8. The waiter will bring an elegant tower of truffles to your table with the coffee anyway, so save your money.

Fill up before you head out to the shops at the breakfast banquet, a giant table buffet groaning with dainty pastries, fresh and cooked fruit, cereals, cheese, cold meats, French yogurts, etcetera. They also do a demon fry-up.

What other guests said: 'We stay here every time we're in London. The staff know our names and nothing is too much trouble.' 'I love the pool and health suite - perfect for unwinding after a hard day's pavement-pounding.'

Official rating: Five-star

Value for money: Yes, if you take advantage of the hotel's frequent special offers, below.

Book it: The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is in Cadogan Place, London, SW1X 9PY. Prices start from £299 for a guest room per night based on two sharing and including full English breakfast and VAT. For further information and reservations call 020 7235 1234, visit or click here to book through This is Travel

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