The Beaumont Hotel, in the Mayfair area of London east of Hyde Park, is the recipient of my eighth annual “Hotel of the Year” designation. The brand new, super stylish, and cunningly creative property joins past winners such as Hotel de Paris in Monaco; San Diego’s Grand Del Mar; Kahler International in Rochester, Minnesota; and Disney’s “Dream” cruise ship. The Beaumont bested serious competition this year from dazzling digs in Ireland, Kauai, Florida, Mexico, and more.
“Are you penning a novel?” the white-jacketed waiter asked me as I scribbled down notes during dinner at “The Colony Club,” The Beaumont’s roaring 20’s-style restaurant. F. Scott Fitzgerald would have felt right at home in the States-style surrounds: monochromatic murals of American icons the Kentucky Derby, Palm Beach Polo Club, and Wooden Boat Races on Lake Tahoe, plus framed candid cartoons of the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Clark Gable and Vincent Price hung framed on cherry wood paneling. The Colony menu, in addition to Caviar Beaumont, Yorkshire Pudding, Calf’s Liver with Bacon, Welsh Rarebit, Bubble and Squeak, and seasonal game, featured an “American Sandwiches” section offering gourmet versions of Pastrami Reubens, New York Hot Dogs and Grilled Cheese with Wallies. Pen still in my hand, the waiter presented me with a card to fill out in order to create my own “Colony Club Bespoke Sundae,” with options including hazelnut ice cream, peanut brittle, crushed meringue, and bourbon Anglaise.
Though in Britain, the entire hotel, through astonishingly consistent decorative styling, takes guests back in time to the glamour of an Art Deco America we, before The Beaumont, could only dream of experiencing. “Powder Room,” for instance, denotes the ladies’ loo. Further, the parquet floors, black and white vintage photographs, subjects of the books in each guest room, and every faucet and fixture make the hotel a period piece – like a modern movie set subtly starring you. The secret to The Beaumont’s immersion experience is a fictional character – “Jimmy Beaumont,” created by the hotel’s founders, culinary royalty Jeremy King and Chris Corbin – who, I’m told, prefer “celebrated” in favor of “celebrity” – to present to the staff and guests as a touchstone in order to channel the vibe. “Beaumont,” as the back story goes, bolted a gig managing New York’s classic Carlyle Hotel in 1926 to beat Prohibition to open the boozier The Beaumont in London, drawing on his American experience.
The heated tile bathroom floors, beveled glass doors, lighted mirrors, and vintage-style furniture are some of the in-room luxuries. It is evident no expense has been spared to craft this fun, elegant, intriguing experience. With luck you’ll be given a lift in The Beaumont’s chauffer-driven, vintage 1972 midnight blue Daimler DS 420 purposely parked out front – it served as limousine to the late Queen Mother.
Visit www.TheBeaumont.com and see my “Hotel of the Year.”
Michigan-based travel writer Michael Patrick Shiels may be contacted at InviteYourself@aol.com or via www.TravelTattler.com His talk show may be heard weekday mornings in Lansing on 92.1 FM and seen on Fox 47 TV.