Hailed as the tallest hotel in London in the swinging sixties after its opening in 1961, The Carlton Tower Hotel has now been given a new lease of life under the auspices of the Jumeirah hotel group. The imposing Portland stone architecture of Henry End, which we admire from afar walking along in the gardens on Cadogan Square, now has a matching interior of eloquence. The all-new Jumeirah Carlton Tower infuses a new, lighter sense of grandeur to the hotel experience to enhance the guest's journey from the moment of arrival. Inspired by the clean architectural lines of a classical colonnade, the re-design creates a refined, bright, welcoming and sophisticated aesthetic throughout.
Greeted with a bespoke drink and personalised leather key fobs, reflecting a very personal approach to meeting their guests, the charming and stylish reception staff take us to our suite where this personalised touch is found again in the monogram slippers, the game of scrabble spelling the word welcome and our names with edible letters and a framed photo of us with the most beautiful welcome letter by the new general manager Aaron Kaupp. The newly refurbished establishment is somehow unrecognisable from its past life and has become an oasis of calm and style, beautifully designed by 1508 London.
As we watch the world go by from our 12th-floor suite and admire London from above, taking in views from Knightsbridge's fashionable streets, spanning from Harrods to the Shard and the London Eye, we are ready to experience a culinary delight at Al Mare restaurant. We have a welcome cocktail aptly named the Garibaldi and made with Select bitter aperitivo, orange, mandarin and pomegranate and the innovative spray of arancia amara essence from Podere Santa Bianca, which is the name of the Italian brand producing the edible substances which are replacing all condiment, a distinctive approach which again sets this hotel aside from others, not to mention the personalised ice cubes with our initials.
The hotel's main restaurant menu reflects its name, but although it has a seafood influence, the selection is vast and caters to all tastes. The Carlton Tower Jumeirah and Al Mare's Executive Chef is Italian native Marco Calenzo. Marco has gained experience from across the globe for his career, bringing his inimitable passion to the kitchens of a plethora of esteemed establishments. Marco's professional journey has taken him to the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts in Beijing and Hawaii, Les Creations de Narisawa in Tokyo, and Zuma in London, where he was Executive Chef. Marco and his team operate in an open space kitchen visible to all guests, and they produced a most memorable combination of culinary delights for us, light in character, simple but effective in design.
If you don't opt for a game of tennis in Cadogan Square Gardens or a jog along its peaceful paths, a Sunday morning spin in the hotel's all-new health club might be an excellent way to complement any lavish culinary experience or even a swim in the hotel's famous naturally lit pool. Our version of exercise this morning was to simply stroll around the gardens and enjoy the crisp sunshine before heading back to the room to have breakfast on a beautiful white linen cloth table. With its in-house designed beds and stylish interiors, it's very hard to leave this beautiful and very relaxing room, so a late check out is granted, and we take full advantage of that. Playing with styles with the Dyson hairdryer, one of the many personal luxuries available in the rooms, almost makes me forget that it is time to go and, on that note, we wonder, who knew that a visit to London could be so relaxing?