Travel: A Vision of London at The Marylebone Hotel

At a chic rooftop suite at London’s Marylebone Hotel, a private terrace is de rigueur.

In the early 1980s, when everything that was cool in pop music was coming out of Britain (again), I, like many a Yankee, had a vision of London as a hotbed of new romantics and general gorgeousness. This was the era of Duran Duran and Lady Di and “An American Werewolf in London” and a prevailing sentiment was that the apotheosis of glamour was really nowhere to be found stateside, but rather was firmly anchored to the banks of the River Thames. That was the London of my dreams, anyway, so whenever the fates decide to throw me at the British capital for a spell, I am subconsciously seeking to recapture some of that old perceived notion of swish Britannia and, of course, rarely finding it. At The Marylebone, a Doyle Collection hotel, I found it.

And I found it on foot, having zipped into London’s Paddington Station on the Heathrow Express and then hoofing it along George Street. At one point, crossing elegant Bryanston Square, I glanced down Great Cumberland Place and spotted the Marble Arch, at the edge of Hyde Park. Next up, Marylebone, an old guard West End neighborhood (in the City of Westminster) that is nonetheless teeming with activity. In the mid-17th century, this was a village next to London with a rough-and-tumble reputation but you’d never guess it now: It’s a London of unapologetic elegance and, dare I say it, glamour. It’s something you sense as you navigate the streets around Marylebone, with their posh pubs and high-end boutiques, culminating in Marylebone High Street and this chic hotel that is, after all, only a five-minute walk from the department stores and boutiques of Oxford Street, Bond Street and Mayfair.

The stylish tone is set by the hotel’s chic lobby and cocktail bar, characterized by its series of inviting nooks and crannies and playful, elegant terrace. Then there is 108 Brasserie, set on the cobbles of Marylebone Lane and marked out by its striking awnings and brick red frontage—its outside tables, greenery and elegant lantern lighting recalling a Parisian café. Inside, the curved 108 Bar, with its red-studded seating provides a lively forum for locals and guests alike, while the raised dining area is an elegant yet relaxed environment for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

For the health-conscious, guests enjoy exclusive access to Third Space at The Marylebone, which features a gym, wellness area, spa treatments and an 18-meter swimming pool. Many of the luxurious guest rooms feature gracious nods to 1920s chicness, and then there are the statement suites—including the acclaimed rooftop terrace suites that rival any in London for the wow factor, and one of which (I’m told) once welcomed Kendall Jenner and a “friend.” But then isn’t gossip one of the key ingredients of metropolitan glam? I certainly think so, and I think back to my jolly good breakfast at the 108, with my toasted banana bread with ricotta and caramelized pecans, my heritage scrambled eggs and healthy fruity smoothie; for it wasn’t just the food that was delicious, it was also the atmosphere. Sure, there were the requisite upscale American tourists clinging to their International New York Times, which for me will only ever be a pale shadow of the old Trib, and there was jetlagged me, but there were also locals on the go tucking into their breakfasts before taking on London; swarthy businessmen of exotic provenance (Oman? Morocco?) doing the same; waiters with the kind of faultless timing that you would expect to find in such a suitably sumptuous Londonian lair as this. And there was the lovely dinner and gin cocktails the night before, too—but that’s another story. 

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