- Fiona Duncan, Hotel expert
Brown’s consists of eleven townhouses occupying two parallel streets off Piccadilly: Albemarle Street, home to the hotel's main entrance, and Dover Street, which also has an entrance, manned during the day but not 24 hours.
Style & character
Brown’s Hotel was founded 175 years ago by the former valet to Lord Byron. It was the place where Agatha Christie stayed, Alexander Graham Bell made the first ever telephone call, and Rudyard Kipling completed The Jungle Book. In 2005 it was bought by Rocco Forte and redecorated by his sister, Olga Polizzi, retaining the dark mahogany panelling and fittings on the ground floor, but adding modern furnishings and notable modern art: a collection of over 50 black and white fashion photographs by Terence Donovan in the Donovan Bar and works by Tracy Emin, John Rankin and other notable British artists in Hix Mayfair. The ground floor is full of chatter and buzz and remains highly popular for its afternoon teas.
Service & facilities
The doormen and reception staff were particularly friendly and helpful; a glitch occurred when a porter let himself into my room to collect something without checking that it was occupied, but apart from that, service was excellent. As well as Hix Mayfair and the Donovan Bar, the hotel has a spacious English tea room. It can transport guests in its own chauffeur driven Rolls-Royce.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
Stylish and sophisticated, with cream carpets, cosy sleigh beds, antique dressers, modern lighting and high windows. Rooms awaiting children are equipped with new toys, personalised presents, mini bathrobes and slippers, and gingerbread men with the child's name on, making Brown’s an excellent choice for families.
Your passport to a better trip
Food & drink
The restaurant is operated by Brown’s but overseen by Mark Hix, whose menu shows his abiding interest in ingredients with provenance, and included such wild food as sea purslane, ramsoms and alexanders. In the past, as is often the case with ‘chain’ celebrity restaurants, the food on our plates was rather more run of the mill than we had expected, though a more recent meal was spot on.
Value for money
Brown’s are adept at innovative packages, and these offer good value for money. They also offer interesting events: Saturday art tours of Mayfair, including lunch, are superb, as are Mark Hix's popular carving masterclasses.
Doubles from £420. Breakfast not included - priced from £26. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Yes; lifts and adapted bedrooms.
Yes. Brown’s grand interconnecting suites are ideal for families looking for luxury; rooms are vast and service – especially for children – is charmingly personalised. Expect sheets embroidered with princesses or pirates, and a play tent, toys and biscuits bearing the name of your child waiting in the room on arrival. All Rocco Forte hotels feature high-quality picture books, specially commissioned for each property, based on fictional characters who live in the hotel – Brown’s has Albemarle, the monkey (a shout-out to Rudyard Kipling, who wrote The Jungle Book in the hotel).
The concierges across the group have been briefed to focus on a repertoire of child-friendly activities, and our man at Brown’s did not disappoint: within seconds he had a car to take us to the Serpentine to feed the birds when he noticed two small children who needed fresh air before dinner, but he also offered an encyclopaedic knowledge of London’s best museums and events for children. The hotel can also organise child-friendly city tours, which are popular so should be booked ahead.
The hotel’s Hix restaurant offers a sophisticated and surprisingly reasonably priced menu for children.
It is difficult to think of a chain that is commissioning more charming bespoke entertainment for children.