The Cumberland returned to its old name in May after spending several years as the Hard Rock Hotel London. But, despite the name change, the musical associations of the 900-room hotel, which was Jimi Hendrix’s last official residence and home to the original Hard Rock Cafe, still remain. Indeed, everything from the hotel logo (a ‘C’ set against the shape of a guitar pick) to the “It’s Oh So Quiet” do-not-disturb sign (a nod to a song by Betty Hutton and later Björk).
The hotel is owned by the Claremont Hotel Group, said to be London’s largest owner-operator by room number. The group was formerly known as GLH Hotels and before that Guoman.
I arrived at the hotel around 8pm – too early for check-in, but so I could drop off my luggage and go about my day without taking it everywhere with me. The concierge staff were very accommodating, providing me with a ticket so that I could reclaim my stored luggage on my return.
That evening, reunited with my luggage, I went to check-in. I was in a star suite and, once the reception was established, was immediately led to a second ‘hidden’ and more intimate reception behind closed doors and invited to take a seat with a glass of champagne. This private ‘backstage’ lounge was an unexpected perk, comes with unlimited refreshments and snacks and is available to guests staying in executive rooms and suites.
I was shown to my Star Suite (room 8005) by Angelica, who kindly helped with my luggage. I’d normally be happy to carry it myself but, with an unexpected glass of champagne, some papers and my room key in hand, it suddenly became a bit more challenging.
The suite spans 45 square meters and comes with an ultra-comfortable king size Hypnos bed. It can actually sleep up to 4 people as the lounge sofa doubles as a sofa bed.
It must be more than 30 years – maybe around 40 – since I’ve actually played a vinyl record, but there’s a Crosley turntable in the room and a box full of vinyl, with everything from Blairs Park Life to Black Stone Cherries The Royal live at the Albert Hall. As well as a Fender guitar and Marshall amplifier.
“Welcome, Paul!” Written on a mirror that doubles as a height chart, there are signs from Snoop-Dog (6’4″) to Ariana Grande (5’0″). At 6’0″, I share the same height as George Michael and Stevie Wonder. The walls are also adorned with pictures of Amy Winehouse and Brian May.
Room amenities include bathrobes and slippers, a complimentary minibar that is restocked three times a day, a Nespresso machine, a separate lounge area and all the other mod cons you might expect.
Drawing behind the curtain, I discovered that the London Eye has an impressive view.
The bathroom is airy and light, with floor-to-ceiling tiles and a separate bath and rainfall shower.
Essential Elements toiletries are provided – a Gilchrist & Soames brand containing high-grade essential oils, with no artificial fragrances or dyes, creating products that nourish the body while awakening the senses.
One of the things that strikes you about the hotel upon arrival is the huge foyer area. During my visit, its center was occupied by a London cab, providing guests with a fun photo opportunity; But a large area to the left is taken up by Sound Cafe, billed as a ‘3-in-one venue’ as it functions as a sports bar, live music venue and a cafe serving food and drinks.
Dining is very informal – I took a spot at the bar where it was a bit too bright to take photos. Pictured is salt and pepper calamari, deep fried and served with a chive and garlic mayonnaise.
My main was a prime New York strip steak, topped with an herbed butter and spicy shrimp, and served with triple-cooked chips, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, along with a Caesar side salad. I asked for the steak ‘very rare’ and it was cooked perfectly.
Down in the basement is ‘The Green Room’ where a buffet breakfast is served every morning and there is also an omelette station if you want something made to order.
Conveniently located at a crossroads in the heart of London’s bustling West End, The Cumberland is moments away from the city’s iconic Marble Arch, often regarded as London’s gateway to culture, commerce and entertainment. Just yards from Marble Arch Underground station on the Central Line and a leisurely stroll from both Hyde Park and the world-famous shopping of Oxford Street (only 5 minutes from Selfridges), the hotel is superbly located.
Other nice touches
Cumberland looked after me very well. In my room there was a bottle of fizz, a plate of fresh fruit and some complimentary chocolates.
Double and twin rooms start from £199 per night.
Star suites start from £455 per night.
The best bit
The exclusivity of check-in was very unexpected. It made a wonderful first impression, and the backstage lounge served as a peaceful oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the main foyer.
Seamlessly combining modern sophistication with classic elegance, my stay at The Cumberland was thoroughly enjoyable. The hotel’s stylish decor, spacious star suites and attentive service create a welcoming atmosphere for guests in the heart of the city.
Dislcosure: Our stay was sponsored by Cumberland.
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