Review: Brown’s Hotel London

Brown's Hotel London
An elegant façade welcomes guests to Brown's Hotel London, in the heart of Mayfair.

This five-star hotel in the heart of Mayfair has a rich history and a sumptuous design.

Why stay here?

History buffs will likely enjoy discovering the many stories of this iconic Rocco Forte hotel that opened in 1837, making it the oldest in London. Its rich history includes being the site of the first telephone call made in London by the inventor, Alexander Graham Bell; and for hosting a number of eminent figures over the decades, from Theodore Roosevelt to Mark Twain, Agatha Christie and Rudyard Kipling — the latter of which is said to have written The Jungle Book during one of his many stays, and who the hotel’s largest accommodation is named for.

Brown’s Hotel’s location on Albermarle Street, in the upmarket neighbourhood of Mayfair, means many of the city’s most coveted attractions are within walking distance, or a short tube or cab ride away. If shopping is on your list, you can’t get much closer to Mayfair’s high-end boutiques than at Brown’s. Viewable from my room is a Victoria Beckham boutique, while Thom Browne, Acne Studios, Chanel, Valentino, and Stella McCartney are all within a block of the hotel. It’s also a short walk to New Bond Street, paved with the boutiques of virtually any luxury brand you can think of — from Louis Vuitton to Burberry, to Brunello Cucinelli, IWC Schaffhausen, and LOEWE.

Design and sustainability notes

Stepping into the lobby area sets the scene, with a refined yet modern feel. A conservatory-style skylight is a sign of the space’s former life as a private courtyard, and a botanical theme is continued with floral wall motifs and patterned furnishings, complemented by a centrepiece chandelier that hangs over mosaic-tiled flooring.

There is a distinctive sense of place evident in the common guest spaces. The Donovan Bar was reopened in November 2022, following a refurbishment by Inge Moore and Rocco Forte Hotels Director of Design, Olga Polizzi. The luxurious design centres on a large private collection of works by the mid-century English fashion photographer, Sir Terence Donovan.

The Dover Suite and Sir Paul Smith Suite have both been recently launched, with the latter designed in conjunction with the famed British designer in his eclectic, colourful style.

In the room

With a refined yet welcoming British-Italian aesthetic, rooms and suites — including the Deluxe Rooms (38–43m2), which I stayed in — have been designed with individual elements by Olga Polizzi, Director of Design.

My room featured a palette of mustard and dark blue, with luxurious Rivolta Carmignani linens covering the generous, king-sized bed. A chaise lounge near the window is a peaceful spot to recline with a book, with some of the in-room offerings including Poems of London, edited by Christopher Reid, and a hefty biography of the Queen Mother by William Shawcross.

Miniatures of Irene Forte products, each with a delicious scent, are provided in the bathroom, which has a bathtub, shower, and a fluffy robe and slippers.

For those who like their caffeine first thing, there’s an illy pod-based coffee machine in the room. In this quintessentially British hotel, I was somewhat surprised to be searching (to no avail) for tea-making facilities in my room, however, a tray is available on request.


The richly decorated dining room, Charlie’s, is where à la carte breakfast is served alongside lunch and dinner. The food is overseen by acclaimed chef Adam Byatt to showcase seasonal British flavours using local produce. On Sundays, delve into a classic roast for lunch, and stay for live jazz music from 7:00pm.

Across the hallway, the Drawing Room is the hotel’s elegant tearoom, serving a classic tiered afternoon tea in a warm environment.

Diners can choose from a selection of finger sandwiches, which are accompanied by scones with homemade strawberry jam and fresh Cornish clotted cream, cakes and pastries, and a pot of tea or glass of champagne. I enjoyed the special bee-themed cake, which was served with local honey, drizzled from the pot. There’s also a daily ‘trolley cake’ — the one served during my seating was an afternoon tea loaf cake, said to be a favourite of King Charles III.

Spa and wellness

A spa and 24-hour gym are available on the lower ground level of the hotel. Facials and body treatments are with Irene Forte Skincare products, which are made using ingredients grown at Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort in Sicily. There are also several massages and beauty services available, such as manicures and pedicures. In the gym, guests can book personal training or private yoga sessions.

The special touches

While I didn’t make use of it during my stay, keen runners may appreciate a jogging map that routes two-, four-, and 10-kilometre tracks around the neighbouring streets and parks, including Hyde Park.

Room rates

Deluxe rooms are priced from £980 (about AUD$1,952) per night.

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