The Capital Hotel London is a 5-star townhouse hotel in London's Knightsbridge area, just a half block from Harrods and a 60-second walk from the Knightsbridge Underground. The hotel opened in 1971 is still owned and operated by father-daughter team of David and Kate Levin. The hotel offers the discretion and service of a boutique hotel, but all the amenities of a major luxury hotel. It is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Great Hotels of the World.
This was my second stay at The Capital Hotel and I was hoping my fabulous memories from several years ago, when I stayed in a junior suite, were still accurate. The great experience started even before my arrival in London. I emailed the concierge and he arranged for a car to pick me up, along with fellow writers Shannon Hurst Lane (traveling with her 16-year-old daughter) and Denise Dube, all of us flying into London for a much-anticipated British vacation. After arriving at Heathrow Airport and meeting my fellow travelers, our driver was waiting just outside customs and quickly whisked us into the city, a ride of about 40 minutes that was made even more fun watching the sheer pleasure on a 16-year-old's face as she watched the sights of London pass by our windows.
We arrived a little earlier than normal check-in time, so only one of our rooms was ready. Despite that, the check-in process was pleasant and easy. The young lady at the desk got us checked in quickly and the bell staff took all of our bags up to the one room that was ready. They assured me they would move my bags to my room (just next door) when it was ready. There was a soft knock on the door a few minutes later and the bellman showed up again with a pot of hot Assam tea and cookies (biscuits, sorry). It was so very British and I could feel myself relaxing. This is the way life should be enjoyed.
Time for Lunch
We hadn't eaten lunch, so while waiting on my room to be ready, we decided to walk next door to the Levin's other hotel (The Capital Townhouse) and have lunch at Le Metro Bar & Brasserie. Shannon and I had both eaten there in the past and remembered it as being good, simple food. We weren't disappointed. This basement-level bistro is open early morning until late evening, serving basic good food. For lunch, they offer a weekday special, served noon to 4 p.m., where you can get two courses for £15 (about $22.75) or three courses for £20 (about $30.25). In the London dining scene, this is a great deal. I started off with a bowl of homemade tomato soup with crusty roll and followed that up with a bowl of homemade risotto. I added a glass of Levin Sauvignon Blanc from France's Loire Valley for £6.25 ($9.45). It was a perfect lunch for a cold, blustery day in London.
By the time we were finished with our lunch, there were a few snowflakes falling outside and my room was ready. We made our way back upstairs for an afternoon siesta.
I walked into my room – the hotel staff had put my suitcase in the room while we were at lunch – and felt immediately at home. I had a classic room, decorated in traditional British fabrics and shades of blue. The room included a beautiful antique roll-top desk and bureau. The window looked out on such a typical London scene that it made me tingle – I could see the store windows of Harrods right from my window. The hotel is on Basil Street, which is a relatively quiet side street, so I didn't have any issues with noise. In fact, once I changed clothes and pulled on my soft robe, I felt completely peaceful and comfortable. I had a couple of hours before I was to meet my fellow writers, so I decided to try out the beautiful bathtub and the bed.
The bathroom is gorgeous, all marble, with a great bathtub. There are luxurious Kiehl's toiletries in nice size bottles, so it made for a lovely bubble bath. The beds in the rooms are delightful, with handmade, hand-stitched mattresses and the most luxurious Egyptian cotton linens. I closed my curtains, pulled the covers up and slept a delightful couple of hours. Of course, I was there in the winter and didn't need it, but the rooms at The Capital each have air conditioning, which is not always the case in these historic old buildings in central London. So, whether you're there summer or winter, you'll be able to control the climate in your own room.
The hotel room also has a nice flat-screen TV with satellite service, mini bar, full-size safe that was big enough for my laptop. There is free WiFi in each hotel room, which is a huge plus when traveling overseas. In addition to regular maid service each morning, there is evening turn-down service, which is one of my favorite amenities at any hotel.
Services and Amenities
The Capital Hotel epitomizes good service. If you need anything, you simply have to ask. I ended each evening with a wonderful pot of tea delivered to my room. There's nothing quite so special as sipping a nice cup of tea, with milk of course, and munching on a little sweet biscuit while watching the snow fall outside my window.
That sense of service is everywhere, from the maids to the managers. We were curious about shows, so we discussed what we'd like to see with the concierge. He was able to check out everything that was available, find out if there was anything in our budget, and (had there been) would have even been able to book the tickets for us.
The hotel's bar, The Capital Bar, is a classic and intimate English bar, but not stuffy. It was a fun place to spend some time chatting over a glass of champagne. The bar is also known for its great whiskey selection and I felt a bit remiss by not trying the whiskey, but I just can't say no to a good glass of bubbly.
A recent addition to The Capital Hotel is Outlaw's at The Capital. The restaurant opened in October 2012 by celebrity British chef Nathan Outlaw. Although I didn't have a chance to eat there during my stay, it gets rave reviews for its simple, sustainable British seafood, including sole and sea bass. They serve a 3-course dinner meal with a glass of wine for £55 (about $83) and are also open for lunch during the week.
One of the afternoons we were there, Shannon and I decided we couldn't leave London without enjoying English Afternoon Tea, served daily in the Sitting Room from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The menu is created by Head Chef Pete Biggs and includes an assortment of sandwiches, pastries, hot scones with clotted cream and their own jams. The Afternoon Tea is £29.50 per person (about $45) and you can add a glass of Jacquart Champagne for an extra £13. Of course, we had to add the champagne. It was such a perfect couple of hours spent over lovely little sandwiches and scones that I seriously crave. There is something just RIGHT about having afternoon tea. It makes the day more relaxed and puts life in perspective.
I also enjoyed a beautiful breakfast spread while staying at The Capital. It is served in the restaurant each morning and starts with a buffet-style presentation of assorted crusty rolls, flaky pastries (including delicious chocolate croissants), fruits and English yogurt that puts our own yogurt to shame. I splurged and ordered the full English breakfast, which also included a hot plate of eggs, ham, mincemeat, baked tomato and baked mushroom. It was a great start to the day and a perfect send-off as we left London and The Capital.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at The Capital Hotel and was glad that my memories of the previous visit were absolutely accurate. Not only is the hotel itself luxurious yet comfortable and everyone is inviting and friendly, it is in a perfect location. You can walk to the Knightsbridge Underground in less than a minute. Harrods is at the end of the block while Harvey Nichols and shops on Sloane Street are just a couple of minutes away. Hyde Park and the Royal Gardens at Kensington are within walking distance and even though it was cool and rainy, we walked across Green Park to Buckingham Palace on Monday morning to see the changing of the guard. I loved that the hotel had an umbrella in the room that I could use during my stay and that whenever I came in and out the staff remembered my name and was always ready with a smile. This is definitely the ideal spot for a London visit, for business or pleasure.
- 49 rooms and suites
- Separate tub/shower
- Free Wireless Internet
- Flat screen TV
- Desk in room
- Bedside outlets
- Luxurious bed linens
- Iron and ironing board
- Makeup mirror
- Thick Robe
- In-room safe
- 24-hour room service
- The Capital Bar
- Outlaw's at The Capital restaurant, serving lunch and dinner
- Breakfast available
- Afternoon tea available in the Sitting Room