The five-star Hotel Café Royal could not be better placed. Overlooking Regent Street, it’s a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus and walking distance from myriad London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and the London Eye.

But the hotel seems to be doing its best to stop its guests leaving, by putting on afternoon tea in a room once frequented by Oscar Wilde and having a lavish spa offering and an extensive range of treatments.

Simon Murfitt visited to see if he could prise himself out.


First impressions

The Grade II listed Hotel Café Royal dates back to 1865 and counts Princess Diana, Winston Churchill and David Bowie among its previous guests.

From the moment you approach its stunning façade, until you lay back on your giant bed, everything about the building is exquisite, and the staff did everything they could to make us feel welcome.

We arrived early and were offered champagne and water while we waited for our room – a nice touch. We were also surprised by the delivery of a bottle of champagne and some delightful macarons once we’d got to our room – an even nicer touch. 

The Resident: The grand junior suiteThe grand junior suite (Image: Hotel Cafe Royal)


Rooms at Café Royal range from the ‘deluxe guest room’ – complete with a king-sized bed and a marble bath – all the way up to a seemingly never-ending list of different suites, each slightly more luxurious than the last.

We stayed in a grand junior suite, with the emphasis on the ‘grand’ in this case. The room comes with all the mod cons you could ask for, including electric blinds that come down at the touch of a button and a TV in the bathroom mirror.

The marble bathroom suite alone was the size of a spacious London flat and the bath was the biggest I have ever seen in my life.

Staff are on hand to help with any request at moment’s notice, whether that’s to provide a turn down service or give your pillows a quick dash of lavender sleep spray to help you nod off.

Food and drink

The Resident: Breakfast delivered to the roomBreakfast delivered to the room (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

Café Royal has a range of restaurants and bars, from the Alex Dilling restaurant and the Brasserie Saint-Germain, to pastries from the three Michelin star Albert Adria – lauded as the best pastry chef in the world.  

For our stay we made the most of the in-room dining service to have our breakfast – a note perfect full English, boiled eggs and fruit – delivered straight to our suite.

We also enjoyed the afternoon tea offering in the Grill Room, which is also referred to as the Oscar Wilde Lounge as it is said to have been the famed writer's favourite room.

It has also hosted the likes of Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and Muhammad Ali, as well as being the place where David Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust.

And the beautiful, ornate setting more than matches its illustrious list of former patrons, and is made even more special by the talented pianist playing throughout.

The food isn’t bad either, the delicate cakes and sandwiches can be enjoyed alongside Champagne, as well as a wide selection of teas – I would recommend the English country garden and apricot flavours.


The Resident: The incredible pool at Akasha Holistic WellbeingThe incredible pool at Akasha Holistic Wellbeing (Image: Hotel Cafe Royal)

In the depths of Hotel Café Royal you can find the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing spa, which features an idyllic pool and offers a wide range of massages and other spa treatments.

On the morning of my departure I experienced the Ultimate Back Reviver, a treatment that involved exfoliating my skin as well as a relaxing massage, meaning I left Café Royal with a particularly Zen state of mind.  

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