London's New Five-star Hotel Feels More Like a Private Club – and It's Steps Away From Buckingham Palace
Against all odds, London's hospitality scene has emerged from the other side of several lockdowns and near-openings with a crop of buzzy new luxury hotels. From Covent Garden's bold U.S. import NoMad to Marylebone's Nobu, LXR's new Biltmore Mayfair, and Leicester Square's The Londoner. Quietly joining that line-up is The Guardsman, an intimate and sophisticated stay that feels more like a private member's club than a central London hotel.
Like The Londoner, The Guardsman is one of several new openings from Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the world's largest independent hotel brand. It reopened this summer after a brief soft launch in October 2020 before another London lockdown. Tucked away on a quiet street near St. James' Park, the five-star property is so discreet that guests often don't realize it's there.
That member's club feel is exactly what designer Richard Tomlin at London's Tonik Associates was going for. Inside, the team turned the purpose-built property into an elegant and distinctly British hideaway, dotted with Herringbone parquet floors, vintage furniture, and Tom Dixon lighting throughout.
But outside The Guardsman's guests will find yet another draw for the hotel: It's next to the capital's top landmarks — Buckingham Palace is just a six-minute stroll away. Tate Britain and the Houses of Parliament are within walking distance, too.
There are nods to The Guardsman's royal and political neighbors throughout the property, from jewel-toned fabrics to regal paintings. Design fans can settle down for a nightcap in the Drawing Room on a replica of Jackie Kennedy's deep-buttoned sofa from the White House, while history buffs can find carefully curated books like "Women of Westminster: The MPs who Changed Politics" ($34, amazon.com) in the hotel's cozy library.
Even the six bespoke residences found on the top three floors of the property are named after famous female politicians. Most notably is the Astor penthouse suite, named after British American politician Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit in parliament. The sprawling residence takes up the entire top floor and boasts a wraparound terrace with views of Buckingham Gate. It comes with three bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen (which can be stocked before arrival), a wine fridge, and a Japanese soaking bath to unwind in with toiletries from Noble Isle – a UK brand inspired by the natural riches of the British isles.
Pets also get the royal treatment. Staff are on hand with treats, dog beer, and an array of seasonal dishes for your pooch sourced from local markets and organic farms (think: poached cod with garden peas and crushed potatoes, or rib eye steak with doggie chips).
When it comes to food for humans, guests can wander down a gilded winding staircase to reach the hotel's cozy dining room. Only those staying at The Guardsman (as well as their guests) can dine here. But there are no rules when it comes to dining times (which also means 24-hour room service) and the British-led menu changes often but always centers around farm-fresh, UK-sourced ingredients.
The bar isn't to be sniffed at either, it serves up classic cocktails, new gems, and more than 250 whiskies. And to help guests rest easy, The Guardsman's serious stance on sustainability means it's using 100% renewable energy supplemented by the solar panels installed on the roof.
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