The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, London

First impressions count and arriving to a cheery greeting from the doorman – then stepping into the warm reception area of the Capital Hotel, where I could thaw myself by the fireplace – was the ideal welcome on an icy January afternoon.

The Capital Hotel is, at most, just a couple of minute’s walk from Knightsbridge Underground station in London. I hadn’t even paused to look in Harrods’ windows, such was the bitterness of the wind, but the intense cold had got to me.

A well-informed concierge

As I stood warming myself by the fire I chatted with Clive, the Head Concierge, an amiable Londoner who has worked at the hotel for 22 years. He answered questions and provided suggestions on what to do and where to go on a chilly winter afternoon.

The Victoria and Albert Museum and Harvey Nichols are both close to the hotel. I had the feeling that I was talking to a man who genuinely loves interacting with guests. I later read that he was runner-up in the ‘Concierge of the Year’ category of the 2010 European Hospitality Awards.

A 5-star hotel with a personal touch

The Capital is a five star hotel yet small enough, with just 49 bedrooms, to offer a personalised touch to guests. David Levin opened the Capital back in 1971 and this is still a family run business, with his daughter Kate now the General Manager.

A series of renovations were completed ahead of London hosting the Olympic Games. The rooms each have a unique design, based on a classic English look with upbeat colour schemes.

The suites are reachable via a grand, cupola-crowned staircase surrounded by prints depicting early 19th century life. The larger of the two suites is at the back of the hotel while that at the front has an attractive look and feel, reminiscent of the decor of an English country cottage.

The Capital’s Junior Suite

I stayed in a spacious Junior Suite, with a classical modern design and dark wood furniture. The sizable bathroom, with mirrored walls, offered bath and shower facilities and was well-stocked with Burberry soaps and shampoo by Kiehl’s.

The suite has flat-screened televisions in both the bedroom and dayroom. Intelligent Life and Harrods Magazine lay on a small table in the bedroom under a reading lamp. Just as I was taking a look at the suite’s second bathroom and cloakroom, which was decorated with a classic English high ceramic cistern and wash basin, an employee knocked and delivered a half-bottle of Levin Sauvignon Blanc, an organic wine from David Levin’s Loire Valley estates.

From the perspective of an overnight guest, surely the ultimate test of a hotel is whether or not it affords a good night’s sleep. Like the pillows at the Capital, my slumber within the super-king size Egyptian cotton sheets was deep and comfortable.

The Capital Hotel is frequented by both business travellers and visitors to London who enjoy shopping in the upmarket stores of Knightsbridge.

Further information

The Capital Hotel, tel. +44 20 7589 5171, is at 22-24 Basil Street, London, SW3 1AT. It hosts Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin-starred Outlaw’s Restaurant at The Capital.

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