The Carlton Tower Jumeirah Near+Far verdict: 9/10
Why stay at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah
There are countless reasons to stay at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, but the biggest draw is to experience Dubai’s world-famous hospitality, hotel quality and facilities, but over 5,000 kilometres away in the heart of central London. Fresh from a £100 million (about AED450 million) 2019 mega-makeover, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah has bounced back into life and into a spot as one of the most impressive in the UK capital, thanks to touches like a small army of perfectly polished Emirates Airlines staff looking after guests and a gleaming modern Arabian aesthetic. There couldn’t be a better location for a shopping trip in the city – a few steps from Sloane Street and Harrods and Harvey Nichols, but tucked away on a lane opposite the private Cadogan Gardens – creating a sense of privacy and space. Post renovation, the hotel’s rooms are in cream and taupe, with plush carpets or wooden floors and white marble bathrooms, and a new wellness club is one of the most surprising and delightful spaces of all the world’s city hotels. The Carlton Tower Jumeirah offers the best of the Middle East – personalised service, luxury and design – but with a setting and sense of soul and place that’s quintessentially British.
The Carlton Tower Jumeirah is located in one of London’s most salubrious neighbourhoods – Knightsbridge – the most expensive postcode in the Royal Borough, home to iconic London spots like Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Sloane Street, the Royal Albert Hall and V&A, Natural History and Science Museums. The hotel itself lauds over Sloane Street – a historic Sixties tower with a varied past – making it easy always to find your way back when out pottering Knighsbtridge’s polished cobbles. Famed bright pin EL&N Cafe and the Pantechnicon – a historic five-storey venue with Nordic and Japanese eateries and shopping – are also a short stroll away.
Rooms and suites: 9/10
The hotel’s 2019 mega makeover completely gutted the hotel’s accommodation, resulting in a perfectly polished portfolio of modern, bright, elegant, timeless and warm rooms and suites. While many properties emerge from renovations with a daring new design, The Carlton Tower Jumeirah went for neutrals and the odd splash of jewel tone with warm wood touches and marble bathrooms – appealing to all travellers and tasted. Our suite had the highest (and comfiest) king-sized bed we’ve ever stayed in, finished with an emerald green leather headboard and valuable pieces of technology, including a retro-cool Bluetooth speaker and Dyson hairdryer. Suite guests and VIPs can expect many personalised touches like initial embossed slippers and towels, personalised leather keycards and the odd framed photograph discreetly taken from social media (all done in an applaudable effort) together to make this hotel feel like home). All rooms have views over the neighbouring private Cadogan Gardens – the chimneys of Battersea Power station and the River Thames in the distance – or the rooftops of Knighsbtige, so make sure to book a balcony suite if staying in the warmer months.
Food and drink: 7/10
The Carlton Tower Jumeirah has two dining outlets, the elegant Chinoiserie lounge and a main Italian restaurant Al Mare. The former is the hotel’s beating heart, serving anything from quick lunches and classically British afternoon tea to champagne and lobster dinners. The space is almost busy and vibey – and even on a Monday night, there’s a gaggle of guests vying for a table (due to the larger Middle East crowd, the vibe picks up later at night). For something more formal Al Mare restaurant – an Art Deco space with parquet flooring, pendant lights, velvet booths and large picture windows overlooking the leafy Cadogan Gardens. Al Mare is also the setting for the hotel’s exquisite breakfast spread – a buffet and a la carte affair – with al fresco seating also available on a leafy streetside terrace.
Spa and facilities
Yes, the rooms are elegant and well-appointed, the public spaces stylish, and the restaurants atmospheric, but where the hotel really sits a cut above the rest is in its wellness and spa facilities. The hotel is home to the most delightful spa and wellness area in the London hotel scene – a glorious two-story health club with soaring curved glass windows streaming in natural light. The space comprises a 20-metre heated swimming pool and two levels of plush cream lounges and cabanas with billowing white privacy drapes. Stands with the latest glossy magazines are dotted around, and bottled water, nuts, dried fruit, dates and herbal teas are freely available to guests – delightful nods to the Middle East. The changing rooms are equally divine – with Dyson hairdryers, luxurious moisturises, handy touches like brushes and deodorant and fluffy towels and robes to use, alongside a sauna and steam room. There are a handful of treatment rooms where classic and signature therapies like the Gold Hydrating Facial with rose quarts and blue diamond take place. Again, Middle Eastern travellers will appreciate the effort that goes into the entire spa experience: footbath, selecting oils, and post-treatment tea, something many London hotels forgo. A modern and spacious fitness centre sits on the ninth floor with views over the rooftops.
The tone is set before even stepping foot in the lobby of The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, thanks to a front entrance lined with supercars (a true nod to Dubai) and charming doormen in top hats almost jumping to take your luggage and usher you in. Inside, the evocative fragrance of oud lingers in the air and groups of elegant Middle Eastern guests float past, returning from shopping trips laden with Hermès and Chanel, while glamorous lobby hosts and guest services staff (many ex-Emirates crew) are ever-present and ever-smiling. The lobby lounge is always alive with guests of all ages, though a favourite with London’s Arab cool crowd, while older guests and couples head for teas and cocktails in elegant Al Mare.
The Carlton Tower Jumeirah is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive hotels in the UK capital. The hotel knows how to create one of the most personalised and flawless hotel experiences (thanks to a superlative team that includes ex-Emirates crew), and there’s no feeling like returning from a day on London’s chilly streets to sink into your marshmallow bed or luxuriate in the warm and cosy wellness centre.
Doubles from AED3,270; jumeirah.com