Timeless, $$$ (from $400)
When architect George Basevi designed the 24 early Victorian terraces on Egerton Crescent in the 1840s, he built what would become one of London’s most exclusive residential streets. When high-end Italian hospitality group Starhotels Collezione took over the handful of townhouses that now comprise The Franklin in 2014, they aimed to honor the address. Renowned British designer Anouska Hempel came in to renovate the interiors, drawing on influences from Morocco, Venice, and further east. Michelin-starred Italian chef Alfredo Russo was tapped to run the food program. And a Les Clefs d’Or concierge was brought on to tend to every whim of their clientele. The result: An English country house that feels like a sophisticated Italian palazzo in the heart of London.
At a Glance
Style: Like the set of a movie about a ravishing Italian duke living in London. Think glimmering Carrara marble floors, brooding slate gray walls, embroidered furnishings, wrought-iron balustrades, floor-to-ceiling Venetian screens, silk ikat hangings from Istanbul, and loads of Italian velvet.
Standout Detail: Egerton Gardens, which occupies the courtyard out back. Ever-present views of perfectly manicured flowerbeds and umbrella-shaped pear trees add a touch of English quaintness.
This Place is Perfect For: Couples looking for a romantic weekend; refined travelers who want the comforts of an upscale home within walking distance of London’s biggest attractions.
Rooms: 35 rooms, which include a variety of palatial suites, are awash in natural light and sophisticated neutral tones and feature oak flooring, wrought-iron four-poster beds, mirrored furniture, impressive mini-bars in the higher-echelon rooms, sandstone bathrooms, and Victorian windows that either overlook the gardens or the historic Brompton Oratory.
On Site: A Hempel-designed hammam (for guests only) that offers treatments, a mini gym, a cozy library, personal shopping service, 24-hour room service, free WiFi, and Les Clefs d’Or concierge.
Food + Drink: The Franklin Restaurant by Alfredo Russo does decadent Italian dining in an opulent velvet-lined room. Expect dishes like hen tortellini in Parmesan fondue and lamb casserole with licorice radish. The Franklin Bar is the kind of handsome lobby bar Jay Gatsby might drink at, assuming he’s one for champagne and martinis — the bar boasts 22 varieties of gin.
What to Do Nearby
The hotel is located on the fringe of Knightsbridge, within walking distance of excellent high-end shopping, including Harrods and Rigby & Peller (provider of bespoke undergarments to the Queen), as well as cultural institutions such as Royal Albert Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Hyde Park. Don’t miss a meal at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, afternoon tea at The Berkeley (especially during fashion week), or sushi at the see-and-be-seen Zuma, all near the hotel.