The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, London, England

by Robert Adams

Whether you happen to receive an invitation to join the Royal Family for tea, or you just want to take some selfies to share on social media, The Athenaeum’s location affords guests easy access to many of London’s top attractions and neighborhoods.

When traveling on business, we always set aside a couple of days to relax and enjoy the city we are visiting and the hotel at which we are staying. At The Athenaeum, guests will find myriad options for enjoyment and revitalization.

After a night on the town with clients or friends, you can sleep late, order room service, then head to the Ren Spa for some needed pampering. Begin by spending time in the sauna, steam room, and cedar hot tub, then indulge in one of their signature treatments. Start with the anti-aging REN Renew facial that is designed to renew tired, stressed skin and provide a healthy glow to your face. Afterward, enjoy a Ren Bespoke Hot Stone Massage that combines relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness to encourage your body to detox and heal. Having an on-site spa and gym is definitely a plus and something we always look for whether traveling for business or pleasure.

The Orange Suite

The Orange Suite

As vistors to London, we always make reservations for afternoon tea at someplace special, and putting on a good afternoon tea is something The Athenaeum has down to a fine art. The Galvin Brothers’ modern British Afternoon Tea showcases the country’s very best ingredients: fresh smoked salmon from Severn & Wye, Cumbrian ham, Kentish strawberries, and Devonshire clotted cream. Accompany this with one of their artisan teas that include Darjeeling First Flush, Dragon Pearl Jasmine, Sencha Fukuyja Camomile Flower, Passionfruit & Orange, Ceylon OP Lemon Verbena, or Moroccan Mint.

If you prefer cocktails to tea, head to THE BAR to meet some of your fellow guests and the residents of Mayfair who often stop here for craft spirits and signature cocktails created by renowned Italian bartender Giancarlo Mancino.

THE BAR at The Athenaeum is intimate and inviting, with elegant bespoke interiors and smooth jazz or bossa nova often playing in the background.

Previously renowned for it’s extensive whisky collection from around the world, THE BAR still houses an impressive selection, but new Signature Cocktails include a range of different craft spirits, including the very theatrical (smoking) Down Street Manhattan, Corpse Reviver #7, and the Claypot Negroni.

There is a smoking area outside courtesy of a new and extended outdoor Terrace, and a well-stocked Humidor in the bar that features brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo, and Romeo Y Julietta.

THE BAR

THE BAR

If you desire some food with your drinks, there is a “light bite” all-day menu developed by The Galvin Brothers that includes the famous Galvin Hot Dog Deluxe, Galvin Burger Deluxe, Yellow Fin Tuna burger with white cabbage slaw and miniature Scotch eggs.

Every Wednesday evening Jeremy Hopkins, the convivial general manager, hosts a cocktail party at THE BAR. Make sure to plan you visit accordingly so you can meet Mr. Hopkins and his wonderful team. They are the perfect hosts who will regale you with stories, introduce you to amazing people, and get you to try unique spirits created especially at THE BAR.

After the cocktail party, my partner and I headed to Galvin at The Athenaeum, the latest restaurant from Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin. For the first time, the brothers have stepped away from their trademark French-inspired menus in favor of championing Britain’s homegrown produce and supporting independent farmers across the UK. Their modern take on classic British dishes combined with Galvin favorites was the culinary highlight of our visit.

Seated at a comfortable banquette that provided a gerat view of the dining room, we began our dinner with a selection of appetizers (some of which are also served in larger portions as an entrée).
The parsnip and apple soup with winter truffle cream was delicate and rich, while the Ham hock terrine with red onion marmalade hazelnuts provided a hearty and flavorful counterpoint. By sharing all our dishes that night, we were able to get to know the Galvin brother’s approach to dining and appreciate their desire to feature locally grown foods.

Besides being good for our planet, this approach to fine dining provides guests the opportunity to enjoy the freshest meats, seafood, and produce, while treating their palates to innovative cuisine that is unique to modern day England.

Galvin at The Athenaeum

Galvin at The Athenaeum

Segueing to the main course, we were delighted by the roast Yorkshire pheasant, Le Puy lentils, bacon, and cranberry jus; and fighting each other for the next forkful of the Rose county beef rib eye with chips and green peppercorn butter. The wining combination of menu items at Galvin at The Athenaeum had us wishing we could dine here every night; and if you’re a guest, you can do just that.

While relaxing over a glass of sparking Lanson White Label Sec, NV, we tried to decide on what to share from the dessert menu. It was a toss up between the Valrhona chocolate mousse with almond biscuits, or the pear and almond tart with vanilla cream.

We just couldn’t make up our minds. At last we came to a decision. We would save dessert for our next visit to London and The Athenaeum.

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