Brown's palatial suite, where Rudyard Kipling penned The Jungle Book, gives Zak Smith an insight into the mind of the great British author.
Like the rotund septuagenarian in his three piece suite refusing to leave the Titanic as it sank into the lonely waters of the Atlantic, there was something awkwardly special, almost other-worldly, about enjoying one of London’s great hotels in the epicentre of the Brexit debacle. As sterling began its painful decline to below $1.30, real estate funds shut up shop and banks threatened to cut their London headcount in half, the flow of Bollinger and Hix cured salmon continued unabated at Brown’s. Keep calm and carry on (in style we, say).
Leaving aside the current political and economic climate, there is an elegance and class about Brown’s that continues to endure. During our current malaise, it felt like a safe haven, cosseting bewildered Londoners and international travellers in the way a good luxury hotel should. Harking back to when Britain was ‘Great’, Brown’s have launched their new Kipling Suite, named in celebration of the English author Rudyard Kipling, who wrote The Jungle Book during one of his many stays at the hotel.
The suite is more like a palatial, ambassadorial apartment: a sprawling, cavernous space filled with rare books, exquisite, hand made furniture and sumptuous marble in the bathrooms. Sophisticated, elegant, yet at the same time totally relaxed in its look and feel, it was akin to stepping into your fashionable aunt’s chi chi Mayfair pad. Whether it’s dinner at Hix, dancing at Arts Club or shopping at Paul Smith, the location is truly something special, sitting in the middle of Albemarle Street in the heart of Mayfair. With floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, the style is quirky British, with English wallpaper and fabrics by designers Lewis & Wood, as well as silk curtain fabric by Manuel Canovas and furniture by Julian Chichester. In keeping with its namesake, the suite features personal touches from the hotel’s illustrious history, including a framed hand-written letter from Rudyard Kipling, penned and sent during a stay at Brown’s Hotel. This piece of literary history is utterly unique, giving guests a small glimpse into the world of the great British author.
The renovated Kipling Suite is part of the ‘The Rocco Forte Suite Experience’, giving guests an indulgent experience from arrival to departure, as well as local know-how, including a tour of the eclectic Paul Smith store on Albemarle Street, a Martini masterclass in your room, or a personal appointment at Peter Harrington Rare Books.
Hix has been at Brown’s for years, and whilst newer and more exciting names have launched onto the London culinary scene since the doors opened, there is still something very special about enjoying the finest fish and wines surrounded by artwork created by artists such as Tracey Emin. Whether it’s a lemon zest gin martini straight up from the trolley or a Willie’s Cacao chocolate fondue with cinnamon and sugar coated donuts, each course was delivered with sophistication and fun in equal measure.
As the course of history changes not only in London but for Europe and beyond, it’s great to know that some things will never change, a night at Brown’s as good as when it’s doors opened in 1837.