Brown's: The ONLY hotel to book for London Fashion Week

posted on: Monday, 26 July 2010

It's hard to believe but July is coming to a close.  It's now August, which means it's time to start thinking about your bookings for Fashion Weeks in Milan, Paris, New York and London.  Where you are staying in each city can make or break your entire trip. As fashion editors, journalists and enthusiasts, we are on our feet all day during Fashion Week. We're running between tents, sipping champagne in four inch stilettos, jamming into tight spaces to file copy for international publications and all the while trying to recover from serious jet lag.  When you do finally have the opportunity to retire to your hotel in the evenings after long days and sometimes even longer nights you need to know you are returning to a space that is as fabulous, if not more so, than your own home.  It has taken me many years, and a lot of fashion weeks, to realize that your trip is only as good as your hotel.  If a bed is horrible, if the hotel's amenities are poorly, if the TV has only three channels and they are all in a foreign language or if you can't get food delivered to the room past 9pm, you will find that your stress levels soar out of control and your work reflects your travel anxieties.  

Well fashion editors, fashion editors' assistants, freelancers and fashion followers, if you are in London come this September to attend what is surely to be our best London Fashion Week yet, I have one solution to a problem that can be instantly checked off the list: accommodation.  Your search ends here as I have the one and only hotel in London that you should be booking now.  I say book now as you will not find a room at Brown's for London Fashion Week if you wait and book the week before.  This hotel is no secret. Chances are you've seen their door photographed at least three dozen times just in the past six months with the number of celebrities coming and going! It's a favourite amongst the stars and this past weekend I found out why exactly every celebrity from here to Los Angeles tends to prefer a stay at Brown's to any other London establishment.
My stay had no bumps in the road. It was smooth sailing from the moment my stilettos clicked down the tiled entrance to the moment they stepped out onto the sidewalks of Albemarle Street. I checked in early as I had to file copy by 5pm and I had a rough road ahead of me with a lot of work. Sadly I did not come  with a clear mind. In fact, I showed up at reception looking a little worse for wear.  I suppose you truly know a good hotel when even the receptionist manages to change the course of your day.  I was greeted like a celebrity and let's be honest here, I am anything but!
I was told that I was booked in one of their classic suites for a night and was led up to the room by the same lovely young lady who checked me in.  From the outside, Brown's may look as if it is Olde English...but when you step inside it is anything but old! So throw away any misconceptions you have about hotels in England being old and moldy. Brown's is the height of modern sophistication. All the fixtures and decorations are so up-to-date you would almost swear they were only put into place 24 hours before your arrival.  My room was no exception.
I can't tell you exactly what I was expecting as I had avoided viewing all of the rooms on Brown's website so that I could be left with a bit of a surprise. And a surprise it was....
The room was out of this world! Now, don't turn away. I'm not going to talk you through every detail. I know you don't have all day (and trust me, I could go on all day if allowed). Let me instead show you every detail that I feel makes this hotel stand out from the rest.
This is just my living space in the suite! An uber comfortable sofa, a desk made for working not just admiring, a Bang Olufsen television for entertaining any guests you may over during the day or evening hours as well as a mini bar stocked with every possible sinful desire.  There's a table for four which came carrying two gorgeous sweets that have tacked on another hour of treadmill time for me in the hotel gym.
And the attention to detail just keeps on coming...
And now into the sleeping quarters. I have never slept so soundly. First, you wouldn't think you were in a big city at all as you could have heard a pin drop in my room (when I decided to turn down the music piping through the rooms that is). However, it wasn't just the noise-free atmosphere that had me sleeping like a baby.  Each suite has pillow and mattress menus that come with your stay. This means you are 100% in control of what mattress, what pillows and which sheets you choose to sleep on and under. Name me another hotel in London that provides THAT service!
They even have a "thinking chair" corner.  I am obsessed with functional comfortable chairs! It's a concept every hotel should invest in and one which I couldn't have been more pleased to see welcoming me to my Brown's suite.
Now moving on to what makes or breaks hotels for most women...the bathroom.  What's the first thing we all check for? The amenities, am I right or am I right? I'm talking woman to woman here. A hotel is only as good as the goodies their stocking in their tiled rooms! My bathroom, and every bathroom in the hotel, is overflowing with REN products. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the REN line let me bring you up to speed. REN is the latest and greatest in paraben-free beauty. Their line is heavenly on your skin and smells so delicious you may be in danger of men charging at you from Bond street as you walk out of the hotel! With products by the sink, in the tub, in the shower and on the shelf above the facilities you feel as if you are in Sephora, not a hotel room! Bliss, absolute bliss!
Even the closet had little details that made you feel like Brown's thought of everything you hadn't...including an umbrella. We all know the weather is unpredictable during fashion week. The last thing you want is to be caught out in your Dior couture in showers without that umbrella you left at home because you needed the room in your suitcase for another pair of Blahniks. You get my point.
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Every single member of staff at Brown's was a joy to meet. My only one complaint about the entire stay actually had nothing to do with the hotel itself. Obviously an establishment such as Brown's attracts the upper echelons of society.  As I was waiting downstairs for Mr. B, I had the unfortunate experience of watching an American couple solidify our reputation in this country as "rude Americans."  My embarrassment for the Brown's staff and for my country is impossible to now describe.  I will say this: not once did the poor young lady, charged with the task of appeasing this horrible couple, flinch, lose her smile or change her attitude! Hotels can be about everything from amenities to beds to late night room service.  But, if the customer service isn't present none of the other things matter. You want your hotel to be your second home. It's the place you've chosen to lay your head and you want the people surrounding you to make you feel like you made the right choice. Brown's delivers that and so much more.

So just a few more things I feel are essential to mention. First of all, if you aren't familiar with the hotel's location you should know that it is literally a stone's throw from the one of the world's most famous shopping streets - Bond Street! This is also where the newest Louis Vuitton Maison has opened. The two safes in the suite may come in handy after a shopping adventure in this neck of the woods! If you are jonesing for Central Park while in London, get over it! Green Park is practically on Brown's doorstep and I don't believe there's a park in the Big Apple that has a Royal residence on one side of it! So if fashion week allows you sunshine and free time, grab a green and white sun lounger and people watch in the park!

Speaking of time...if you find you do have some spare, there is plenty to keep you busy at the hotel:
There are two restaurants just downstairs from your room.  The HIX at the Albemarle not only has amazing food but it is also decorated with a collection of art which will make you think you are dining in the Tate Modern!  If you are in the mood for something a little lighter try popping into the English Tea Room and request the newest addition to the menu - the Tea-Tox. This is basically a "healthier" version of the Tea Room's traditional Afternoon Tea.  Just imagine Blueberries and lemon cream served in a chocolate cup, carrot seed cake, a selection of freshly prepared open sandwiches, hummus with crudites and fresh ginger tea.  And after all that, you'll still fit into the newly purchased Alexander McQueen! Of course if you were in any doubt you could always pop down into the hotel's gym for a run and follow it up with a seasonal pedicure to keep those toes presentable for front row footage!

Have you gone to book yet as I guarantee someone else is right now? Tell them the loose goose in high heels sent you!

Here are the nitty gritty details:

Brown's Hotel in London
Address: Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7493 6020
Email: sales.browns@roccofortecollection.com
Website: www.brownshotel.com
Thank you for the wonderful adventure, Browns! We'll see you again in September! xoxo