Glass visits Gordon Ramsay's York and Albany Hotel in Regent's Park, London wanting to be impressed, but is left a little underwhelmed
Officially rated as a five-star Restaurant with Rooms by the AA*, the York and Albany arrived on London’s hotel scene in 2008. For charm the hotel scores highly. Its 1800s Regency period décor of plush velvet and heavy drapery and original antique furniture wins hands down. Set in an old coaching inn, the building has plenty of its original features, which give it its quintessentially British aspect and atmosphere. Also perfectly situated, the hotel is just across the road from Regent’s Park and a five-minute walk from Camden Town underground station. However, upon closer inspection, the hotel proved to be a star short of being a winner for us.
The combination of the townhouse’s classic style and subtle contemporary touches makes the York and Albany feel extremely homely and the originality of the décor gives it its distinct “so-British” charm. The décor aside, adjoining the hotel are two restaurants – one a casual bistro-bar and the other, a gastronomic restaurant. Practical to get to and from, situated near Camden Town and Regent’s Park, the hotel’s surrounding neighbourhoods, are very different and worth exploring for any visitor.
Mixing the traditional and the coolly grand both outside and inside, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay collaborated with Russell Sage Interiors to evoke a quintessentially English feel in the ten rooms of this elegant John Nash designed building. One of our rooms, room nine, was beautiful and comfortable with dark hardwood floors, a deep red velvet headboard over the bed, and a view of Regent’s Park. The Regency suite (room three), one of the two, is of impressive size. Light falls through the large floor-to-ceiling windows giving the spacious, almost majestic, room a cheerful ambience despite its tired classic furniture. The room also boasts a long balcony that stretches across the entire building. But as we inspected the room there were a few details that weren’t quite enough to turn the experience sour but which left a slightly bitter taste.
The first surprise was that there was no one at reception throughout the weekend. Not only is this uninviting, but it also leaves the hotel accessible to anyone off the street. The lack of attention to detail in the Regency suite is also worth mentioning. Several different lamps were placed around the room but three out of five didn’t work. We thought of calling down to reception to ask for the bulbs to be changed, but there appeared to be no phone either. Searching for the phone, we realised that a side nightstand was missing – the fittings were still in the chipped wall. The stained rugs and upholstery could also have done with a deep clean.
Finally, after walking down to the reception to get the bulbs changed, and after all the sockets in the room had been tested, we were forced to give up on the lamps. Settling in the suite once again, a glass of champagne in hand, we attempted to switch on the television, but that didn’t seem to work either.
A potentially winning formula, Ramsay’s York and Albany needs a bit more work before it can be fully-deserving of its five stars*. by Rooksana Hossenally