The staff are courteous, friendly and helpful. As the mission statement says, "No request is too large, no detail too small". It looks like Red Carnation focus on staffing and training to a level that assures this is practical.
Nearby Shepherd market is a pleasantly quiet oasis in this vast city. Most other buildings in the area are apartments blocks or small private offices. So the surrounds feel pleasantly residential. You can't miss the Chesterfield as it's splendidly adorned with Carnations.
The Chesterfield hotel staff pride themselves in recognising and addressing customers by name, making them feel like a guest, not a room number. Now as reviewers we're a little cautious of this level of attention. However, I can assure you that, by observation, it became clear that the other guests were being attended to in a like manner. For example, watching Rachael attend to some guests in the Terrace bar, they were clearly naturally responding to her intelligent courtesy and genuine personality. Much more than just serving.
As you enter the Chesterfield, you feel the opulence of a traditional, high quality hotel. Despite the grandeur, the atmosphere is warm and friendly giving you the feeling of entering a parlor. The rooms are a good size (very large for London) and individually decorated.
Business travelers are well catered for, with business services that include cell phones, a business center and use of a nearby health club (broadband and wireless are imminent).
There's loads of shopping for the ladies and indeed for the gents. Stroll down to Piccadilly and along to Piccadilly Circus and you pass some of London's best arcades. Bond Street is just 5 minutes' walk away. And just 20 yards or so down the street you can buy a yacht. After shopping, you might return to the Chesterfield for that quintessentially English tradition, afternoon tea.
The Red Carnation chain runs an Executive Club for its frequent guests, offering benefits such as special rates, guaranteed availability, express check in/out, and complimentary drinks. Also via this program, when you arrive the service is automatically tailored to your personal preferences, such as a non-smoking and the paper you prefer. There's a special complimentary executive cocktail menu (but darn it, with my favorite, Bourbon missing).
The restaurant could be a one of the more select venues in New Orleans with its red chairs, carriage lights and a cast iron doorway to the wine "cellar". Interestingly, a leopard skin motif appears here and there as a subtle reminder of the owners' South African background.
We commenced the meal with Parka Ham Quail Eggs & Red Sweet Chili which was superbly sweet with a thick rich flavor. Then my Tempura Tiger Prawns with Mango and Red Onion Compote and Sweet Chilli Sauce, were in light batter not at all fatty cooked to perfection with a "rudely" rich but red sauce and refreshing mango. Janet's Roast Portobello Mushrooms topped with Dolcelatte and Baby Spinach, were superb, the cheese was brilliant and the mushrooms were meaty.
My Veal Chop with Plum and Prune Sauce and Sassis Potatoes was well cooked but not quite enough for me. My fault I never asked - the waiter's fault because neither did he. However, it was still a good cut of meat in a delicious sauce.
Janet's Dover Sole, served with Baby New Potatoes was again very nicely cooked and filet'd at the table by the waiter. Janet reported a delightfully subtly flavor accompanied with a good hollandaise sauce.
A lovely feature, especially for those winter breakfasts is the Conservatory which is beautifully decorated and ideal also for traditional English tea.
At this point, we noticed a couple of guests were finding the party in the patio outside the restaurant too noisy. I enjoyed the music and the gaiety going on out there, but it was a pity for that couple.
Finally we had a sampler plate of desserts. This comprised White Chocolate Cheesecake with Griotines - a nice bitter chocolate; Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla ice Cream; Crème Brulee - of an unusually non-custard texture; Mango Mirror Torte with Strawberry & Mango Salad - deliciously refreshing.
At Breakfast, we were lucky enough to meet a couple from Texas, who were in London for the weekend. They were really pleased to have found an hotel that they really enjoyed, and in such a key location in London. Finally for American readers note that the 24 hour snack menu includes such essentials as spicy nachos, popcorn and Champagne to match. Pretty useful when you consider American football is broadcast around 2 a.m. in the UK. So you're not all that far from home at the Chesterfield, an exemplary experience.