In the newly hip Mayfair district, this landmark brick Victorian has reclaimed the glory of its golden era thanks to a $140 million renovation, creating a sophisticated throwback that no soulless Modernist hotel could ever hope to emulate. Classicist designer Guy Oliver supervised the preservation of burnished mahogany paneling, gilded scrollwork, and formal Adams fireplaces; fortunately, a welcome infusion of 21st-century fun saves the 123-room Connaught from being too somber. Witness the cartoonish Julian Opie cameos in the aubergine-and-slate Coburg Bar (created by India Mahdavi), film-noir nights with buttered popcorn, and chinoiserie cocktail cabinets filled with DIY martini fixings. For a heartier meal, your personal butler will deliver a Wagyu beef burger—on bespoke Wedgwood china—topped with a special reserve Gruyère. The organic sesame-seed buns are baked daily in the hotel kitchen.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.