The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences

Review of The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences review by Varun Sharma
Updated 19. Apr 2024

The Athenaeum has sat proudly at 116 Piccadilly - as a Mayfair luxury hotel - since 1973. It is one of those discrete London hotels with an incredible, rich and colourful history. Some of the greatest names in entertainment history have made The Athenaeum their London home - for its service, location, views, privacy and diversity of guestrooms. 

This Mayfair stalwart features 156 rooms, suites and apartments - most in the main building on Piccadilly but also in a selection of salubrious London red-brick Townhouses on Down Street - which sits aside the hotel. Families, those on long-term stays, the business community and - of course - regular guests head to The Athenaeum come rain or shine - where they know that their every need is met.  

The Athenaeum is cutting-edge - installing a Living Wall in 2009 - when most hotels regarded “green” as just a colour. Art & sustainability at its finest.

The Doorman service at the hotel is legendary. Through deep snowy Winters and stiflingly hot Summers, The Athenaeum Doormen meet & greet Guests but always help passers-by with advice or help in flagging down a Black Cab. A photo with an Athenaeum Doorman has become a must for social media travellers!

The hotel enjoys superb views of Green Park. On its 10th floor, Guests have use of The View which overlooks the Park and is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail and take in the London skyline - which comes into its own after-dark. 

While certainly not offering the most sizeable Spa in London, The Athenaeum does offer guests a hot tub, steam room, sauna and gym. Treatments using Temple Spa products are also available. Of course, Green Park is an excellent, picturesque running track!

The Bar at The Athenaeum is reminiscent of a private member's club - with whisky the favoured tipple. 116 at The Athenaeum is the hotel's signature restaurant which boasts in & out dining. Dining undercover on Piccadilly - The Terrace - in the height of Summer is a real treat. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here - but the Team also prepares a tasty traditional Afternoon Tea, room service and even a picnic in the Park. 

The hotel is dog and child friendly  - offering your furry friend bowls, beds and specially prepared meals - and the same for young people too!

My review of The Athenaeum is unashamedly biased as I once worked here (Summer job!) … and have very, very happy memories of my experience that I will hold close forever.

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The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is situated at the Hyde Park Corner end of Piccadilly at number 116.

To the South is Green Park, to the East - Hyde Park, Hyde Park Corner Underground Station and Knightsbridge, to the North - Mayfair and West - Piccadilly, Royal Academy, Bond Street, Fortnum & Mason and Leicester Square. It's a short walk from the hotel through the Park to Buckingham Palace.

Everywhere - of importance - is walkable from the hotel!

Eurostar and St Pancras International Station are around 20 minutes journey time by either car or tube whilst Paddington Station for the Heathrow Express and Victoria Station for the Gatwick Express are both around a 15-minute car ride. By car, London Gatwick Airport is around a one-and-a-half-hour journey time whilst London Heathrow Airport is a little closer at just around a 50-minute drive, depending on traffic.



There are a total of 156 rooms, suites and apartments - most in the main building on Piccadilly but a few in Townhouses - with their own private entrances - on Down Street that sits beside the hotel. 

There are 16 Superior rooms (in the main building),12 Townhouse rooms (there are Superior rooms located in the Townhouses), 38 Deluxe rooms (some located in the main building and some in the Townhouses), 36 Deluxe Bay window rooms (in the main building), 14 Park View rooms (in the main building), 18 Park View Bay window rooms (in the main building), 3 Mayfair Suites (in the main building), 7 Green Park Suites (in the main building) and 18 Residences (located in the Townhouses).

Your needs will lead you decide which guestroom you book. Every combination of Guest is catered for - families, singles, couples, long-stays, short-stays … business, leisure, shopping, culinary, sightseeing ... The Athenaeum is one of the few luxury hotels in London that is something for everyone. 

The rooms are generally spacious with deep carpets, comfortable beds with high quality sheets, duvets and pillows. The bathrooms feature Molton Brown products and fabulously fluffy towels & robes. The minibar is complimentary - enough to snack on in the middle of the night at least! Coffee & tea making facilities are standard. The Wi-Fi is speedy and the television has enough channels to keep you entertained. There is enough storage for a lengthy sojourn. Aim for a Park view and as high up as possible - if you are staying in the main hotel! You enjoy complimentary, superb vistas!

The hotel is located on one of London's busiest thoroughfares - so you can expect some noise from vehicles zipping by. However, the din is mitigated by the excellent double-glazed windows and thick curtains. 

The rooms all boast quality furniture, entertaining art work and a feeling of great warmth & comfort.

Service & Facilities


The Staff at The Athenaeum has one aim - to keep the Guests happy and they do this with genuine reverence. The Doormen are just the taster … but from the front of house to room attendants, smiles are in abundance.

The Concierge is one of your best friends in London. Here you can win restaurant reservations, cabs, tickets for concerts, sporting events, plays and the magical “gold ticket” that allows you to beat the queues at the “original” Hard Rock Cafe, which is just a minute's walk from the hotel.

The Spa at The Athenaeum is underground - perfectly formed, bijou and relaxing. Here Guests can enjoy a hot tub, sauna, relaxation area and two treatment rooms. Highly-trained aestheticians perform facials, rubs, scrubs, wraps and contouring. English, Temple Spa products are used for most of the treatments. The Spa offers packages - ideal for when London's unpredictable weather forces you to stay-put!

There is a 24-gym on offer for those who need to burn energy throughout the day. Technogym and Peloton equipment is on hand to aid you in your quest for the perfect body!

High up on the 10th floor is The View. From here - at any time of day - guests can enjoy superb views of London. After dark, it's truly magical! Enjoy a flute of Champagne and take in those … Views!!

The hotel offers meeting spaces including - Hyde Park 1 + 2 event space (up to 100 people), Green Park meeting room (up to 12 people), St. James’ meeting room (up to 10 people) and Hyde Park 3 - meeting room (up to 12 people).



The Athenaeum started life in 1850 as Hope House, the elegant home of the MP Henry Hope. It sat at the corner of Piccadilly and Down Street on one of London's most prestigious streets. The building was noted for the beautiful stone and metal external décor, created in the modern French style of the time. Hope House attracted the attention of novelist Charles Dickens, who apparently said the mansion had an extravagant interior. Hope House became known as the home of one of the most esteemed private art collections in Europe.

The name Athenaeum first appears around 1864 when the house was bought by the Junior Athenaeum Club. The site was redeveloped in 1937, with the construction of an art deco apartment block, the Athenaeum Court. 

In the early 1970s, entertainment group -  The Rank Organisation - bought Athenaeum Court - transforming it into The Athenaeum Hotel in 1973. It's this link that has seen the greatest names in entertainmnet stay at the hotel … we are talking Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston … Take That … and the list goes on … 

While there are still glimpses of that fabulous art deco design and 1970s skilled workmanship, the hotel is continually refurbished using the “best of British workmanship”. It is now contemporary, classic … fashionable, timeless furniture in designed surround. 

The Bar and The Lobby are my favourite rooms - the former being private, seductive and alluring - and the latter, bright, welcoming and refreshing!

Oh - and that Living Wall ….

Restaurants & Bars


The Bar at The Athenaeum offers over 100 whiskies, cocktails and a full wine menu. Masterclasses in mixology and whisky tasting can be arranged. Learn to make the perfect Manhattan or strawberry daiquiri …

116 at The Athenaeum is home to the hotel's restaurant. Here guests can enjoy an à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add tasting menus, special menus, Afternoon Tea, room service and private dining, the hotel offers it all ..  

Executive Chef Ian Chef heads up the hotel's food & beverage offering. 

The hotel offers menus for every palate and every foible.

Menus: All Day, Set, Breakfast, Vegetarian Breakfast, Vegan Breakfast, Tasting, Vegetarian Tasting, Vegan Tasting, Dessert, Private DIning, Afternoon Tea, Vegetarian Afternoon Tea, Vegan Afternoon Tea, Gluten-free Afternoon Tea, Savoury Afternoon Tea, Wine and Bar. It's impressive … and very inclusive. 

Favourite dishes: Lambton and Jackson Maldon Cured smoked salmon open sandwich, Club sandwich (with skinny fries), mushroom pâté, buttermilk sorbet and the watermelon tuna sashimi - vegan and delicious! These can be all watered down with a fabulous Champagne (Cheers Sally!) or cocktail … off the menu, of course!

The restaurant is modern and bright but The Terrace - al-fresco dining - is a truly special dining location. People watching is at a premium … but complimentary for hotel guests! 


The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences is one of the most sustainability-aware hotel in London.

Installed in 2009 by French botanist & artist - Patrick Blanc - the Living Wall covers covers 329 square metres. In the way the plants are arranged, that is the equivalent of 16 and a half middle sized trees on the wall. These plants purify the air by soaking up greenhouse gases and converting the carbon dioxide into oxygen. It has been calculated that the Living Wall removes 757kg of CO2 and produces 559kg of O2 per year.

Within the hotel & guestrooms - the keycards are made of wood - a reduction of 72kg in plastic and 246kg of CO2. All the hotel's ventilation and heating is carefully controlled. Nearly 35,000 Nespresso capsules are recycled every year. The tea used comes from Tregothnan, Cornwall. The Cornish tea is blended with leaves from Assam and Darjeeling - creating a delightful aroma and taste. No chemicals are used in the tea and the manufacturing process uses renewable energy.

The liquid Molton Brown amenities in the bathrooms are in dispensers - negating the need for 45,000 plastic bottles and reducing the CO2 footprint a further 3 tons a year.

The hotel holds a Earth Check Certification – Silver.

The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences - forward-thinking and fabulous!

Score (if we gave one): 10/10

What We Love

  • Memories - it's what hotel visits are about! Having stayed here for over 25 years, I have seen the changes - Spa, facade, Living Wall - but what has not changed is the service ethic. Staff eager to please and create happy memories for their Guests. The Doormen - through the years Jim and John - may not be there to meet and greet, but there's a new breed, willing to help. Memories: Nelson Mandela, Charlton Heston, Elizabeth Taylor, Sally Bulloch, Bobo Fett, Steven Spielberg, Patrick Duffy, Take That … the list goes on!
  • Townhouses - on Down Street (next to the hotel) are a clutch of red-brick hotel-owned houses. Inside are residences, rooms and apartments - mainly for families and long-term guests. They are superb! With privacy and peace, they are ideal for those seeking comfort … and tranquility. Of course, you can still order room service … and a lot more! If you are staying in the main building, beg, steal or borrow a room on a higher floor where the views are dreamy!
  • Location - Mayfair, Piccadilly, W1. The views - especially from the higher floors - are superb. Green Park - one of London's lungs - sits in front of you with shopping, restaurants, culture and fun to the East, North and West! Great for children and dogs - both can run wild in the Parks, whatever the weather! 

    Varun Sharma

What They Love

  • Individuality – I love that we embrace individuality, from our artwork to our mugs, in our guests and our team. We celebrate the independent spirit in us all and seek to add our personality to everything we do.
  • Living Wall – This is a testament to doing things differently. It was designed by Patrick Blanc in 2009, covering 329 square meters and the equivalent of 16 ½ middle-sized trees on our wall. Hosting a combination of evergreen and deciduous plants, we use a semi-hydroponic system that utilities recycled cloth felt for planting and irrigation. All plants are sourced from UK nurseries and offer a plethora of biodiversity to our local area, including nesting Wren’s last Spring.
  • History – The Athenaeum has a rich history filled with many funny and incredible stories. No matter who you admire, the chances are they have stayed with us and there’s a funny or interesting story to be told. Whilst we never divulge our recent guest stories, we will share some incredible tales from our past.

    Joanne Taylor-Stagg
    General Manager
    The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences helps you find the best offers on any hotel by comparing the prices of all leading hotel suppliers in a single search.

About the author
Varun Sharma
With over 25 years of experience in luxury travel journalism, Varun is responsible for all the content you see on He works closely with all the hotel and airline brands that appear on the website. BBC-trained, Varun has appeared in print, on radio, television, and now online media - having worked for outlets including the BBC, Telegraph (UK), MSNBC, Travel Channel and Cond...
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