Welcome to Checking In, a new review series in which our editors and contributors rate the best new (and revamped) luxury hotels based on a rigorous—and occasionally tongue-in-cheek—10-point system: Each question answered “yes” gets one point. Will room service bring you caviar? Does your suite have its own butler? Does the bathroom have a bidet? Find out below.
The hotel: The Twenty Two, London
Describe the property in three words: Glamorous, soigné, welcoming
What’s the deal?
Named for its very swish address at 22 Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, the 31-key property, which opened in April, is one of a smattering of hotels-slash-members-clubs that have opened in London—and across the globe—in recent years. As with the rest, you’re an honorary member during your stay. But unlike some other clubs nearby, there’s no dress code, and, thankfully, no one on the staff is going to call you sir or ma’am.
The interiors follow that ethos. It’s like staying with your wealthiest friend’s remarkably with-it Italian grandmother: The place is up to date, but the decorator clearly understands that some classics (black-and-white marble chessboard tiles, velvet-upholstered armchairs, crystal chandeliers) have endured for a reason.
The best room: The Mews House. With its own entrance on Lees Place and nearly 900 square feet spread across two levels, it’s the most private and largest accommodation on offer. It also has the most calming design: While other rooms are liberal with red velvet and intricately patterned wallpaper, this one is dressed entirely in soothing shades of blue.
Did they greet you by name at check-in?
Yes. In fact, the doormen actually ran to our rescue when our Uber driver took us to the wrong property (the Four Seasons residences down the street) and brusquely dumped our bags on the pavement.
Was a welcome drink ready and waiting when you arrived? (Bonus point if it wasn’t just fruit juice.)
No, but, even better, the front desk took our order (a cafetiere of Americano and two chilled bottles of sparkling water) at check-in, and a butler brought it to our room within a few minutes. The coffee was so delicious, we’re giving them a bonus point here.
Is there a private butler for every room?
No. Each floor shares a butler, which helps underscore the service approach: It’s attentive but not overly formal. The hotel relies on an old service trick: a facebook of guests, where staffers can notate preferences—as I spotted one of the front desk team doing when I took the stairs one day.
Is the sheet thread count higher than 300?
Yes. The crisp, smooth 400 thread-count Rivolta Carmigiani sheets are the same ones you’ll find at Casa Cipriani in New York, the Crillon in Paris and a spate of other five-star stays. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke …
Is there a heated floor in the bathroom? What about a bidet?
Yes. The marble tiles are luxuriously warm. There aren’t bidets but—unrelated—the very deep tubs are, at full capacity, voluminous enough for a grown man to float in.
Are the toiletries full-sized?
Yes. The hand wash, body lotion and bath salts are housed in refillable canisters, but the custom-made shampoo, conditioner and body wash are in smaller, travel-sized tubes. (Yes, I did take them with me, which is likely the point.)
Is there a private pool for the room’s exclusive use? How are the spa and gym?
No. There’s not a pool, gym or spa in the entire place. But let’s be honest: No matter where you’re staying in London, you’re almost always going to get a better facial at Harrods, and did you really want to work out during your trip? Thought so.
Do you want to spend Friday night in the lobby bar?
Yes. If you like people-watching—and that’s half the point of international travel—order one of the ceremoniously made cocktails and grab a booth near the corner of the L-shaped space, called the Living Room. It’s the perfect spot to watch the comings and goings of a glittering assemblage of locals and visitors alike. (Jeff Bezos, Tom Cruise and the Marchioness of Bath have all been spotted inside.)
Is there caviar on the room service menu? If so, what kind?
Yes. There is, but only as an addition to the scrambled eggs on toast available at breakfast. The specific kind changes, so you’d be wise to ask what’s available when you make your booking.
Would you buy the hotel if you could?
Yes. In a heartbeat—but I doubt its founder, Darius Namdar, is interested in selling. After all, he hasn’t even hit the one-year mark yet, but the place is marvelously devoid of the kinks that plague so many new properties. I’d wager he’s going to enjoy being master of this special house for a good long while.
What Our Score Means:
1-3: Fire your travel agent if they suggest you stay here.
4-6: Solid if you’re in a pinch—but only if you’re in a pinch.
7-8: Very good. We’d stay here again and recommend it without qualms.
9-10: Forget booking a week. When can we move in permanently?