The Capital, London

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When I planned my last trip back to London, the choice of luxury hotels, boutique hotels and five-star accommodation to feature was quite mind-boggling, but I had it in mind to stay in some different neighbourhoods from the last time I was there. In part this was to reacquaint myself with areas of the UK capital I used to know well, but it was also for sheer convenience. This time I had some shopping to do at Harrods in Knightsbridge, and with only half a day on hand for the task, which is a challenge for anyone who knows the iconic store, it made sense to stay as close by as possible. And it doesn't get any closer than The Capital Hotel.

Flying with Cathay Pacific, and arriving just a few days before my Knightsbridge jaunt, I was still struggling with jet lag. But that wasn't going to slow me down when I had a famous and prestigious enclave of London to explore like a newbie. In between, I had comfortable respite at one of London's most elegant, unique and very English five-star boutique hotels, a property owned by David Levin and now run by his daughter, Kate, which has been welcoming guests for 40 years. The location is ideal; it's tucked away on leafy Basil Street, which runs behind Brompton Road at one end, and up to Sloane Street at the other, and is a stone's throw from both Knightsbridge Tube Station and Hyde Park among other key landmarks.

First impressions of the Capital, which is a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World among others, is that it's a grand hotel which has been somewhat scaled down to miniature size. In fact, it fits into a large townhouse. On arrival you're greeted by a polite, uniformed doorman, who relieves your of your luggage and turns out to be a great source of local information. Then you're welcomed into the petite lobby which feels like a stylish home-away-from home, and from there it takes only minutes to be shown to your room. There is an older style, quaint elevator to get you upstairs, and corridors have squeaky floorboards, all adding to the overall charm.

The Rooms

The hotel is truly boutique with only 49 guest rooms, all individually designed, including eight suites, seven deluxe doubles and one two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite. I'd been allocated a classic double for my overnight stay, which had a king sized bed complete with a super-comfortable Savoir mattress and Egyptian cotton linens. The room also had air-conditioning, but being October when I stayed, I preferred opening the windows and hearing the gentle noises including the rustle of autumn leaf trees from Basil Street; having a hotel room in London with windows which open is a luxury.

The room was quite spacious for an older style hotel, with a bay window flooding the room with autumn light. Decor wise it had a Scottish feel to it, honouring Mr. Levin's heritage, with blue fabric walls, plush blue and white patterned drapes, two fabric easy chairs with cushions, and a blue tartan style throw on the bed. The wood antique furnishings and accents were all rich in colour, with a traditional dresser complete with an oval mirror, and the lovely touch of a single rose in a glass vase. There was also a lovely half bottle of David Levin's white wine too, begging to be opened - yes, he also owns a vineyard. Other amenities in the room included a TV with satellite stations, an umbrella which is always handy for London, complimentary Wi-Fi, and in the bathroom, a plush bathrobe and bath towels, and toiletries from the luxury brand, Templespa.

Other Facilities

The hotel has a famous eatery in Outlaw's at The Capital, which is the first London Michelin-starred restaurant of the award winning chef Nathan Outlaw with a focus on British seafood. It's open Monday to Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, also afternoon tea. The Capital Bar is a popular and elegant hangout, and the hotel offers 24-hour room service, and perks including complimentary shoe shine, complimentary newspapers and a concierge service. For those inclined, guests have access to The Peak Health Club and Spa for 10 UK pounds for a day. David Levin also owns The Levin, a small hotel with just 12 rooms adjacent to The Capital, and The Capital Apartments.

The Verdict

If you have a desire to be in the heart of London, with the designer shopping of Knightsbridge at your doorstep, you can't go wrong with a stay at The Captial. Located in a sleepy street and boutique in size, with friendly and caring staff, it truly feels like the home-away-from home, exactly what the owner, David Levin, first envisaged.

The Capital Hotel is located at 22-24 Basil Street, London SW3, +44 (0)20 7225 0011,

To get to The Capital Hotel, fly Cathay Pacific from Sydney to London via Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific Airways is the 2014 Skytrax Airline of the Year and offers flights to over 190 destinations in 42 countries and territories. From Australia the airline has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from six major Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth - with a choice of flying in economy, premium economy or business class. 

There are four flights daily from Sydney, three flights a day from Melbourne, daily flights from Brisbane, four flights a week from Cairns and Adelaide, and ten flights from Perth. All flights provide connections over the Hong Kong hub to the airline’s worldwide network, including eight European destinations (from March 2015 Zurich will be added, taking the number to nine). From Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific offers 5 daily flights to London, offering a choice of flying in economy, premium economy, business class or first class.

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Joanna Hall