This is a hotel where attention to every detail is the norm rather than the exception; where staff will remember not only your name but also your favorite drink; where nothing is too much trouble and where you will instantly feel at home. This is exactly what 41 in London manages to achieve, and more.
Even before we had arrived the preparations had begun to make sure our stay was as perfect as possible.
Into my inbox had dropped a letter, asking about our likes and dislikes, even going so far as to inquire if we had any preferences about the type of pillows on the bed. And when we arrived it was clear from the little touches in our suite that someone had taken note of all of it.
It felt like we were staying in a friend's incredibly stylish home. And 41 is certainly stylish. A chic monochrome theme runs throughout the hotel making it feel sleek and modern. And there are plenty of hi-tech touches in the rooms such as iPod docking stations and cordless phones that can be carried round the hotel. Our suite even had a television that rose seamlessly from the foot of the bed at the touch of a button.
But, in spite of this, 41 is in no way one of those uber-cool establishments that is so centered around state-of-the-art technology and cutting edge design that it loses the personal touch and never feel quite makes you feel comfortable. In fact it is quite the opposite. Hotel 41 has a very classic, even traditional, feel, with an open fire, wood panelling and book-lined shelves in the lounge and I felt as if the 21st century touches had been added not to become the focus of the 41 experience, but simply to enhance it.
But then almost everything at 41 felt as if it had been designed to make the experience of staying there just that little bit better than that of any other hotel. With just 30 rooms and staff outnumbering guests two to one, it is clear that the whole ethos of the hotel is about exceptional service, and delivering thoughtful touches.
In the afternoons an array of mouthwatering snacks, from crisps to beautifully packaged little parcels of nuts and sweets, to indulgent chocolates are laid out in the lounge for guests to help themselves. Later in the evening you are invited to "Plunder the Pantry" as yet more goodies such as charcuterie plates, cheese and bread are provided to satisfy any evening munchies.
The phrase "hidden gem" is a very overused phrase when describing hotels, and yet on this occasion it really does seem to fit the bill. 41 is in an enviable location on Buckingham Palace Road, overlooking the Royal Mews and just a short walk from Victoria station. But most people would hardly notice it is there. While there is a small-but-perfectly-formed reception area on the ground floor, the rest of the hotel is hidden away from public view on the fifth floor of the building (the rest of the building is taken up by the neighboring Rubens hotel).
On arrival you are swiftly whisked upstairs, away from the busy London streets, to the oasis of calm that is 41. Check in is done not in some soulless hotel lobby, but in the lounge accompanied by a welcome drink, while your luggage is taken straight to your room. It's details such as this which help to give 41 a real feeling of exclusivity and privacy as well as the sense that you have stumbled on a wonderful secret.
There are so many hotels in London it is difficult to stand out, but to me 41 really does shine. I can honestly say that I have never had such friendly, attentive service in any other hotel, not just in London, but around the world. Every moment in 41 made me feel special, and as far as I'm concerned, that makes 41 special too.