I didn’t want this hotel to focus on bias

The new At Sloane hotel is located in a former Town Hall block on the corner of Sloane Gardens – Will Pryce

That elegant ruffian is in Paris and the hip-hopped Costes is landed in London. What are we to make of this haven for the haute monde, just across from Peter Jones, that bastion of sensible Britishness and the back of chic?

It was back in 2015 that Cadogan Estates announced a partnership with renowned hotelier Jean-Louis Costes. I admit that I was dealing with the news, still traumatized by my first and only visit to his Rue Saint-Honoré hotel.

It was 1996. I was in the city to compile a hotel guide and well used to the nonchalant froideur of impossibly chic Paris receptionists. But nothing prepared me for Costs.

I rang the bell. The door was opened by a gorgeous receptionist wearing little more than a diamond stud in her belly button. All the disdain she showed Peter Jones Mrs. on the doorstep really put me off, although Jacques Garcia’s Oscar-Wilde-in-the-opium-den interior was so dark that no one noticed I really noticed.

Fast forward to 2023. The collaboration with Costes has finally come to fruition in a six-storey (the tallest is new) fin de siècle ex-Mansion block on the corner of Sloane Gardens. Why was the new hotel given such an obscure name (it was originally called One Sloane, now it has been renamed At Sloane) je ne comprends pas; something to do with wanting to be mysterious, I suspect. M. Costes is always closely involved but prefers to stay in the background.

At the Sloane London hotelAt the Sloane London hotel

Fiona praises the hotel for its elegant design and great attention to detail

If there is a center of my world, it is Sloane Square. I was raised in a street just behind Peter Jones (or the Mothership as we aficionados know it) where my father was the manager. This is my ‘hood, one that I have seen evolve from a neighborhood for bohos and artists in the 1960s, to the mid-Swinging Sixties, to the days in the 1980s when Sloane Rangers ruled the roost until now, so high-. end as Bond Street, where Tiffany, Cartier and Balenciaga rub shoulders. Surely nothing could go wrong this time at the Costes hotel.

“You can’t come in,” said the (naturally) handsome hotel doorman to my grown son who was joining me for dinner. “We have a dress code here. chic Paris.”

Have you ever been judged and banned? And on your own patch? It’s a terrible feeling. “You’re not good enough for us, so go away,” he told my son, who is on the spectrum and only wears certain clothes, in this case a black suit. With all my Cost trauma coming back, I explained this to the elegant staff (no bare center). They were kind; we were in, but it was hardly a great start.

At the Sloane London hotelAt the Sloane London hotel

The hotel restaurant has a strict ‘Chic Parisian’ dress code

For those of you chic enough to gain entry, what will you find behind the listed 1889 red brick facade? Rarely have I come across a hotel so elegantly designed, with attention to detail, from the 21 specially commissioned carpet patterns to the curated music, house perfume and the “Love” button by your bed to dim the lights . Created by François-Joseph Graf, an aesthete and art collector, whose work is mainly as a decorator for private clients and whose range of handbags is as jewel-like as his interiors.

The walls of the winding staircase are decorated with black and white photos of famous couples (and there is one in each of the 30 rooms: Bogart and Bacall looked down on me). There are antiques, trompe l’oeil finishes, lacquered surfaces, beautiful books, Benson lamps and furniture reminiscent of Mackintosh and Godwin, as well as stained glass and leaded windows specially made in Chartres.

At the Sloane London hotelAt the Sloane London hotel

The hotel and its bar have become a ‘sensible destination for London’s fashionable society’ – Will Pryce

On the ground floor, there is a long, beautiful table accouted in front of a neo-Greek lobby. It is meant to be shared with guests alongside the staff at their laptops, but I felt awkward staying there. In the basement, the sultry, hedonistic bar, where waiters wear long black backless dresses, is already a sensible destination for London’s fashionable society.

The bedrooms, with off-white paneling on the walls, are packed with detail and laid out like mini-apartments, with false doors that seem to lead to another room. My Chambre Sloane (£1,500 per night) had an entrance lobby, dressing room, desk, sofa, armchairs and a beautiful Art Nouveau bathroom reminiscent of those – now gone – at Claridges. It was homely and full of interest, but felt cluttered and less than it was.

At the Sloane London hotelAt the Sloane London hotel

The bedrooms feature off-white paneling and plenty of detail – Will Pryce

The top floor restaurant is the most impressive, inspired by artist Whistler’s 1876 Peacock Room. Don’t wave your hands here: the Japanese-style shelves are packed with more than 500 precisely placed vases. Our modern French dishes were perfect, with matching French wines, and great service.

One can’t help but admire Ag Sloane, and appreciate its beauty, its idiosyncrasy and its distinctive personality among London hotels, but its fussiness was not veering to pretension for me and it was not particularly “Cost ” either. After breakfast, I walked home – to the Maternity.


At Sloane (020 3750 0750; onesloane.co.uk) doubles are offered from £600, one room.

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