The Cadogan: 200 Years of History

Words by Belmond Editors

The Cadogan: 200 Years of History

If walls could talk, The Cadogan’s would have more than two centuries of intriguing tales to tell. To hear all about the glamorous stories, head this way.

Our history ties back to Hans Sloane—the legendary man who set the foundations for some of London’s leading landmarks, including the Cadogan Estates. His extensive collection of plant specimens, books, drawings and curiosities were gifted to the nation. They became the basis for the British Museum, the British Library, the Natural History Museum and the Chelsea Physic Garden. You’ll find blue morpho butterflies in each room as a nod to his legacy.

We’ve played host to some of the city’s most colourful characters. Actress and socialite Lillie Langtry entertained the Prince of Wales using a discrete wood-panelled door that you can still use today. As one of the most well-known socialites, she made chic Chelsea her base to entertain the brightest stars in society. She lived at 21 Pont Street, which became The Cadogan in 1895, living there for seven years until 1897. Her bedroom remained with the transition and survives to this day as room 106. Her raffish spirit still lives in the walls, inviting us to live daringly.

Oscar Wilde also walked our halls, famously holding his pied-à-terre in room 118. Here, he would gather with Chelsea’s elite for a cigar at the bar or a late-night soiree. Our hotel was the site of his infamous arrest, immortalised in in John Betjeman’s poem 1937 poem ‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel’: “Mr. Woilde, we ‘ave come for tew take yew / Where felons and criminals dwell: / We must ask yew tew leave with us quoietly / For this is the Cadogan Hotel.”

The wordsmith’s roguish wit and charm prevails at The Cadogan. We’re loyal to our literary influences. Just look at our lift—which features 600 bronze-cast books—or the private curated library in each room, as proof.

Today, Oscar Wilde’s room is our Royal Suite, and the perfect setting for a timeless party. The glamour continued through the decades—our quintessential British charm made us the haunt of choice for the supermodels of the 80s.

Today, each strand of our history is woven together with stunning contemporary design to tell a brand new story. Sink into a plush suite; elegant cornicing and soft colours meet statement lighting and striking works of art. Pick a book from your in-room library—carefully curated to echo our legacy—and curl up in the sitting area, or beside one of the working fireplaces. You’re heartbeats away from the high-end glamour of Knightsbridge and the artistic flair of Chelsea, but here you have a personal sanctuary that feels a world away.

The serenity isn’t only found in the rooms. At The Cadogan you’ll find many ways to wind down after exploring the bustle and colour of London.

Step outside and enjoy privileged access to Cadogan Place Gardens. A green sanctuary in Chelsea and one the city’s best kept secrets, little has changed here since it was laid out in 1886. Sweeping lawns and ornamental planting invite you to stretch out with a book. The tennis courts are the perfect place to work on your serve. We can arrange picnics and provide blankets or board games for you to while away the hours. For traditional pampering, the Spa Suite offers a choice of luxurious massages, facials and beauty treatments.

Indulgence can be hungry work, but at The Cadogan we have something for every appetite. Tap into your sense of nostalgia with Afternoon Tea at Cadogan’s, a stylish lounge that offers an interpretation of the timeless classic. Sip a coffee while people watching on the terrace.

Reserve a table at The LaLee and experience sophisticated European cuisine. From a delicious breakfast to an aperitif at dusk, The LaLee makes use of fresh ingredients and traditional recipes from across the continent.

After, why not saunter through to The Bar and enjoy a classic, no-fuss cocktail. Pull up a stool and trade stories with the barman, or bring your nearest and dearest to a cosy table. The setting is ideal for a trip down memory lane.

The night is yours to conquer. From our base you’re perfectly positioned to experience the delights of London after-dark; but perhaps your plush room is just too tempting. Whichever you pick, we’ll help you make the most of it. As Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world.” And at The Cadogan, we ensure every moment is a treasure.

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