Not many places to stay in London can boast such a view: the five-star Athenaeum’s bedrooms either back onto the royal parks or smart Mayfair, while floor-to-ceiling windows, mirrored walls and Juliet balconies (in parkview rooms) help to bring outside London in. Even the Art Deco building’s elegant façade is awash with verdant greenery thanks to an eight-storey ‘vertical garden’. Once the Athenaeum Club (where MPs and Lords made merry in the name of promoting wisdom) and then, when owned by a film company, a Hollywood hangout (for the likes of Brando, Bacall, Beatty), it’s been a family-run hotel since the 1990s, though the A-listers never left thanks to its friendly atmosphere and apartments with private entrances (mostly surprisingly good value given the location). Even standard rooms feel special; contemporary styling, Bose sound systems and 42-inch plasma TVs, and free ‘extras’ (unlimited soft drinks and nibbles from the huge minibars, newspapers, WiFi) make for a stylish home-from-home. The all-day restaurant serves trad British dishes and a delightfully frothy, award-winning Laduree afternoon tea, while there’s more manly fare in the Whisky Bar, with over 270 varieties of the stuff as well as virtually ever other beverage known to man. After which, a bit of park air might be welcome.