The Connaught
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Where to Have a Truly Bespoke Martini
At this lacquer box of a bar in Mayfair’s luxurious Connaught Hotel, white-gloved bartenders whisk over a martini trolley to create the drink tableside. Guests customize the martini with their choice of gin and homemade single-fragrance bitters. The recently refurbished surroundings, and bar snacks from Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze, round out the experience. 44/20-7499-7070. Read "London Distilled," about the first new gin distillery to be built in London in nearly 200 years.
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The Connaught
For most of the 20th century, the Connaught operated like an unofficial private members club, only allowing guests to stay once they had been recommended by another patron. But with new ownership came new rules. In 2007, the Connaught was incorporated into the Maybourne Hotel Group, which injected more than $100 million into the century-old building and brought the once-reclusive hotel in line with its more welcoming sister properties, Claridge’s and the Berkeley. The result is a hotel that still swells with pedigree, but whose door now swings with the words: “Welcome to The Connaught.” The money was spent well, bringing forth the only Aman Spa outside of Aman Resorts, a Japanese-style garden by Tom Stuart-Smith, and the David Collins–designed penthouse suite, called "The Apartment." French chef Hélène Darroze opened a restaurant here, subsequently winning the hotel two Michelin stars. Some things remain the same, though. Notably, the sweeping mahogany staircase that designer Ralph Lauren created a replica of in his flagship New York store. And the paintings—covering every wall in every room, many given to the hotel by former guests—are a sign, if one were needed, that the Connaught has served guests with good taste well.
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Hip, with history

The Connaught hotel was bound to be stately and stylish: it’s more than 100 years old, set in monied Mayfair and has the royal stamp of approval. Despite a recent revamp, old-fashioned values remain (English grandeur, top-notch butler service, antique furniture) but with modern frills added: flatscreen TVs above the baths, an indoor pool and the UK’s only Aman Spa.

The Connaught boasts Europe’s first Aman Spa, in collaboration with Aman Resorts. Treatments are inspired by China, Thailand, India and the Americas: try a green-tea foot bath, Oriental oil massage or red clay body wrap with Navajo herbs.
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