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This hotel’s fussiness veering towards pretension was not for me



That fabled Parisian den of opulence and hive of hip, Costes, has landed in London. What will we make of this haven for the haute monde, just across from Peter Jones, that bastion of sensible Britishness and the very reverse of chic? 

It was back in 2015 that Cadogan Estates announced a partnership with legendary hotelier Jean-Louis Costes. I admit that I blanched at the news, still traumatised 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 Parisian receptionists. But nothing prepared me for Costes.

I rang the bell. The door was opened by a stunning receptionist wearing little more than a diamond stud in her belly button. The utter disdain with which she regarded Peter Jones Woman on her doorstep has permanently scarred me, though thankfully Jacques Garcia’s Oscar-Wilde-in-an-opium-den interior was so dark that no one really noticed me. 

Fast forward to 2023. The collaboration with Costes has finally come to fruition in a six-floor (the top one is new) fin de siècle former mansion block on the corner of Sloane Gardens. Why the new hotel has been given such a dull name (first it was called One Sloane, now it’s been renamed At Sloane) je ne comprends pas; something to do with wanting to be mysterious, I suspect. M. Costes remains closely involved but prefers to stay in the background. 

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