The five-star Carlton Tower Hotel is a flexible host for events of all kinds, says Astrid Mannion
Event organisers may be spoilt for choice when it comes to London hotels, but at five-star level, it’s often a matter of choosing between opulent traditionalism and sleek modernity. So, who takes
care of those of us who like a bit of both? Well, the Carlton Tower does. Here’s a hotel that can cater for anything from sumptuous banquets in a ballroom dotted with Viennese crystal chandeliers
to modern meetings in a room designed by Madonna’s and the restaurant industry’s favourite interior designer, David Collins – and a good few things in between (there’s even a reception suite with
an indoor waterfall!).
The vital statistics below may list only six function rooms, but with a varied range of beautifully decorated restaurants and suites adding to the venue’s facilities, this just-off-Sloane-Street
property is a convenient one-stop shop, whether you’re looking for something large or small, contemporary or traditional, intimate or spacious, formal or informal, private or corporate. Those
inspired by this issue’s wedding feature, for instance, will be pleased to find that the property holds a civil licence and can lure brides with a gorgeous in-house spa and swimming pool in which
to soothe prenuptial nerves.
Service is as accommodating as the facilities. ‘What impressed us most about the Carlton Tower, was the flexibility,’ says a bride, who held her August wedding for 200 guests in the Ballroom last
‘Elsewhere, packages are highly standardised and it’s a big problem – or costs a fortune – to deviate from them. We didn’t get that here,’ explains the satisfied bride, who valued having a
dedicated member of staff managing her big day. ‘I was made to feel as though mine was the only wedding in the world,’ she enthuses.
As can only be expected from a venue that deals so masterfully with the most notoriously demanding of event organisers (brides to be), corporate bookings are in safe hands, too. ‘The Carlton Tower
is undoubtedly one of London’s best venues for gala dinners,’ says Diana Paterson of Risk Waters Group, who regularly holds events at the hotel. Singling out the standard of service, competitive
pricing and flexibility of meeting space as the main plus-points, Paterson says she would definitely recommend the place to other event organisers, adding: ‘But not to too many, as we may not be
able to get future availability!’
One key reason why customers keep coming back to the hotel is that food is such a strongpoint. Keen to make sure guests are served things that they will not have eaten the week before, Simon Young,
the newly appointed executive chef, regularly updates his banqueting menus, perhaps offering home-smoked chicken with celeriac remoulade and beetroot confit, ahead of Oriental salmon with pak choy
and sesame-roasted potatoes, and Bailey’s cheesecake with white chocolate and pecan ice-cream.
‘Banqueting in general tends to be traditional but we have brought some funkiness and modern style to our offerings,’ he explains. It’s an approach that appears to be working: Paterson maintains
the Carlton Tower is ‘one of the best venues for conference catering’. Right, that’s the cake iced, then. Our advice is to book that show-round now before word gets out about this flexible