Q: What is it? A: Formerly one of the hotspots of the Northern Hemisphere. Currently not Madonna’s favourite waterhole. Heck, the Met Bar has even dropped its member’s only policy!
Funny guy shows up.
I’m at the concierge’s desk when he’s making his way through the crowd. He’s in his early 20s, dressed in an Adidas Y-3 running suit which makes him look like a carrot, (it has the same colour). He’s also sporting shades similar to those that once made Bono very insect-like. He wants the attention of the concierge. Or rather: He wants to move the insignificant someone who is me out of the way in order to have his stuff fixed by the concierge. The Terminator-like thug who follows in his tracks mumbles ‘This is (obscure) and he’s not used to wait in line.’ Thugs can be a lot of fun when trying to act tough.
The British gossip websites know where you are at:
According to gossip websites, this hotel is preferred by people like Robbie Williams, Madonna, Posh & Becks, Kate Moss and Gwyneth Paltrow. According to other websites there should be a dozen paparazzi lurking around the entrance at any given time. Not true.
There was a time when the Metropolitan attitude towards their guests was spelled ‘You will now be exposed to excessive coolness and if you don’t like it you’d better leave’. Not so anymore. Compared to my last visit in January 2005 the attitude of the front desk and Vinnie Jones, who is blocking the entrance to the Met Bar, is significantly more low-key.
The insight that it’s not 1997 anymore is refreshing.
There are reasons to like the Metropolitan. It’s not because Madonna is supposed to be doing the flare groove on the dance floor, but because everything is nearly perfect. The rooms overlooking the Hyde Park are without a doubt worth their hefty price tag and at the Nobu the staff is still shouting Irrashaimase! before the restaurant start to deliver (EDIT: a delivery which is quite shaky nowadays). A few findings that caused me to rip out stars: 1) No guest should have to wait for 15 minutes to order a cup of coffee, not even in the lobby of this hotel. 2) The Met Bar must be one of the most overrated bars in the northern hemisphere. Madonna is clearly absent. A dozen severely drunken computer consultants on a conference trip has taken her place.
The universe is not revolving around the Metropolitan any more, but with time it has matured into a very decent place to stay. The concierge is also able to deal with the youngster dressed in the Y-3 suit in a pretty relaxed fashion. If the superstar had not been sporting his insectoid shades, maybe then I’d even had recognized him. If so, I would have said something nice about his latest album.
19 Old Park Lane
London, W1K 1LB,
+44 20 74471000