People are often intimidated by hotels. They imagine that the Swiss naval officers opening the taxi doors are a reflection of the dress code within. Have no fear as far as the Hyde Park Hotel is concerned; it may be opposite Harvey Nichols but the clientele appears to have gathered for the annual Worst Dressed Person in Knightsbridge award: the Ferrari bar plays host to the finalists.

The reassuringly unstylish air and the plump, chintzy sofas make this a good place to cosset a maiden aunt in town for the day - taxi drivers always know where hotels are and besides, where else can the old girl choose between four brands of gin? An unimaginative but very sound selection of nibbles (crisps, mixed nuts, pistachios and cheeselets) accompany your Beefeater and tonic (pounds 4.80) or glass of wine (pounds 3.50).

The Ferrari Bar, Hyde Park Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge SW1 (071-235 2000).

Tomorrow: The Waldorf Hotel, Aldwych WC2.

(Photograph omitted)