Sleepover: Athenaeum Apartments, London

A night in the centre of London

It's in the heart of London's West End, minutes from the shops. And when you've pounded enough pavements, Green Park is just across the road for a run around.

Where is it?

In the heart of London's West End, minutes from the shops. And when you've pounded enough pavements, Green Park is just across the road for a run around.

What's it like?

When is a hotel room not a hotel room? When it's an apartment. All the convenience of a hotel and your own kitchen, too. Set in a row of townhouses just off Piccadilly, the Athenaeum apartments were originally run as a private club. They still feel quite grand.

What's its USP?

The perfect base for a family trip to the capital. Clear away the more fragile objects and there's lots of room for tots to play, and older late-risers can be left to sort out their own breakfast. Having a kitchen means you can take a night off paying restaurant prices for the whole family.

Ambience?

Private. Feel free to come and go without the watchful eye of reception.

Service?

Efficient, if a bit impersonal. Room service applies just as it does in the hotel. Children get a welcome pack on arrival, including free teddy.

Rooms?

This is a traditional London hotel, so the décor is high-quality chintz. The sitting rooms have a separate dining area and are furnished with family-size sofas, TV, video and hi-fi. The small, well-equipped kitchen has a washing machine, saving you on hotel prices for laundry. But hide the contents of the fridge: they come with a mini-bar tariff. It has 34 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with sofa beds in some. Prices from £299 per night for a one-bedroom apartment, including breakfast and use of the gym and health spa.

Food and drink?

Apart from the millions of options on your doorstep the hotel has the Windsor Lounge for 24-hour snacking and Bullochs for dinner. Cookies and milk are served at bedtime for youngsters. If you've got small children, have dinner served in your room. It's pricey at £7.95 for starters and £18.95 for main courses, but then you've saved on the babysitting. We chose Thai duck salad and carpaccio of beef fillet, followed by fillet steak with goose liver and truffles and dover sole with Béarnaise sauce. Ask for dessert to be served later: our ice cream didn't survive in the fridge.

Clientele?

You'll be lucky to see anyone, but judging from the main hotel reception the usual international mix of tourists.

Things to do?

The whole of London is at your feet. There are plenty of sights nearby, most notably Buckingham Palace. Shopaholic teenagers can head west for the King's Road, or east for Soho and Covent Garden.

Address?

Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments, 116 Piccadilly, London W1J 7BJ (020-7499 3464; www.athenaeumhotel.com).

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