Anthony Lee was appointed General Manager of Hotel Café Royal in January 2014, bringing with him over 40 years of experience and a comprehensive understanding of London’s luxury hotel scene.
The Café Royal, once a Bohemian home-from-home for the likes of Wilde, Whistler and Coward, is thriving again under the careful watch of Anthony Lee. The amiable GM knows exactly what to do should summer hay fever or an unexpected heat wave strike. Simple. Head straight to the celebrated Green Bar where the perfect tonic, courtesy of head mixologist, Antonio Catapano, is administered. No prescription required!
“I have always said, cancel your appointment at the doctors and come see Antonio! If you are one of those that also enjoy the finer things in life but still want fun, then join our member’s club at the Café Royal and enjoy a drink in our library bar. The photo which hangs there is evidence of my shopping indulgence and frankly, I plead guilty!
Prior to the Café Royal, Anthony spent nearly 31 years at the Connaught. As General Manager there, he has plenty of tales to tell. These include carrying Grace Kelly’s bags to the hotel’s penthouse, sipping a martini with Cary Grant and walking Lauren Bacall’s dog Sophie.
Anthony describes himself as “a man who loves to shop” adding: “I don’t shop that often, but when I do, I do. Then like all good shoppers that eventually return to their lair, I spread out my ‘kill’ and admire the fruits of the day’s hunt. Then I might hide all the evidence claiming that I’ve had “this little old thing” for years and blame others for not noticing it before!”
The eclectic hunter-gatherer shares his favourite haunts below:
The part I love most about Hermès, aside from the leather goods, is its ties. Now, we men can be a bit staid and boring compared to most women when it comes to fashion but we are catching up fast. Just look at the success of the London Collections Men. When we (men) have to wear a suit, our splash of colour comes by way of a beautiful tie. My favourite shades include a really intense light green, which helps me think ‘cool’ on hot summer days. I once owned a huge collection of Hermès ties but five years ago, I had a clear out and donated around 50 of them to charity. Now I regret it but at least they went to a good cause. I have been lucky to receive many wonderful comments on my ties. As for the rest, I’m still working on it!
Hermès, 155 New Bond Street
William & Son
There is only one William & Son and it sits here on the corner of Bond Street. This family business has been uncompromising in its pursuit of quality and individuality. There are many wonderful shops for jewellery, fine clothing, hunting guns and pieces which make a home truly individual to reflect its owner. But here, all of this sits under one roof. The last gift I received from William & Son was the most beautiful iPad holder. It is crafted in a gorgeous duck egg blue coloured leather and has become a much admired accessory.
The team that work with William and his father are amazing. They guide you through a minefield of choices to find the perfect present. My wife has had her eyes on a pair of earrings for some time and I’m not sure how much longer I can holdout!
William & Son, 34-36 Bruton Street
The two scents I adore are Pomegranate Noir, which for me is more of a winter cologne, and Vetyver for the summer. I could drink the stuff!
Now for the bad news. The brand dropped Vetyver from its range a year or so ago and I immediately went into mourning. I could not believe it, as it was my absolute favourite. Luckily, I have one bottle left in my office, which I keep for special occasions. Once that is gone, well… I caught up with Jo recently, and as usual admired her achievements – from buying back the shop from where she began her business all those years ago, to launching Jo Loves. Good for you Jo and for being the best of British!
Jo Malone, 23 Brook Street
There is nothing quite like this quintessentially British brand anywhere in the world. No other stationer offers the quality and several hundred years of experience as Smythson. It has lifestyle written all over it! I am not normally a writer of letters but when they produce your own personalised stationery in practically any colour and style, you suddenly become more socially outgoing. You’ll find any excuse to drop a little note to anyone you can think of just because you feel the need to tell him or her about your new stationery. Have fun and enjoy this wonderful store and be sure to look into its history to fully appreciate what you are buying into.
Smythson, 40 New Bond Street
Hackett, one of my preferred menswear stores, is located just minutes from where I hide out at work during the day. It has an amazing range of casual clothes and a knack for producing cool and relaxed pieces. Currently, my favourite buys include fabulous jackets, which you can pair with jeans and great casual shirts. Slip on a pair of sunglasses (they have to be Persol!) and together with a chilled glass of wine, you are ready to watch the world go by.
Hackett, 87 Jermyn Street