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Have your cake and eat it at London's Grosvenor House

Grosvenor House cheesecake
Grosvenor House cheesecake

By Martin Breen

After tasting the cheesecake at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House hotel in London, actor Sean Penn said "it's not a cheesecake, it's a religion".

Having just eaten what many (myself now included) rate as the best cheesecake in the world at the five-star hotel, I can wholeheartedly agree.

Grosvenor House is located on Park Lane - an address you will instantly recognise if you have ever played Monopoly because it is one of the most coveted spots on the board.

As well as luxury, history is at the heart of this hotel, the former London residence of the Dukes of Westminster, in one of the capital city's most prestigious addresses.

Opened in 1929, it was a favourite of the London society set, with guests in the early days including the Queen Mother and Ella Fitzgerald.

Its grand ballroom The Great Room, which is London's largest banqueting hall, was originally an ice rink and is where Queen Elizabeth learned to skate aged seven. The Beatles also performed at the hotel in the 1960s.

Today it is used for some of the biggest events and awards ceremonies in the country, including the Baftas, with guests there in recent years having included practically every major personality in sport, film and TV.

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Among their visitors they have counted not only members of the Royal Family but Barack Obama and film and music stars such as Ed Sheeran, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio.

So, don't be surprised if you bump into an A-lister or two during your stay at the hotel, which this year celebrates its 90th anniversary.

When you step through the revolving doors, you are struck by the building's sheer size and grandeur, with a vast lobby and an astonishing seven miles of corridors upstairs leading to 494 bedrooms and suites.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House. Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel
JW Marriott Grosvenor House. Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel

I stayed in a palatial suite that was the size of a large apartment and had everything I needed.

The plush pillow-top beds were super comfy and it would have been easy to lock myself away for my whole stay because it really was a home from home.

I was seriously tempted to order room service because the room was so beautiful, but I had heard so many good reports about and reviews of the JW Steakhouse downstairs that I needed to try it for myself.

I was hugely glad I did because my dinner there was absolutely amazing.

As the name of the eatery suggests, steaks are big business here and it specialises in tender hand-cut selections of dry-aged American USDA prime beef.

The team sources the best UK and US meat for the steaks. The beef is from Creekstone in the US and their Butcher's British cuts are from family suppliers Macken Brothers, of Chiswick.

There is a choice of seven steaks , including the fillet, porterhouse, rib eye, New York strip, Kansas City strip, flat iron Steak and the tomahawk rib eye.

When you sit down to peruse the menus, try the JW Steakhouse's Parker house rolls. These light, buttery rolls, crusted with sea-salt, are absolutely delicious.

After one of those I tried their signature starter, the JW Shrimp and avocado cocktail. The 2019 take on the 1970s classic is served in a large glass packed full of shrimp, lettuce, avocado and tomato, served with a Marie Rose sauce and topped with caviar.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House. Family Room and Deluxe Suite, Lights on 2
JW Marriott Grosvenor House. Family Room and Deluxe Suite, Lights on 2

I didn't have the appetite to try the restaurant's signature dish - a 32oz on-the-bone rib eye steak known as the tomahawk - so I opted for a 14oz bone-in Kansas City strip steak.

It was cooked perfectly medium, as requested, and the tender piece of meat was one of the best steaks I have ever had. It was served with truffle salt chips, which were a taste sensation.

For dessert I had the aforementioned vanilla cheesecake, of which they sell around 40,000 a year - they are also available for takeaway from the coffee shop close to the entrance. It costs from £12.50 for a person-sized one to take away, but in the restaurant the serving was a whole cheesecake designed to share between two (personally, I think it would serve four). The creamy and rich dessert was so good that I had the staff keep the remainder in the fridge, so I could bring it home with me.

I was completely stuffed after an amazing meal and a perfect dining experience.

Not only is hotel's food offering something special, but so too are the drinks.

If you like bourbon, the Steakhouse has the best collection of it I have ever seen, including the world's first Jim Beam single-barrel bourbon and more than 160 rare, pre-Prohibition, single-barrel and small-batch bourbons.

JW Marriott Grosvenor House. Red Bar
JW Marriott Grosvenor House. Red Bar

You should also try out the Red Bar, which is a bar where everything is a shade of red, from the leather seats to the walls. It also has a huge selection of creative cocktails and other drinks.

The hotel's award-winning afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the Park Room, which offers views onto the street outside towards Hyde Park.

It is also a perfect spot to partake in a bit of people-watching as the fantastic hotel pianist plays a few tunes in the background.

While you will definitely not want to leave this iconic property, there is just so much to see and do in London that you have to explore.

The Grosvenor House is only a few minutes' walk to Oxford Street - which at one and a half miles long is Europe's busiest shopping street - Regent Street and Bond Street. Every shop to suit every budget can be found in this area.

Marble Arch tube is also just up the street, so the hotel is a perfect base from which to venture out across the city, whether to see attractions such as Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, any of the many museums or a West End Show. Recommended shows include Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre, All About Eve at the Noel Coward Theatre and Grief is a Thing with Feathers at the Barbican.

The only problem you have to wrestle with in London is how to cram as much as possible into your visit.

Martin stayed at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London, 86-90 Park Lane, London. Contact it on 020 74996363 or, for more information and to book, visit www.london grosvenorhouse.com

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