the hari lobby

Inside the five-star revamp of The Hari, Belgravia

24 Jan 2024 | |By Annabel Harrison

We revisit this gem of a hotel in central London to assess its sustainably-minded refresh, led by interiors queen Tara Bernerd and Il Pampero’s talented new chef

I’m sure The Hari is lovely in the summer – especially its tucked-away, open-air Garden Terrace – but really, winter’s its season. The perfect time of year to show off crackling fires, inviting armchairs, cosy nooks, perfectly orchestrated lighting and jewel-toned furnishings. If this five-star hotel in the heart of Belgravia were a coat (bear with me), it would be a luxurious, floor-length, all-encompassing cashmere number that hugs you close, pours you a cocktail and guarantees a good night will follow. Grey, but make it chic.

The Luxury London team visited The Hari last year and were delighted by its “smart yet sensual spaces” and remarkable art, deeming it as slick and expensive as you’d expect from Belgravia, with a warm, welcoming, modern vibe. We were (easily) enticed back to the Harilela family’s hotel by the promise of a renovation and a new chef and are happy to report that it’s worth the return visit. If, like me, you baulk at the idea of renovating guest rooms in a hotel that only opened in 2016 (occupying the site previously known as Belgraves Hotel), you’ll be reassured by The Hari’s promise that this upgrade has been done with “reimagining and reinventing” at its heart, rather than replacing. 

the hari hotel

Award-winning interior designer Tara Bernerd has swooped back in, having decked the hotel out eight years ago, to wave her aesthetically pleasing wand. We’re told that, under her instruction, the wide-planked wooden floors have been lightened, new bespoke rugs are lying proudly beneath the beds and headboards are newly upholstered. From where I’m standing – in the middle of my suite (suitably spacious for an SW1 postcode) – I can’t tell what’s different but I do know it’s just right. A huge, plush bed with – to my joy – a flat-as-a-pancake pillow as well as fluffy ones (surprisingly rare). Windows overlooking Chesham Place Garden – a glorious sight year-round thanks to its majestic trees far older than me. Great artwork by Testino and Emin. A velvet window seat that’s the perfect spot for a glass of Ruinart, or two. 

Let’s dwell for a moment on sustainability, because the hospitality industry is acutely aware of its impact on the environment. Most five-star hotels are working to reduce this and The Hari is no exception, committed to “achieving environmental and social sustainability within the hotel”. There is always more that can be done but, for now, it’s been awarded Silver Accreditation by EarthCheck Certified, the world’s leading environmental certification and benchmarking program for the travel and tourism industry – a great start. Responsible consumption is showcased by the contents of the mini bar, filled with eco-friendly treats (Two Farmers crisps in compostable packaging, organic fair-trade Seed & Bean chocolate; Awfully Posh peanuts in a biodegradable pot), and amenities courtesy of the ethically-minded Ada Cosmetics. Turn-down mini gifts are similarly well-sourced and considered.

After plundering the mini bar snacks, testing out the empress-worthy bath (allow plenty of time for it to fill) and dressing up, as befits The Hari’s aforementioned cosy-yet-glam-luxe vibe, we pop to the Garden Terrace for a cocktail. The menu is presented on a tablet and, while we could opt for one of the Art Cocktails of the month – Studio 54, the Goddess, Cloud 9, British Bulldog – we are impressionable enough to be drawn to the amusingly named #DrinkFrenchFluently. A winning combination of Grey Goose vodka, St Germain elderflower, Chambord, raspberries and champagne.

On to the Il Pampero restaurant, past bohemian rugs, colour-pop lamps and walls lined with books – the Lobby feels like a modern Belgravian home. It’s busy, decor-wise, but harmonious. The artworks stand out and this is something we noticed last time too. After great success in 2022, The Hari Art Prize, in collaboration with A Space For Art, was held for a second year as part of the hotel’s now-annual rolling art programme, celebrating the global roster of artistic talent attracted to London. 2023’s winner is the talented Kialy Tihngang.

the hari il pampero
il Pampero at The Hari

Supper at Il Pampero is simply delightful. Even before tasting anything from the elegant menu and carefully considered wine list, we’re won over by the vintage glamour of its art deco geometric flooring, beautifully lit central bar, pristine white tablecloths and leather booths. Incoming chef Angelo Albera, formerly of Cantina Del Ponte, Bocca Di Lupo and Amici (in Abu Dhabi), has launched a menu replete with delicious Italian cuisine using locally-sourced produce. Think dishes like pepper-seared beef carpaccio and smoked swordfish, homemade traditional pasta, and butter-soft fish baked in paper (turbot, when we visit). Leave space for the standout tiramisu.

You might think that after such a feast, breakfast may need to be on the light side. To the contrary, we wake ravenous and ready to return to Il Pampero to devour a Hari breakfast: £35 includes a hot drink, juice or smoothie, basket of pastries and (there’s more) a dish from the continental, sweet, savoury or eggs-based options. The pancakes do the trick and we head out, into the cold winter light, to wander the pretty streets of Belgravia, hoping that The Hari does something newsworthy next year to warrant another visit…

Rooms from £284 per night, visit

Read more: The best new hotels opening in London in 2024