100 Queen’s Gate is part of the Curio Collection of hotels by Hilton. The curio (a rare or intriguing object) was a concept close to the heart of William Alexander, a lawyer well known not only for his collections of oriental jewels but for his 'boundless liberality', shown when he donated £80,000 to pay for the National Portrait Gallery's present building. Alexander owned 100 Queen’s Gate at the end of the nineteenth century and the hotel is designed to reflect his passion, with antique décor found throughout. It is therefore quite likely that guests to 100 Queen's Gate Hotel — London will find themselves similarly intrigued by west London’s antique specialists – Grays Antiques Centre.
Established by Bennie Gray in 1977, Grays Antiques has always been found in the heart of Mayfair. Located in a grade-two listed terracotta building that was once a 19th-century lavatory showroom, the venue has become the epicentre of the UK’s art and antique dealing scene. After moving into the derelict space, Gray actually discovered the River Tyburn running through the basement of the building. Being fond of it, he decided to keep it! Today, the river still flows through an open conduit amongst the labyrinth of stalls and is home to a number of goldfish.
Playing host to more than 200 dealers over two levels, any manner of items can be stumbled across in this antiques mecca. Housed amongst the many stalls, however, are a number of different specialities. For the fashionistas amongst us, vintage clothing is well represented inside the velvet-lined walls of ‘Vintage Modes’ – a fashion boutique holding residence within the store and offering couture from the Victorian era to the ‘90s. Grays is also renowned for its fine jewellery and in particular, its selection of engagement rings – from 18th-century rose-cut diamonds to elegant Art Deco and contemporary classics. For more general collector’s items, there is everything from porcelain dolls and Asian art to designer watches. Most of the stalls are part of The Association of Art and Antique Dealers and the British Antique Dealers’ Association, so experts are usually on hand to guide you through your visit.
How to get there? Located close to Bond Street tube station, the best way to travel to Grays from the hotel is by tube. Hop on the eastbound Piccadilly line at South Kensington and switch at Green Park for the Jubilee line. One stop then takes you to Bond Street. Alternatively, a 20-minute taxi from the hotel will take you straight to the front door.