Despite the traffic noise, the road is upmarket. It features five-star hotels, such as The Dorchester, Grosvenor House Hotel and InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel, and showrooms for several makes of high-end sports car. The hotels are part of the area known as Mayfair.
Originally a country lane running north-south along what is now the eastern boundary of Hyde Park, it became a fashionable residential address from the eighteenth century onwards. It has views across Hyde Park and a position at the most fashionable western edge of London. It became lined with some of the largest privately owned mansions in London, including the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor House and the Holford family's Dorchester House (demolished in 1929 and replaced by 1931 with The Dorchester, which are now both hotels, and the Marquess of Londonderry's Londonderry House, which has been demolished.
On a corner with Oxford Street, Somerset House (No. 40), built in 1769-70, was successively the town house of Warren Hastings, a former Governor-General of India, the third Earl of Rosebery, and the Dukes of Somerset.
In the 1960s the Lane was widened to three lanes each way either side of a central reservation. This required the demolition of a number of houses at Hyde Park Corner. It claimed land previously in Hyde Park to make room for the multi-lane carriageway. The result was to diminish the appeal of Park Lane as a residential address, as it became one of the busiest and noisiest roads in central London. It has little or none of the countryside atmosphere that once made it popular. The widening of the road distanced the houses on the east side of Park Lane from Hyde Park itself, access to which is now by underpass.
- 'Park Lane', in Survey of London: volume 40: The Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings) (1980), pp. 264-289, accessed 15 November 2010