London has a great deal to offer in surprising and delighting diehard fans of the silver screen. For one thing, it is a fabulous film set as our recent review of the best movies which use London as a backdrop highlighted.
But as well as numerous film-related events in the capital, several London hotels even boast their own cinemas. Here we look at some of the best, as well as some attractions that a film fanatic in London shouldn’t miss.
The Soho Hotel features not one but two screening rooms, one of which is equipped with the latest in 3D technology. Both rooms offer comfortable leather seating and a premium viewing experience. The Firmdale Group (which owns the hotel) offers a ‘Weekend Film Club’ at all its London hotels. Guests at the Soho Hotel can enjoy a three course lunch, dinner or champagne afternoon tea before snuggling up for the screening.
Films range from timeless classics to the latest releases. The Soho Hotel also hosts one of this blog’s favourite London hotel bars.
The May Fair Hotel
The onsite cinema at the May Fair is a grand affair with comfy seating for up to 200, making it one of the largest private screening rooms in London.
Relax, sit back and enjoy the entertainment on Italian leather armchairs with proper armrests and lots of leg room. The May Fair’s cinema also leads the way in terms of technology and is capable of showing films in 3D.
The May Fair Hotel has been an official partner of the BFI London Film Festival in recent years and has a long film industry heritage – in the 1950s the hotel was owned by the Danziger Brothers, who were famous movie impresarios and investors. It also has a reputation as a celebrity hotel.
Covent Garden Hotel
Also part of the Firmdale group, the Covent Garden Hotel has a 47-seat cinema kitted out with the latest audio-visual cinema technology.
Its Saturday night Film Club includes either a champagne afternoon tea or a two course dinner, priced at £35 per person. The Film Club is open both to guests and the public. Why not stay in the stylish Loft Suite afterwards?
Its ‘Moet Movies on the Menu’ offers an exclusive viewing experience on Friday and Saturday nights, featuring a mix of classic films and current blockbusters. Guests can enjoy a glass or two of champagne and a 3 course meal at the hotel’s highly-rated Axis at One Aldwych restaurant, before settling in to the luxuriously spacious leather seats to watch the film.
The hotel also hires out its screening room for private screenings and parties. It’s one of the original and best London design hotels.
Charlotte Street Hotel
The Charlotte Street Hotel has a high-tech screening room, again with premium leather seats and generous leg room. On Sunday evenings the hotel offers a three course lunch or dinner followed by the film of the week – just like the other Firmdale Film Club events. Guests can also opt for champagne afternoon tea or a bar platter with cocktails.
London hotels which have featured in the movies
Did you know that Michael Caine’s Charlie Croker character in the Italian Job spent his first day out of prison in Suite 602 of the Lancaster London?
Or that Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 classic Eyes Wide Shut made use of the most expensive suite at The Lanesborough?
Other attractions for film fans in London
Film buffs visiting London should also check out what the British Film Institute (BFI) has to offer. At the BFI IMAX cinema for example, filmgoers can enjoy a unique cinematic experience and watch the latest blockbusters and 3D films on a screen 20 metres high and 26 metres wide.
The BFI Southbank meanwhile has 3 screens showing classic films from the archive and independent releases not shown in mainstream cinemas.
Over in Leicester Square, visitors can indulge in a spot of stargazing as actors, directors and celebrities arrive for the latest film premieres at the high-capacity Odeon and Empire cinemas. The W London Leicester Square is ideally located for such events and handy for some secret London wine bars too. It also has its own 38-seater private screening room.
If you find yourself in Leicester Square then don’t forget to check out London’s best-value cinema – the Prince Charles in Leicester Place.
Finally, if you’re in London in October, don’t miss the screenings and events across the capital for the annual BFI London Film Festival. There are also a number of smaller independent film festivals which take place throughout the year, including several celebrating foreign-language cinema.
Photo credits: Firmdale Hotels, One Aldwych, the May Fair Hotel, W Hotels.