Note: the article below was published in 2011. We’ve since posted an up-to-date rundown of new London hotels in 2012 with lovely photos.
There is no doubt that new luxury hotels have a fascinating allure…and as the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics continues, it seems the UK capital may be heading into a golden era of ultra-deluxe hospitality.
According to accountancy firm PwC, 18 luxury London hotels are currently being developed, creating an estimated 2,400 additional rooms and suites.
In recent months, several big name luxury hotels have opened their doors, while many other exciting five star hotels are slated to open throughout this year and next. Here we take a look at some of the latest additions to London’s red hot hotel scene; as well as the openings which will soon be cementing the city’s position at the cutting edge of upscale hospitality.
Here then is our top 10 (in no particular order) of the most exciting recently-opened and upcoming luxury London hotels…
First opened in 1889, The Savoy is certainly no newcomer to the game and was in fact one of London’s original grand luxury hotels. Having re-opened in October last year after a multi-million pound restoration, it has gained a new lease of life and is giving the young pretenders a run for their money.
Thanks to the hotel’s enviable location, many of its 268 rooms have great river views. The Savoy Grill and River Restaurant offer attractive fine dining, while old favourite the American Bar (which poached Barman of the Year Erik Lorincz from the Connaught Bar) will make any drink you care to name.
Four Seasons Park Lane
Also recently refurbished to the tune of an estimated £125 million, Mayfair’s Four Seasons Park Lane re-opened in January this year. Sandwiched between Hyde Park and Green Park, the hotel offers a blend of traditional elegance and modern style, topped off with a visually indulgent glass-walled rooftop spa. This high luxury is further enhanced by the hotel’s Amaranto Italian restaurant, and the convenience of booking theatre tickets for any London show via the dedicated Four Seasons Theatre Desk.
W London Leicester Square
The W opened in the heart of London’s Theatreland in February and features 192 sleekly modern rooms. Rooms are categorised as ‘wonderful’, ‘spectacular’ and ‘fabulous’, while the hotel’s suites have been given equally self-assured titles and staff are handpicked to be “city insiders”.
The emphasis here is on contemporary luxury, convenience and comfort, with hi-tech amenities including 32” LCD televisions, iPod docking stations and optional in-room high-speed internet access.
Reflecting its location amidst movie premieres and star-studded events on Leicester Square, the hotel has its own 38-seat private screening room with 3D capabilities – one of a number of London hotels with cinemas.
Evening entertainment is also in plentiful supply, with the hotel’s Wyld Bar and W Lounge Bar providing drinks and live DJs well into the night.
St Pancras Renaissance
London’s newest luxury hotel, the visually-stunning St Pancras Renaissance has just opened its doors to a handful of specially-invited guests, while public bookings are now also being taken.
Located right by St Pancras International train station, the capital’s newest hotel is also one of its oldest railway hotels. Once amongst the finest of Victorian London’s hotels, the iconic red-brick gothic architecture of the former Midland Grand has been painstakingly restored at a cost of £150 million. Originally designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the hotel’s official opening ceremony will be held on May 5 – exactly 138 years since the Midland Grand first opened its doors to the cream of Victorian society, and 76 years since the historic building was last used as a hotel.
Continuing the motif of Victorian era architecture-meets-21st century luxury, the Corinthia London will soon open its doors within the former home of the Hotel Metropole, which itself opened for the first time in 1885.
Currently accepting reservations for dates from April 2nd onwards, the hotel’s brochure describes it as offering “uncompromising standards of luxury within a 21st century grand hotel.” The hotel will have 294 lavishly decorated rooms, a restored Victorian ballroom, expansive ESPA Life spa, two restaurants and a cocktail bar known as the Bassoon Bar.
Bizarrely, the Corinthia London won an award before even opening!
St John Hotel
Also opening in early April, the St John Hotel promises a more down-to-earth experience, yet one which is no less luxurious.
Occupying the former premises of the famous Manzi’s seafood restaurant on Leicester Street, the building has been redesigned and rebuilt by Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson, fresh from their success with the St John Restaurant and St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfield.
Minimalist comfort is the key theme, as described succinctly on the hotel website: “Rooms at the St John Hotel are designed to have everything the traveller needs and nothing they do not. The lights switch on and off, the taps go from hot to cold and there’s more than a touch of glamour.”
Eccleston Square Hotel
Guests are unlikely to find anything minimalist about their stay when the Eccleston Square Hotel opens for business however, later in the spring.
The emphasis here is strictly on the ultra-modern and luxurious.
Contemporary rooms at the hotel in Pimlico (handy for Tate Britain) will feature electronically-controlled beds with massage features, 46” 3D LED televisions, i-Pod docking stations and VoIP phones. The innovation continues in the hotel’s en-suite marble bathrooms, with a hidden TV built into the mirror and glass walls that turn opaque at the press of a button.
We’ve also been tipped off by LondONtheInside that the hotel has managed to secure 39 hard-to-get-hold of iPad2s for each of its rooms…this will clearly be a great hotel for those addicted to techno-gadgets!
45 Park Lane
In summer 2011 the Dorchester Collection’s ninth hotel will make its entrance on the London hospitality scene. With interiors by New York designer Thierry Despont and Wolfgang Puck’s American style steak restaurant (CUT), 45 Park Lane looks set to be a stylish addition to Mayfair.
Contemporary rooms with views over Hyde Park and a chic boutique hotel feel will no doubt keep the competition on their toes. It will also join an elite band of London hotels with private cinemas.
Looking forward to 2012, the Wellesley townhouse hotel in Knightsbridge is laying claim to being London’s first ‘6-star’ property.
Though no accolade currently exists in any accepted hotel ratings scheme to support such bold (and perhaps slightly over-the-top) marketing statements, the hotel nonetheless looks to be shaping up promisingly.
Its 36 rooms are all suites, including potentially London’s largest with 4 bedrooms and private lift. The MD of developer Arab Investments, Khalid Affara says: “This will be to a better standard than all the 5 star hotels in London. It will be like the first-class compartment of a plane.” Middle Eastern London visitors are especially likely to appreciate such opulence.The Wellesley London will apparently be built on the site of a former pizza joint, but its developers claim it will outclass all other luxury London hotels
The Shangri-La at The Shard
Last but not least, one of London’s most anticipated luxury hotel openings is legendary Hong Kong hotelier Shangri-La’s first UK foray within the distinctive skyscraper known as ‘The Shard’. The building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, will be the tallest in Europe when it is completed in 2012, standing 310 metres and 70 storeys tall.
The Shangri-La will have 202 rooms, featuring panoramic views of the London skyline from its vantage point on floors 34-52 of the innovative building, and will be the capital’s first new-build 5-star hotel in over a decade. The building’s first guest has however already had a sneak preview of the views on offer, as it was revealed last month by Hotel Chatter that a fox had been living on the 72nd floor for some time!The Shard will soar above the London skyline as the tallest building in the EU
You may also wish to read our article about jobs at top London hotels.
Photo credits: 45 Park Lane, Corinthia London, Eccleston Square Hotel, Four Seasons Park Lane, Renaissance St Pancras Hotel, Shangri-La London, St John Hotel, The Savoy, W London, Wellesley Hotel.