London Hotels Insight provides up-to-date, independent advice for your perfect stay in London. We research guest feedback, meet management and identify hotels at the top of their game.
London boutique hotels round-up – Feb. 2012.
With London’s much anticipated Olympic year now in full swing, the capital’s boutique hotels continue to compete for their share of the city’s many visitors from overseas and elsewhere in the UK. In their bid to stay ahead of the competition, many are seeking to innovate perhaps to distract from all the negative publicity about high room rates.
According to PKF Hotel Consultancy Services, the London hotel sector as a whole had quite a promising start to 2012, with ‘room yields’ growing by 3.6% over last year. Robert Barnard of PKF commented on the findings: “The capital’s hotels have made an exceptional start to Olympic year on the back of a largely positive 2011.”
PriceWaterHouseCoopers has predicted that 2012 will be a record year for London hotels, largely due to the Olympics. This is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year too, and with a number of events going on over the extended weekend in June, boutique hotels could be in for an early increase in demand from royalists looking to celebrate in style.
London Hotels Insight continued its campaign for free Wi-Fi in London hotels in February, listing 14 hotels that were visited over the course of around a month while tweeting live from the hotels. Boutique hotels in the list of “good guys” included the Milestone Hotel, Mercer Street Hotel, Rubens at the Palace, Montague on the Gardens and Hotel 41. The London Hotels Insight blogging team recently also created a London Hotels Flickr account to further show hoteliers the value of providing free WiFi to make it easy for their guests to share content online.
One London boutique hotel you may find it hard to get into is Fiona Banner’s ‘A Room For London’ on the South Bank. Though technically an art installation, the room (in the shape of a boat and on the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall) is also a fully functioning hotel, albeit with only one room. It features an en-suite bedroom, library and kitchenette. Though bookable throughout 2012 for a stay of one night, it is now fully booked.
The Milestone - a 5 star luxury London hotel riding high on TripAdvisor – has showcased its attention to detail recently with a short film online. The video can be seen on YouTube and includes snippets of staff and guests talking about the tiny noticeable touches that make the hotel special.
The Milestone is also offering guests a little extra throughout 2012 with its ‘Get More From Your Stay’ package. The deal is available until December and includes an English breakfast and a complimentary extra of the guests’ choice. Past ‘extras’ include Harrods gift vouchers, chilled champagne and a top-notch three course meal.
The Daily Telegraph has highlighted that many London hotels are continuing to overprice their rooms during the Olympic fortnight, despite 120,000 rooms being released back on sale. The paper found that prices have not fallen as expected and named the W Leicester Square as one hotel where stays during the Olympics reportedly cost in excess of £559 per night, compared to just £299 later that month.
The Mercer Street luxury hotel in Covent Garden is joining the ‘Faberge Big Egg Hunt’ by hosting ‘Busby’ – an oversized egg made to look like a Royal Guard. Busby’s appearance outside the hotel is part of a charity egg hunt taking place over 40 days running up to Easter, and is one of 200 specially crafted eggs hidden around London. You can even catch Busby on Twitter @Mr_Busby and follow his adventures. The hotel is celebrating with a special egg menu including Egg Soldiers and Eggs Faberge.
One of London’s original boutique hotels, Holland Park’s Halcyon Hotel, is being transformed into luxury apartments. The former hotel, whose 44 rooms were once a popular refuge for an array of celebrities including Mick Jagger, John Cleese, Yoko Ono and Liam Gallagher, is being reinvented as a dozen expansive, and needless to say exclusive, Kensington apartments.
Later this year, the Olympia exhibition centre in Kensington will play host to a new event for luxury and boutique hotels. Independent Hotel 12, running 16-17th October, aims to be a, “a dedicated business, learning and networking event for the independent, luxury and boutique hotel market”, according to organisers of the highly-anticipated event.
The Zetter’s restaurant which is one of the prime foodie destinations at London hotels - called Bistrot Bruno Loubet - was featured on Masterchef in February, as was Bruno Loubet himself. During the show, the aspiring chefs were given master classes in Spanish, Italian, and French cuisine - the latter at the Bistrot Bruno Loubet itself with top tips from the highly respected Chef Loubet himself.
Finally, a number of London boutique hotels have joined a new trend of offering ‘day rates’ on rooms via dayuse-hotels.com – a French firm listing hotels where visitors can use a room for just a few hours during the day.
Knightsbridge Green Hotel and The Beaufort are amongst those listed, with room availability between 11AM and 5PM priced at just £100 instead of £241 for the former, and £150 instead of £250 for the latter. The concept is aimed at jet-lagged tourists or business travellers in need of a base and others who could benefit from a daytime stay without the need for a bed overnight. Now we wonder who those could be?
Photo credits: @Mr_Busby Twitter account, London Hotels Insight May Fair Hotel Flickr set, A Room for London, The Milestone Hotel, London Hotels Insight Mercer Street Hotel Flickr set, The Zetter Hotel, The Beaufort.