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 – May 2012.
With the Jubilee extended weekend imminent and the Olympics just around the corner, we look back at what’s been going on in the world of boutique hotels in May, and look forward to what’s coming up in June.
Without question the biggest event taking place in May was London’s Boutique Hotel Summit 2012 at Altitude London. Billed as ‘Europe’s only B2B conference for the boutique and lifestyle hotel sectors’, the event took place on the 21st and 22nd May and attracted more than 220 attendees from around the world (up by around 50% from the previous year).
The event offered networking opportunities for hotel owners, suppliers and others, and included speeches and presentations from leading industry figures like Gordon Campbell Gray, as well as a variety of discussion panels. One such panel saw Debrah Dhugga (GM of Dukes Hotel), Chris Penn (GM of Flemings Hotel) and several other general managers discuss the challenges of their roles and how they saw them evolving.Held for the second consecutive year, the event was a great success
Another discussion at the event saw independent hoteliers discussing whether they saw a threat from ‘lifestyle brands’. The general consensus seemed to be that while competition was growing, big chains couldn’t replicate the boutique experience. Co-owner of Hotel TerraVina, Nina Basset, commented that, “Boutique is so much more bespoke than lifestyle. I don’t see how a boutique hotel can be ‘boutique enough by being part of a chain.”
Meanwhile, hotel-industry.co.uk’s Hotel Supplier Survey 2012 has revealed that of the suppliers surveyed, 69% said that independent boutique-style hotels were more profitable for their business than chain-based hotels.
The Daily Mirror reported that last minute accommodation during the Jubilee weekend was still available at attractive prices in a number of London hotels, including the W Leicester Square, where guests were able to get 20% and 30% off on two and three night stays respectively.The stylish W London on Leicester Square was apparently still offering some last-minute hotel rooms at discounted prices for the Diamond Jubilee
One boutique hotel group with its eyes firmly on the prize this summer is Red Carnation. To celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, all Red Carnation’s London hotels have got a little something special planned for the summer and beyond, with their ‘Best of British’ Celebration. Some of the unique events and offers planned include:
- ‘Horses, Hats and High Society at the Milestone Hotel – Includes afternoon tea, horse riding for two in Hyde Park, and two tickets to the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot or Hurlingham Park, complete with chauffeur driven Bentley (1st – 23rd June)
- History Revealed – A Walk Through Time, at Egerton House Hotel – Two night’s accommodation, breakfast and a three hour guided tour of Kensington and Knightsbridge (June 1st till 31st December).
- The Ultimate Best of British Package at Hotel 41 – A whirlwind tour of Great Britain, including two nights in the hotel’s Executive Suite, flights to Cardiff and Dublin plus a helicopter ride, and whisky tasting in Edinburgh. Ideal for first time visitors to the UK and a snip at just over £15,000! (runs till 31st December).
- The Montague on the Gardens – a boutique hotel near the British Museum – will be offering guests the best of the British Summer, with its ‘Secret Garden’. Open from May until September 7th, the hotel has teamed up with designer Kenneth Turner to create a unique outdoor dining space. Guests can experience al fresco dining British-style, with afternoon tea, Pimms cocktails and a Best of British tasting menu.
Radisson Blu Edwardian has also created a special Diamond Jubilee offer for guests in all its London hotels throughout June. Guests get bed and breakfast, Diamond Jubilee afternoon tea for two, a special four DVD Diamond Jubilee gift set and 25% off food within the package – certainly one of the more attractive London hotel deals this summer.
The Diamond Jubilee may be a big national celebration, but there are always events worth celebrating at a family level too. With this in mind, Base2Stay Kensington has created a Graduation Celebration Package which is available until the end of 2012. With the hotel well-placed for access to London graduation ceremonies, the package offers students and their families special room rates, a bottle of Bellini, complimentary brownies and exclusive discounts at bars and restaurants in the area.Base2Stay offers spacious and spotlessly clean rooms with handy free amenities
No stranger to the London boutique hotel scene, top designer Philippe Starck has been sharing some of his design secrets and inspirations with the Cool Hunting website. Starck, who has had a hand in designing the interiors of London’s St Martin’s Lane and Sanderson Hotel, says that the current economic situation will change design: “People have less money but still want quality… it’s difficult to change. We must reinvent ourselves and reinvent our new economy of poverty.”
If you fancy yourself a budding boutique hotelier and you’ve got £165.5m kicking about, you might want to consider purchasing St Ermin’s Hotel. That’s the price the hotel was put on the market for in May.
Currently run by hotel group Accor under its MGallery brand, the hotel has been open for just a year in its current incarnation. It is understood that Accor will continue to operate the hotel for the time being.St Ermin’s Hotel has just gone through a multi-million pound makeover as a London Hotels Insight blogger recently reported when she reviewed the hotel
Finally, Tourism Review has been looking into the future of the hotel sector, envisioning “ a day very soon where guests could have a complete stay from making a reservation to ordering room service to receiving their checkout receipt without speaking to a single real person” and where they “can achieve this completely by digital means”.
While this may be technically possible in the near future, it surely couldn’t replace the personable service provided by the staff at many of London’s leading boutique hotels, could it?
Photo credits: Boutique Hotel Summit, W Leicester Square, London Hotels Insight blogger Timea, Base2stay Kensington, London Hotels Insight blogger Jules.