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London boutique hotels round-up – June 2012.
After a busy month of bank holidays, jubilees and festivals, London’s boutique hotel scene is catching its breath before the final sprint towards the 2012 Olympic Games at the end of July. Here we take a look at some of the events of the past month, and look ahead at what’s to come.
Carbon emissions have been a hot topic in the hotel industry for some time. Now, a group of 23 international hotel groups are joining forces with the World Travel & Tourism Council and the International Tourism Partnership, to pioneer a standardised methodology for calculating and communicating the carbon footprint of guests and conference attendees.
One of those taking part is Red Carnation, whose collection of properties includes prestigious London boutique hotels such as Milestone Hotel, The Montague on the Gardens and the Egerton House Hotel.
Jonathan Raggett, Red Carnation’s Managing Director, commented: “The issue of sustainability has become morally intrinsic to our ethos at Red Carnation Hotels… that’s why we were so excited to be involved in such an important global initiative.” He added: “We are also really proud to be the only privately-owned, family-run boutique collection in the working group.”
More information on the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative can be found on the World Travel & Tourism Council website.
It’s safe to say that The Baglioni Hotel in Kensington gets more than its fair share of celebrity guests, and now you can see for yourself what the stars thought of their stay there. The hotel has published a VIP guestbook on its website, featuring scanned handwritten notes from a number of A-list celebrities who sing their praises of the hotel’s luxury London suites.
With the Olympics almost upon us, many London hotels continue to unveil sporting-themed packages and events. The latest is the ‘World Food Themed Marathon’ at the Andaz Liverpool Street. The marathon runs from 2nd - 27th July and will see the hotel serve up a different national dish each day from 26 countries. Highlights include Hungarian Ghoulash, Korean Spicy Pork and Australian Mango Pavlova and Lamingtons.
If relaxing with a cocktail is your thing, you may wish to try the Sanderson’s Bespoke at the Purple Bar where you can create your own cocktail recipe, with expert mixologists on hand to suggest ingredients and flavours.
Continuing the relaxation theme, The Goring Hotel has launched its own bath menu. The hotel has teamed up with Molton Brown to offer guests a chance to wash away their cares in style, with their ‘London via the World’ bathing menu. The innovative idea is to whisk guests away, mentally at least, to far-flung destinations, using special oils and bubble baths. ‘London Via Madagascar’, for example, features Re-charge Black Pepper Bodywash and Madagascan black peppercorn oil, served with a Manhattan cocktail. You can view the full bath menu on The Goring’s website.
One of Covent Garden’s top 4 luxury hotels, One Aldwych, has been described by the Huffington Post as ‘London’s chicest boutique hotel’. The reviewer seemed particularly enamoured with the evening vibe in the lobby bar where “Every seat is taken with smartly dressed Londoners sipping martinis and tumblers of scotch on elegant couches and club chairs.”
Jac Travel predicts both July and August will see over 30% fewer arrivals in the capital than 2011 despite the Olympics, reports Reuters. The firm’s CEO Mario Bodini claims that potential visitors have been put off by high prices during the period: “what we need is sensible hotel pricing and to make sure it goes back to normal very quickly.” The Telegraph meanwhile reports that hotel prices during the Olympics are falling dramatically, “after an expected surge in bookings has failed to materialise.”
The Olympics have seen a flurry of new hotel openings in London this year, with the Bulgari London and the Z Victoria being the latest to open in June. The stylish Bulgari by the jewellery brand of the same name adds 85 rooms to the Knightsbridge area, with stays on the pricey yet luxurious side. The Z Victoria meanwhile is located close to Victoria station and has 106 rooms, all with 40-inch HD LED televisions. Both hotels offer guests free WiFi – further putting to shame many luxury London hotels which short-sightedly charge a king’s ransom for this basic amenity.
The team behind the successful Zetter Hotel plan to open a gourmet restaurant next year. Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan will again team up with renowned chef Bruno Loubet to open Granary Square Kitchen in Kings Cross at the start of 2013. The restaurant will serve a range of international dishes, with a strong emphasis on vegetable ingredients.
Finally, Morgans Hotel Group has announced plans to open a new boutique hotel in London in 2015, under their Hudson brand. The exact location of the London Hudson has not yet been disclosed, but is apparently an existing ‘200-room boutique property’. It will be the first international opening of the group’s successful New York-based brand.
And that completes our boutique hotel round-up for June. Keep your eyes peeled on London Hotels Insight next month for all the latest London boutique hotel happenings in what is certain to be an exciting month.
Photo credits: World Travel & Tourism Council, Milestone Hotel, Baglioni Hotel, Sanderson Hotel, One Aldwych, Bulgari London Hotel.