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 – July 2012.
2012 continues to be an exciting year for London’s boutique hotel sector, whether you’re in the industry or a visitor to the capital. As well as recent openings, tantalising details of upcoming new hotels continue to emerge and boutique properties across London keep on innovating.
One of the more interesting Olympic-oriented stories in July was the arrival at West India Docks of the enormous MS Deutschland – a German luxury cruise ship (often dubbed ‘The Loveboat’) which will effectively become a floating boutique hotel for the duration of the Games. Its 500-odd guests will be able to relax in style in between Olympic events with, in the words of the cruise company, “imperial ballroom, loom chairs in a palm-filled winter garden, fine antiques and original works of art” along with art deco stylings and gourmet dining. At approximately £4,000 for three nights it is however a bit more expensive than most land-based boutique hotels in London.
On the subject of expensive hotels, London Hotels Insight recently published an article on the ‘Top 10 Most Expensive London Hotels’. It may surprise some that numbers one (45 Park Lane), nine (The Soho Hotel) and ten (Covent Garden Hotel) are all boutique hotels that impose extra WiFi tariffs on their guests. Some may argue that this runs against the “home from home” ethos of a typical boutique hotel.
Interestingly, the same piece examines the top London hotels in terms of guest satisfaction (sourced from a ReviewPro study of thousands of guest reviews), and the top five on this list (The Halkin, Hotel 41, The Milestone Hotel, Egerton House Hotel and The Levin) are all boutique properties which do in fact offer free WiFi (two of them were even tested during this blog’s Free WiFi Touchdown including the Milestone Hotel pictured below).
Back onto the Olympics briefly and the founder of the Boutique Hotel Summit, Piers Brown, has said that London’s boutique hotels may have failed to fully market themselves online to visitors to the Games. “How many boutique hotels in London have ensured the Olympics feature prominently on [their] website, and followed up with effective hotel search engine optimisation?” he asks rhetorically over at Boutique Hotel News.
The W London recently kicked-off six months of intriguing ‘Culture Breakfasts’. Each will bring together creative experts from the worlds of fashion, film, music and more, along with members of the public, for a series of working breakfasts. The first event took place in late July and focused on technology and social media. Upcoming breakfasts/workshops will occur once a month and each will focus on a different creative sector.
Red Carnation Hotel Collection is embracing the summer with a series of celebrations of the humble British strawberry. Several of the group’s boutique London hotels have been offering their very own strawberry-based creations to guests. At the Rubens at the Palace’s Library Restaurant the head chef is serving up a unique three-course strawberry menu, including strawberry and rhubarb compote, strawberry and mint vinaigrette, strawberry soup and strawberry and basil sorbet (though not all on the same plate obviously!). The Montague on the Gardens meanwhile has included Kentish strawberries and cream in its Best of British Afternoon Tea, while Egerton House Hotel is offering complimentary Best of British strawberries to all its guests.
Aside from an appreciation of strawberries, Red Carnation MD Jonathan Raggett recently revealed what the company look for in their staff recruitment. “We’re looking to employ people with a high HQ (hospitality quotient)… we look for strong emotional and technical skills,” he told Boutique Hotel News. According to Mr. Raggett, candidates with a high HQ are kind, curious, empathetic, emotionally self-aware, have a strong sense of integrity and an “extraordinary work ethic”.
One of London’s most recent boutique hotel openings is the stylish CitizenM Bankside. Based on the same concept as its Dutch counterparts, the hotel aims for simplistic elegance and luxury at affordable prices. One of the most intriguing features is the hi-tech in-room ‘mood pad’, which can be used to control lighting, temperature, television and more, as well as offering access to the internet via free WiFi. More CitizenMs are set to open in London next year in handy locations for sightseers – one close to St Paul’s Cathedral and another by the Tower of London.
The other big opening in July was No. 11 Cadogan Gardens in Chelsea. Formerly a private club, it’s been redesigned as a hotel and now offers 54 rooms and four suites. The hotel aims to blend the past and the present by remaining faithful to the building’s 19th century heritage, while introducing all the latest technologies including free WiFi for all guests.
Just missing the rush to open before the Olympics, the Ampersand Hotel, one of the year’s top 10 hotel openings, is due to open in Kensington on 29th August. According to the hotel’s website, the rooms and interior will be ‘inspired by the local London neighbourhood’, informed by ‘Victorian values’, with a ‘modern sense of whimsy’ thrown in for good measure – certainly a welcome addition to London’s boutique hotel market.
Looking further ahead, Morgans Hotel Group have announced the location of their keenly-anticipated new Hudson hotel in London. The 234-room hotel will be located in Westminster, in Great Scotland Yard. The hotel, which is expected to open in early 2015, is housed within a former Ministry of Defence recruitment building.
Finally, Egerton House boutique Knightsbridge hotel has been named as the only London hotel among hotels from around the world in oyster.com’s ’10 Hotels With Museum-worthy Art Galleries’ and was also featured on the ‘Best Art in London Hotels‘ Pinterest board by London Hotels Insight. The hotel’s collection, which includes original works by Matisse, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, was described as a “historical and artistic treasure trove… the perfect place to soak up some culture”. So now you know.
As Olympics fever begins to take grip, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled on London Hotels Insight for all the latest boutique hotel happenings as well as next month’s comprehensive boutique hotel news round-up.