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 – October 2012.
The days are getting shorter, Christmas is getting closer and there’s a slight chill in the air; it’s around this time of year that London’s boutique hotels start pulling out all the stops to do something special for guests.
One such hotel is the Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, which held the launch party for the return of its seasonal Ski Lodge in October (prior to the lodge’s opening proper on November 19th). Guests were treated to a delicious festive assortment of mulled wine, spiced cider, Pimms and even the ’12 vodkas of Christmas’, accompanied by a sumptuous BBQ, spiced nuts and more besides. With the distinctive Christmas trees, fairy lights and decorations, it’s sure to get you in the festive spirit – if you’re not too busy with Christmas shopping that is.
Other London boutique hotels meanwhile have been busy reaping the accolades for their efforts to provide guests with unique experiences. No fewer than four hotels from the Red Carnation Collection have been honoured in the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers Choice Awards. The top spots for ‘Top 35 Hotels in the British Isles’ went to the Hotel 41 and The Milestone, while sister hotels The Rubens at the Palace and The Chesterfield Mayfair came in 14th and 17th. As if that was not enough, the 41 Hotel and The Milestone also featured in the Readers’ ‘Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World’ in positions 37 and 50 respectively.
Dukes was also honoured in October with the title of ‘European Boutique Hotel of The Year’ at the World Travel Awards. The award follows on from last year’s award of ‘England’s Leading Boutique Hotel’ at the same event.
Award glory may also soon be on the cards for more London boutique hotels at the 2012 Boutique Hotel Awards Ceremony taking place at the Hempel Hotel in November. Finalists for the awards include The Arch (Best City Boutique Hotel in the World), Sanctum Soho (Best Design Boutique Hotel in the World), Dukes Hotel (Best Dining Boutique Hotel in the World) and The Ampersand (Best New Boutique Hotel in the World).
For one hotel in October, the presence of a very important (and holy) guest was possibly a greater mark of respect than any award. The Chesterfield Mayfair was graced with the presence of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, who stayed in the hotel in late-October. The hotel’s official Twitter feed described him as, “The most inspirational VIP we have ever seen,” while pictures of His Holiness with the hotel’s staff were posted on Facebook.
The Baglioni Hotel’s newly opened Moreno restaurant recently held a special ‘bloggers’ dinner’ in October to help get the word out about head chef Moreno Cedroni’s unique fusion of Italian and Japanese cuisine. ‘A Lady in London’ described chef Moreno’s sushi platter as, “a beautiful, delicate mix of complimentary flavours and textures,” while London Hotels Insight delighted in his tuna tanaki salad starter, which was, “utterly simple and yet exquisite… raising your spirits with every mouthful.”
One hotel which won’t be welcoming guests any time soon is Bespoke Hotels’ proposed Greenwich Market Hotel. Despite planning permission being granted in 2011 for the redevelopment of the Greenwich Market site, landowners Greenwich Hospital announced in October that the development will not now go ahead. It is not immediately clear why the plans for the 100-room boutique hotel were dropped, but there had previously been widespread opposition from conservationists.
The NHS became the unlikely owner of a boutique hotel recently, when it opened The Cotton Rooms for University College London Hospital. The 35-room “hotel” will cater for cancer patients who are undergoing treatment and tests but do not necessarily need full-time hospital care. The accommodation is designed to help patients retain their independence.
One Aldwych and W Leicester Square are two hotels recognising that as the cold weather comes, guests are likely to wish to spend evenings in. One Aldwych has re-launched its popular ‘Martini Movies’ experience, which includes a Martini cocktail, a film shown in the hotel’s intimate Screening Room, popcorn and a 3-course meal. The movie deal is available on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout November. The W’s ‘W Film Club’ meanwhile runs on alternate Tuesdays and enables you to watch a film in the hotel’s private film club (with popcorn) for just £15.
Finally, the inaugural Independent Hotel Show was hailed as a success in October when it was held in London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre. The two-day event saw owners and managers of boutique and independent hotels come together with a range of suppliers and brands in what was dubbed ‘the UK’s first business event for the independent, luxury and boutique hotel industry’. At the show Jeremy Goring of the Goring Hotel (serving one of the London’s best afternoon teas as pictured above) was presented with the award of ‘Independent Hotelier of the Year 2012’. Plans are already in motion for next year’s event in late October 2013.
Look out for next month’s London boutique hotels round-up as the city’s hotels preparations for the festive season start to get into full swing.
Photo credits: Montague on the Gardens Hotel, Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel (Facebook), Rubens at the Palace Hotel, Baglioni Hotel, One Aldwych, Goring Hotel, London Hotel Insight Flickr.