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London boutique hotels roundup – December 2013.

by Rajul on December 30, 2013

milestone christmas (460x175)

We’re in the middle of the festive season, and around the capital boutique hotels are pulling out all the stops to ensure that their guests’ Christmas’ and New Years are ones to remember.  While the last of the turkey, mulled wine and festive chocolates will soon be done with, there’s plenty to look forward to in January, and much to look back at from the past month.

Over the past month, many of London’s boutique hotels have been doing things a little different to get guests into the festive spirit, but one of the most interesting and quirky efforts came from Andaz Liverpool Street.  The hotel’s ‘Andaz goes Ape’ saw a variety of simian-themed events and features, including a gorilla Santa, Maker’s Monkey cocktails and a variety of treats including monkey nuts and banana bread.  There’s also still time to enter the AndazGoesApe Twitter competition to win a weekend stay, which closes on January 5th.

The January Sales are upon us and London Hotels Insight is helping London visitors to make the most of it with the ‘Top 5 London Hotels with Shopping Packages’.   Included in the list is The Beaufort in Knightsbridge, whose package includes a complimentary £50 Harrods voucher.

Book direct with The Beaufort at the best guaranteed rate

the beaufort front (430x322)

The Bulgari Hotel and the Cafe Royal Hotel were reviewed recently in the Telegraph by none other than Channel 5’s ‘The Hotel Inspector’ Alex Polizzi. The hotelier and presenter found the Bulgari ‘extremely glamorous’, while she reveals personal links to the Cafe Royal apparently “the first major property my grandfather, Charles Forte, acquired when he began to build his hotel empire. “ The reviews can be read in their entirety at on the Telegraph website.

Firmdale has announced that it open its new Ham Yard Hotel in May 2014. The hotel is located close to Piccadilly Circus and will have 90 rooms as well access to a variety of facilities including a spa and a cinema.  The property will be Firmdale’s seventh London hotel, joining popular destinations such as the Soho Hotel and the Haymarket Hotel.

Another boutique hotel group with more than a couple of London properties to its name – Red Carnation – had reason to celebrate in December.  The luxury boutique group won three awards at the 2013 Hotel Cateys, with the Montague on the Gardens winning Hotel Restaurant Team of the Year and Beverage Manager of the Year.  The Chesterfield Mayfair also won the Revenue Award.  At the hotel marketing awards meanwhile, the group’s Rubens at the Palace was Highly Commended in the Best Media and Public Relations Activity for its ‘Living Wall’.

Check rates at Rubens at the Palace Hotel

Rubens at the Palace Entrance

Work is due to start on a new boutique hotel in Shoreditch in early 2014, which will be developed by Michael Achenbaum, founder of the Gansevoort Hotel Group.   The 120-room hotel is expected to cost almost $100m, and will have a rooftop swimming pool and a large event space. Speaking to Boutique Hotel News, Achenbaum said, “Shoreditch aligns brilliantly with our vision for this project and we’re thrilled to break ground during such an exciting time for the neighbourhood.”

Another hotel is to be developed meanwhile in Tower Hamlets, following the granting of planning permission to refurbish an office building in the area.  Black Lion House will be extended to create a hotel with 217 rooms, and is to open sometime in the future as Eastgate by Urban Villa.

These things generally come in threes though, and that was the case in December as a much talked about project to redevelop BBC Television Centre received planning approval.  Hammersmith and Fulham Council have given the go-ahead for developer Stanhope to transform the world-renowned site into a boutique hotel, alongside substantial residential and retail spaces.

The Huffington Post recently featured a number of boutique hotels in its ‘London’s Best Places for Afternoon Tea’ article.  The Athenaeum, the Sanderson Hotel and the Dean Street Townhouse took 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively, ahead of the more grandiose settings of The Ritz.

Check rates at the Athenaeum Hotel

athenaeum evergreen tea (267x353)

The Group Head Chef of the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel group, Neil Armstrong, recently shed some light on some of his own food philosophies and a number of new restaurant concepts at Radisson Blu Edwardian, in an interview on the group’s blog.   Amongst other things, he revealed that he would never eat a supermarket readymeal, is particularly fond of thyme and that the best dish at Trunk in Radisson Blu Edwardian’s Grafton Hotel on Warren Street is the Lobster Ravioli with Brown Shrimp Butter.  You can read the whole interview on the Radisson Blu Edwardian website.

Finally, Royal Garden Hotel will undergo a £1.5m refurbishment of its kitchen from January 1st to be equipped with ‘state-of-the-art, eco-friendly appliances’.  The only downside is that the hotel kitchen will be closed until mid-March, though alternative options will be made available for guests.

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Photo credits: The Milestone, The Beaufort, Rubens at the Palace, The Athenaeum.

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