With two bank holidays to enjoy this May, London has seen plenty of visitors ahead of the main summer holiday period, and its boutique hotels have been doing their part to entice tourists from near and far.
Here we take a look back at some of the main developments over the past month and look forward to what’s going on in June and beyond.
With so many hotels to choose from in the capital, many properties try to go that extra mile to capture the attention and ultimately the bookings of visitors. The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair has come up with one novel idea which is perfect for a city that is renowned for its noise and frenetic pace.
The hotel’s Aman Spa has recently launched daily meditation classes for both guests and visitors, aiming to help them to slow down, clear their minds and make the most of their time in the city. The sessions take place at 1PM each day, and you can find out more details on the hotel’s website.
Over at the Hotel Café Royal meanwhile, the Ten Room restaurant is providing an interesting twist on hotel dining with its Bring Your Own Ingredient concept, held once a week.
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The idea is that guests email the hotel’s chefs in advance with their choice of ingredients, which will then be turned into a four-course meal for a minimum of four people. In addition, guests also receive a signed recipe of the course of their choice, and will be talked through their selection by the chef.
The Ham Yard Hotel and Soho Hotel, both operated by Firmdale, have recently installed high-tech karaoke systems. The onsite ‘Singstation’ machines allow guests to choose their own songs from a selection of up to 9,000, and then displays the appropriate lyrics on an accompanying screen.
The Pullman London St Pancras recently unveiled the opening of its ‘art rooms’. Each room has been designed by a contemporary artist around a theme, including an Oliver Twist room and a rock ‘n’ roll-themed room. Further rooms will be unveiled over the course of the year.
Guests at the Baglioni Hotel London may soon have the opportunity to enjoy a breakfast reinvention if the concept makes it over from Milan, where it has just been launched at the Carlton Hotel Baglioni.
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Breakfast 4 You aims to provide a hotel breakfast which is “good, clean and fair” and offers guests four options: Tradition, 2.0, Identity and Wellbeing. The latter seeks to offer a healthy yet interesting option including a range of vegetables, while Tradition aims to update much-loved contemporary breakfast dishes. No word on dates as yet, but the group has said that intends to roll the concept out across all its hotels, including its London outpost.
Visitors to Chinatown can now enjoy a quirky new boutique hotel on the site of the former One Leicester Street Hotel. The Honky Tonk Group, traditionally a restaurant chain, has just launched the Leicester House Hotel, complete with 15 fully featured rooms and 2 suites. Inevitably the hotel’s restaurant offers something unique in the form of French-Vietnamese cuisine by Bruce Wilson, formerly of the Tate Modern restaurant.
Urban Villa, whose London hotels include Urban Villa Brentford and the forthcoming Urban Villa Stratford, has just announced a new management team. The fledgling concept hotel brand has named Martin Newbould (formerly of Ace Hotel Shoreditch) as its General Manager, Joanna Stevens as Director of Sales and Kate Ciblik as Revenue Manager.
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The Telegraph ran a fascinating feature in May, entitled ‘50 of the world’s most unusual hotels‘. Included amongst them was the quirky boat-shaped ‘Room for London’, perched above the Southbank Centre. A single-room hotel with a ballot-based booking system, dubbed ‘The Most Exclusive Hotel Room in London’ by the Telegraph, the unique hotel property first opened in 2012 and continues to offer lucky guests a room for a single night.
It remains popular, with ballots now drawn for May, June and July. Also featured in the list are a Victorian fort located in the middle of the Solent, and a converted bullfighting ring in Mexico.
Finally, last year was a record-breaking year for London, with 17.4million visits in 2014 – 3.5% more than the previous record for international tourists in the capital. London Mayor Boris Johnson was quoted in Hotel Owner saying, “these terrific new figures confirm that record numbers of tourists are spending record amounts of dosh in our amazing city.”
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Photo credits: Lukemn, Hotel Cafe Royal, Carlton Hotel Baglioni, Urban Villa Brentford.