london Travel Guide
We’ve already taken you on a tour of the public areas of Rosewood London, but now it’s time to get more intimate with the hotel.
We had a chance to look inside an Executive Room, considered to be an entry level room right after the Deluxe Room, a Premier Suite and a Grand Premier Suite. (After these come the eight Signature Suites, one being the Manor House Suite which can become the Manor House Wing if you book all five connecting rooms – the only hotel “suite” in the world to have its own postal code.)
The 306 rooms and suites were designed by Tony Chi & Associates, who also designed most of the public spaces including the lobby. The rooms feel like stylin’ pieds–à–terre – dramatic in black lacquer, 50 shades of grey (yeah – couldn’t resist!), and design-studio white. Artwork on the walls is equally striking in black and white. But what could potentially be considered “cold” in feel is warmed up by textured wood furnishings.
All bathrooms have hammered silver sinks (very old-school becomes new-school), white marble, and mirrors, mirrors everywhere so no awkward navel-gazing required; do it with ease. You’ll also find heated floors (yes!) and Czech & Speake toiletries in Lavender or Neroli (the first foray into hotel toiletries for this London-based fragrance house).
Check out the image gallery for lots of room pics!
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Last month we told you about the Tulse Hill Hotel, an unlikely-but-nice new opening in a deep residential part of South London. Tulse Hill as the next London hotel boom area? Probably not, but the Tulse Hill Hotel is now open, and it’s looking great.
The hotel launched last week with a party for locals (sweet!). The focus so far has been on the bar and restaurant side of it – partly because partiers were given free food and cocktails on the night, and partly because locals don’t need hotel rooms. But although the hotel is keeping its cards very close to its chest regarding the rooms (pet peeve: hotels that open sans photos), we spied this pic on its Facebook page. What do you reckon? It looks pretty small, and dark, but we like the curtains, the big, heritage-style window (which seems double glazed – YES) and the understated vibe looks like it could have potential. Reserving judgment till some daytime pics come through.
Never did we think it would be Four Seasons that would end up managing Ten Trinity Square when we first looked at the development earlier this year, but so we found out a few months ago. The website has moved on from being just a landing page, with a tiny bit more detail on the hotel, residences, and club that will arrive inside the former Port of London Authority building.
Starting with the hotel, opening is scheduled for 2016, with no further commitment to when within that twelve-month window. It will occupy the lower ground to the third levels, with 100 guest rooms and suites (the press release from Four Seasons talked about 98, but who are we to nit-pick).
Above the rendering we have at this point, which shows soaring ceilings, classic details, and a dramatic four-poster bed and step-down lounge. We assume this would be one of the suites, and if the hotel is located on the lower floors of the building, this 2nd floor layout we found in February may indeed be accurate. That called for all rooms having separate bathtubs and showers, and no fewer than three Royal Suites.
Joanna Lumley's Covent Garden
Covent Garden is one of the most maligned areas of London. Everyone thinks they know it ("yeah totes it's that square with street performers and a semi-open market and touristy restaurants all around"). Tourists think they’ve ticked it off their list, most locals avoid it like the plague, unless they have to visit the Apple Store. Covent Garden: DONE.
No, says local hotel One Aldwych. You haven’t ‘done’ Covent Garden, and you aren’t done with it. What fools you are, to not even scratch the surface of this magical neighborhood.
To prove its case, the hotel has interviewed notable locals, asking why they love Covent Garden and getting tips on where to go. Some are integral parts of the community, like retro candy shop owners Kitty Hope and Mark Greenwood, and ballet dancers Ricardo Cervera and Romany Pajdak. Others are full on celebrities: Joanna Lumley and Dame Sarah Storey, one of Team GB’s Paralympic champions. Since Covent Garden has always been artistic, you’ll also find Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council and Julian Bird of the Society of London Theatre.
Some terrible news out of London just as the weekend was starting a few days ago: around 11.40pm on Friday night, a gas explosion occurred in the basement of the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, injuring twelve hotel employees.
All guests were evacuated and accommodated at nearby hotels. Various news outlets, including the BBC, are referring to a few people being hospitalized, with the total number of guests evacuated at around 500. No guests were injured, according to a Hyatt spokesperson.
While The Telegraph opens with the blast having caused “part of the building to collapse”, the main structure of the building is intact. The London Fire Brigade, which responded to the incident, believes it due to a suspected gas leak, resulting in “extensive damage to the basement and the ground floor”.
We hope the injured will recover soon. We’ll keep you posted if there is a longer-term impact on the Hyatt, but leave you for now with the official statement from the hotel’s website:
The best tea in London?
It’s a question of such monumental proportions that it will ruin your trip to London if you get it wrong. Which London hotel does the best afternoon tea?
The easy answer used to be to consult the Tea Guild’s anonymous reviews – but the guild has rebranded now (as the UK Tea and Infusions Association) and as part of the revamp, has ditched its reviews. Big mistake. Huge.
London Hotels Insight is equally outraged, so they have created their own list. How? By calculating the “excellent” and “very good” ratings for tea on TripAdvisor. Doing it this way, they have come out with some surprising results. Their list reads:
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While we’ve struggled on the holiday cheer front so far, a few minutes in the lobby of the hotel on Brook Street may have managed to help even us get into that festive feeling. The 8-metre tall tree is the centerpiece of the decoration throughout the lobby and public spaces, which, together with candles here and there and soft lighting, is hard to resist for even the most cynical of spirits.
You know the feeling. You’re checking into a hotel, maybe a little late. You get into the elevator a little wary. You emerge onto your floor, hoping that the room won’t be directly opposite the elevator door, or that it won’t be overlooking a rubbish dump, that it won’t be a disabled room if you don’t need it – hey, you might even be hoping for a particular layout or color scheme, we won’t judge.
Well, UK chain Thistle Hotels wants to quell your anxiety with its new “Choose Your Own Room” service, being trialed at its London Euston property. They reckon that 48% of British hotel guests have asked to change rooms before (this being Britain, we reckon that means at least another 48% have wanted to ask but felt too impolite to do so), and 40% feel some kind of anxiety about getting saddled with a dud pre check-in.
With Choose Your Own Room, you can, unsurprisingly, choose your own room, with 360-degree virtual tours of available rooms, so you can pick the one you want. According to the Telegraph, who gave it a whirl:
After booking a room at the Thistle Euston, guests are sent an email granting online access to the hotel floor plan. On a Wednesday night, I was given the option of picking between five different rooms available over two floors in my price category. There were also photos for each room, including a 360-degree interactive “tour”.
The photos included views and different color schemes, in order to pick the exact one you want. Which is almost more anxiety-inducing, in a way – what if you pick the wrong one?
This is not the first time a hotel has done this (see The Grand Hyatt in Cairo) but it is the first hotel in London to do so. Also, given the boycott of the Dorchester Collection that happened this summer because its owner, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei decided to enact Sharia Law in his country but not at his hotels, pulling alcohol and pork was kind of a ballsy move.
However, a spokesperson for the hotel, which is part of the Bespoke Hotels collection, told the Huffington Post UK that same-sex couples will be allowed as guests. Right now, it's just alcohol that is no longer being sold but guests can bring their own alcohol. Pork products will stopped being offered after Christmas.
As of today, the hotel's website doesn't make it overtly clear that the hotel has stopped selling alcohol but they have changed the name of the GB Grill and Bar to just GB Grill. Rooms for this weekend are sold-out but next week rates are just 164 GBP a night.
[Photo: Bermondsey Square Hotel/Facebook ]
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We may have known that The Lanesborough London was going for a full-scale renovation (including auctioning off all furniture and trinkets from inside the hotel), but in a surprising twist on the road to its reopening next year, it will no longer be a St. Regis Hotel, but become part of the super-posh Oetker Collection instead.
That means a whole range of things: an exit for St. Regis from the London market, Starwood being one property down (Luxury Collection’s Park Tower is a few minutes west, Sheraton Park Lane a few minutes east), and Oetker Collection debuting another major capital property in addition to its Parisian palace Le Bristol (the seven other hotels lean towards resorts, like the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc).
Along with the announcement, we have a first glimpse of the Albert Pinto-designed interiors, with a rendering of a suite above. While brand new, the interiors look to stay true to the Regency era the hotel took its design cues from before. The suite brings in red / burgundy tones, while a room rendering below goes for a warm green.
Because our list of new hotels for east London wasn’t long enough, here is another one: the Great Eastern Street Hotel. No points for guessing which street the hotel is on, which means that once complete, it will be a hop and a skip from The Hoxton Shoreditch and Nobu Shoreditch. In fact, you can just spy a sliver of the building that will be torn down to make way for Nobu in the aerial view above, to the right of the leafless tree, one block behind Great Eastern Street.
The 70,000 sq ft project will have a 125-bedroom hotel, taking over a site that was derelict for over a decade. Incorporating the façade of a Victorian warehouse, the Grade-II listed Griffin Pub will be restored, with “upper levels being converted to residential use”.
Last week, we looked at unknown-to-us Shiva Hotels and their expansion in central London, and promised you an update on their plans around St. Paul’s Cathedral, which include the razing of an existing office building and replacing it with a 300,000 sq ft hotel.
Above a rendering of the future Millennium Bridge House, at the northern edge of the bridge of the same name that connects straight to Tate Modern across the river. While the entire backdrop of Shiva’s website shows these night-time renderings, the hotel is not yet listed in the group’s portfolio, but that may have something to do with the fact that there is a lot of work to be done – check out what it looks like today below.