london Travel Guide

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About That So-Called 'Harry Potter Hotel' in London

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  Site Where: 35 - 39 St George's Drive, London, United Kingdom, SW1V 4DG
October 31, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (0)

Earlier in the week the internet geeked out over The Harry Potter Hotel in London also known as The Georigan House Hotel. So many Harry Potter nerds (including us) were dying to see what the rooms looked like, that we all crashed the hotel's website. But once we read the room description and saw the photos, we were entirely unimpressed.

The "Wizard's Chambers", as they are called are and which should be your first clue that things aren't quite right here, are not officially sanctioned by Warner Brothers, who own the rights to the Harry Potter brand.

Indeed, the rooms sport no mention of Harry or Gryyfindor but rather just some vague wizarding touches like walls that look like castle walls, mirrors that look like castle windows and furniture that looks like castle furniture, along with some plaid blankets, old luggage and other items that might be found at Hogwarts. There isn't even a quidditch broom lying around!

The Georgian is simply taking advantage of the fact that Harry Potter took place in London and that the city now offers a "Muggle Walking Tour" and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour--The Making of Harry Potter. Neither of these tours are included in the £209 Wizard Chamber room rate, although breakfast is. But lest the hotel try to pull a fast one over Warner Brothers you, they included this disclosure on their website:

Please note that the Wizard Chambers at the Georgian House provide a unique magical experience, and are not part of the Warner Bros official tour and have not been endorsed, sanctioned or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Harry Potter book publishers or J.K.Rowling and her representatives.

If there ever was a real Harry Potter Hotel opening, we'd be the first to know. But we don't think it will happen for a while. Warner Brothers won't even let all the hotels at Universal Studios in Orlando do anything Harry-themed with their rooms.

[Photo: Georgian House Hotel]

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South Kensington Will Get Its Exhibitionist Earlier (And Cheaper) Than Expected

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  Site Where: 8-10 Queensberry Place, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom, SW7 2EA
October 30, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Well this isn’t very true to character. The Exhibitionist Hotel in South Kensington, which we told you about last month, is opening earlier than its scheduled 1 December date – rooms are available to book from 10 November.

An early opening is weird in itself, but what’s weirder is that the hotel’s own website, which was imminent last time we checked in, is still not up and running - there’s just a placeholder page with email addresses to contact. Less than two weeks to go and no website? That’s brave.

You can, of course, still book through the Preferred Hotel Group, which is showing rooms from £368 on opening night. But if you’re planning to book, you should do it through flash sale site Secret Escapes, which has it for £199 – good value for the location.

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Shiva Hotels Will Renovate Kingsway Hall, Build New London Hotel

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  Site Where: Covent Garden, St James's, London, United States
October 28, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Never heard of Shiva Hotels before? Neither had we, but we have a sense they’ll be on our radar going forward. Why? They may be behind the new Hilton at London’s Heathrow Terminal 5 and the even newer Hampton by Hilton at London Waterloo, but the small UK group seems to be upping its profile further with more properties in the city.

First up is the Kingsway Hall Hotel, just east of Covent Garden, in what was once a Methodist Church. Shiva recently acquired the hotel and is planning on sinking £15 million into a renovation. Check out the 'before' below.

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Have Pasta, Will Travel: Massimo Bottura Comes to the Connaught For One Night Only

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  Site Where: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
October 28, 2014 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

He was the beautifully understated world-class chef. She was the equally lauded chef at a top London hotel. Together, they came together for the good of the people – coming to the capital for one night only, on Monday 10 November.

Yes, on 10 November Hélène Darroze is lending her kitchen at The Connaught to Massimo Bottura, who, along with the team he’s bringing over, will serve an eight-course menu taking all the best bits from Osteria Francescana, his restaurant in Modena.

If you haven’t heard of it, you should have – it’s twice been ranked the third best restaurant in the world. Luckily for Londoners, the Connaught is one of Bottura’s favorite hotels – hence the collaboration.

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Sheraton Park Lane London Is Starting Its New Story

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  Site Where: Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom, W1J 7BX
October 27, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

We were thrilled to hear earlier this year that London’s Sheraton Park Lane would be getting its long overdue makeover, ripping out dated and faded guestrooms and freshening up public spaces. Now we can we show you a bit more of what you can expect post-renovation in the 303-room hotel.

Starting with accommodation, by mid-next year all rooms will look like the above, a huge leap forward compared to today. There is the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed at the heart with the requisite fresh white sheets, Art Deco influences in lighting fixtures and furniture, and what looks like an etched glass mirror panel above the bed.

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Andaz Liverpool Street Will Now Give You A Creepgazm

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  Site Where: 40 Liverpool Street, London, United Kingdom, EC2M 7QN
October 27, 2014 at 8:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you’ve been to Andaz Liverpool Street, you’ll know about the creepy Masonic Temple that lies in its bowels (yes, Americans, masons are considered kinda creepy across the pond). You’ll also know that it’s not often accessible, and usually opens for special events only. Luckily, though, there are two such events coming up.

The first is a screening of the new Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe film, Horns, coming up this Wednesday, its day of release. Sadly, Radcliffe himself won’t be there but the director of the film will be doing a Q&A. It’s part of the East End Film Festival, and tickets cost £10 – details here.

But far more exciting (unless Harry turns up) is the event – or Andaz Salon – on 19 November, which will see the Grand Secretary of the Freemasons, Nigel Brown, discussing freemasonry and all its ins and out (including the secret handshake? Who knows). This one is free, but you’ll need to RSVP here as tickets are limited. At least, that’s the reason they’re giving.

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HotelChatter's Must-Stay Hotels for Fall 2014: East London

October 23, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Shoreditch High Street from the Ace rooftop

Introducing our handy hotel guides--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. We’re rounding up the last few weeks with a stop in east London. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.

Looking for a hotel in London? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless “Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?

Here are four different hotels to try in east London. So whether you’re going for pleasure or work and whether you’ve got cash to throw around or have pennies to count, these hotels will fulfill your needs. One common thread running through these hotel picks? They have all free WiFi. So during your stay, you can write us a thank you email for the recommendation.

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The Langham London Presents the Art of the Aperitif

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  Site Where: 1C Portland Place, London, United Kingdom, W1B 1JA
October 23, 2014 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Pouring the Martini Royales

It’s the terrible dilemma that faces you when you set foot in the Langham London. Does one head straight into Palm Court for one of the best afternoon teas in the world capital of afternoon teas? Or does one turn left and nip into Artesian for a perfectly blended cocktail?

Clearly, it wasn’t just us having a moral dilemma, because the Langham has just started The Art of the Aperitif - a pop-up bar bringing drinks from Artesian into Palm Court.

It’s being run in conjunction with Martini, so all the drinks (there are seven) have vermouth and, and there’s Martini memorabilia scattered around. But it’s no boring promo thing – the drinks have been created by Artesian’s Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale (head bartender and assistant head respectively), and there are food pairings (or snacks, rather), too, for the all important stomach-lining process.

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As 2014 Begins to Wind Down, Here's a Look at London's Newest Hotels

October 22, 2014 at 10:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

Six pictures of six London hotels. Which one is the odd one out? Your time starts…. now.

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The Z Hotels Branches Out West To Marylebone Too

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  Site Where: 51-55 Gloucester Place, London, United Kingdom
October 21, 2014 at 8:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Here a hotel, there a hotel, everywhere a hotel, hotel: The Z Hotels is not letting up on its London expansion. It opened just south of Piccadilly earlier this year, which couldn’t be more central unless you camped out under the neon of Piccadilly Circus itself. It’s heading east, like everyone else, with a hotel in oh-so-fashionable Shoreditch coming next year, but despite its affordable roots, it’s not afraid of a little Marylebone action.

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M by Montcalm Shoreditch Is Aiming For Opening Early Next Year

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  Site Where: 151-157 City Road, London, United Kingdom, EC1V 1JH
October 17, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’ve been wondering for a while now what’s happening with the M by Montcalm Shoreditch, under construction just north of Old Street roundabout in London. Between inconsistent information about size, opening date, and rumors that it could become a Virgin, the best we had were our own shots of the angular exterior on City Road and a guestimate of opening sometime next year.

Those Virgin rumors we’ll shelve as just that for now, given that we have official news from Montcalm Hotels that it will open the hotel early next year, along with a more extensive website. The first room photo isn’t really making our heart beat any faster with anticipation just yet if we’re honest, with the walls, curtains, carpet, and not-quite-balanced bedspread virtually the same greyish-beige color.

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'Tis The Season for Sketch of the Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Tree at Claridge's!

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  Site Where: Brooke Street, London, United Kingdom, W1
October 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Halloween hasn't even happened yet Claridge's in London, a Must-Stay Hotel, is already looking forward to the Christmas holidays.

As usual, the Mayfair hotel has released the sketch for the fashionable Christmas tree. And once again, fashion duo Dolce & Gabbana will be in charge of the tree decorating.

To be unveiled on November 19, the "Fairy Merry Christmas" tree will be surrounded by an enchanted forest, tended to by woodland animals and decked with hand-painted, blown-glass spheres featuring famous landmarks from cities around the world. Well, this is certainly different than last year's outrageous tree.

You can peep the sketch for the tree here but we'll be back with pictures of the real thing on or around November 19.

[Sketch: Claridge's]