london Travel Guide
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Will this be the Hudson London?
If you thought London would be taking a break when it comes to hotel openings after a rather frenetic Olympic year, think again: the next few years look to be filled with all sorts of exciting stuff to keep us happy. We’re listing the hotels we have our eyes on for you below, and stay tuned as we will be taking you inside when we can.
- A rebirth rather than a brand new hotel, the former St. John Hotel became One Leicester Street on May 1, including a refurbished restaurant and outdoor terrace
- Over in King’s Cross, the Great Northern Hotel also got a new a lease on life as part of the revitalization of the entire station, with sleeper compartment-inspired rooms called Couchettes
- South Kensington got a new boutique hotel contender this month in the form of the 99-room Xenia Hotel on Cromwell Road, not far from the Ampersand we showed you last year
- Affordable-chic brand base2stay is re-branding itself as Nadler Hotels, and its flagship The Nadler Soho will open on June 1, a stone’s throw from the likes of Dean Street Townhouse and Firmdale’s the Soho Hotel
- This isn't really a new hotel but it is newsworthy--The Waldorf-Astoria Syon Park has now been downgraded to just the Hilton London Syon Park. A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson told Business Insider that, "Having operated the property since March 2011, we've mutually agreed with our owner that the new positioning will be the best fit for the local market."
Last week, we had a general manager living in a bubble to promote his hotel. This week, a hotel manager has abseiled off the side of building to support a charity.
Sally Beck, who works as manager of the Lancaster London, joined 100 thrill-seeking volunteers today in plunging down the side of the hotel, which is one of London's tallest hotels. Of course, they were all safely strapped in and wearing helmets but still, that's quite a big commitment to make.
Yet the experience is worth it as all funds will go towards Springboard's “Kickstart Programme”, which supports young school and college leavers with their first step onto the career ladder.
A brave soul who abseiled off the hotel last year.
Want to glimpse the gorgeous views of London from the Lancaster without hurling yourself off the building? Rates this summer start at $200 a night.
Are you a general manager about to engage in a wacky stuff either to promote your hotel or to help out a charity? We wanna hear about it! So send us all the crazy details here.
[Photos: Lancaster London/Smile Photography]
It's a truth universally acknowledged that luxury hotel guests are extremely picky about their bath toiletries. After all, no one wants to pay top dollar for a hotel room only to find a mall-store brand of shampoo and conditioner waiting for them in the shower. We ourselves are especially partial to Kiehl's, Red Flower, Bulgari or Asprey when we're paying over $400 a night.
Fortunately, guests at the No. 11 Cadogan Gardens, a former private members club turned boutique hotel, won't have to worry about the in-room toiletry selection. That's because a Sloane Street perfumery, Ormonde Jayne, is now supplying the 54 guestrooms with a variety of amenities.
We love a room with a view, particularly when that room comes with a built-in window seat to enjoy it all. This combination can be found in the Executive rooms at the London Park Lane Hilton; located on floors 18 to 27 (this shot is from the 20th floor). You’ll take full advantage of being in one of the tallest buildings in the area.
Views range from the greenery of Hyde Park and Knightsbridge/South Kensington, like in the above photo, to city views of Mayfair and the West End. As appealing as they are, the trade-off comes with the hotel’s exterior, which sticks out like a sore thumb at the eastern edge of Hyde Park, but you won’t see that when inside, right? If you’re not staying the night, you can still sample the views in the bar, Galvin at Windows, on the 28th floor.
We found an Executive room on a Saturday in early June for £419 ($650) a night, but special offers can be a much better value from time to time.
[Photo: JasonD for HotelChatter]
Royal Hotels / London Hotels / Sweet Suites / Kate Middleton / Prince William / Marriott Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / Hotel Cribs / → All Tags
Places like The Goring, The Stafford and Park Plaza Hotels were all quick to join in the royal wedding mania that took place two summers ago, but here's one hotel that seems to be starting a new trend: royal baby mania.
London's Grosvenor House has chosen to re-decorate one of its Premium Park suites in anticipation of Kate Middleton and Prince William's firstborn. Not that, like, the baby is actually planning to stay there (at this moment, it can't even digest its own food, so we don't see how it could be making hotel reservations…), but, you know, just in case.
"Suite Dreams" is a fully-equipped nursery, with a luxurious four-poster crib, hand-painted furniture, Beatrix Potter-inspired designs, and a children's play area with a London-themed toy cupboard.
The whole thing is pretty impressive, actually, though no surprise there, as Daily Mail tells us the suite was actually designed by Dragons of Walton Street, a studio that's created nurseries for the Royal Family in the past.
Back in early 2011, London’s West End welcomed the white spaceship that is the W Leicester Square in a whirlwind of celebs and experimental theater. The hotel made such a big splash that it was bound to overshadow the opening shortly after, of its small neighbor, the St. John Hotel.
Having struggled through several delays due to the unforeseen reconstruction needed to prepare the building for its new lease on life, the St. John unfortunately went into administration less than two years after opening. Following an acquisition by Singaporean hotelier Peng Loh, the man behind the Unlisted Collection, the hotel will officially become part of this group today under the new name One Leicester Street Hotel.
Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Morgans Hotel Group / Mondrian Hotels / Hudson Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
We might have talked about Morgans Hotel Group most recently given the drama surrounding The Delano South Beach, but on the other side of the pond there’s positive news to share: some first details on both Mondrian and Hudson London.
Having looked at some early shots of Sea Containers House as it began its transformation, and watched its Jubilee-inspired wrapping, we see construction progressing week after week, which should lead to Mondrian London opening early next year.
Hotel Restaurants / Hotel News / London Hotels / UK Hotels / Fairmont Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
The Savoy in London, managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, is launching its new Art Deco restaurant concept on Thursday, May 2: Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill. By naming it Kaspar’s the hotel is keeping alive one of its most celebrated (and superstitious) guests.
Here’s the story: In 1898, South African diamond magnate Woolf Joel held a dinner at The Savoy for fourteen guests and one cancelled at the last minute. The dinner continued, but one superstitious guest announced that death would come to the first person to leave the unlucky table of thirteen. Joel took that gamble and a few weeks later he was shot dead in Johannesburg.
To avoid a repeat performance and damage to its reputation, The Savoy offered a member of the staff to sit amongst tables of thirteen thereafter. However, unable to discuss private matters or tell ribald jokes, this proved to be unpopular with guests and thus, in a stroke of genius, Kaspar the cat was born.
This three-foot sculpture of a cat was made in 1926. For 90 years , The Savoy has been happy to oblige parties of thirteen with Kaspar's company, where he wears a jaunty napkin around his neck and is given his own place setting to enjoy every course.
Britain’s first - and only - female Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, passed away earlier today, aged 87, following a stroke.
As tributes from the United Kingdom and around the world are coming in, both CNN and BBC are reporting Baroness Thatcher passed away at The Ritz London, the classic hotel on Piccadilly we recently discussed. She had been staying here “since being discharged from hospital at the end of last year” according to the BBC, having suffered poor health for a number of years, and retired from public speaking since 2002.
An enormously influential figure in both British and worldwide politics, Thatcher was Conservative Prime Minister between 1979 and 1990. We couldn’t possibly do justice to her legacy and accomplishments here, so we’ll point to the BBC obituary for those wanting to read more.
[Photos:Daily Mirror/The Ritz London]
Those of you who have a major sweet tooth and a love for hotels would have had your dreams come true a few weeks ago in London, where Tate & Lyle Sugars (the UK’s largest cane sugar brand), created the world’s first (pop-up) hotel entirely made from cake.
A team of 14 cake makers labored away for more than 2,000 (that’s two thousand) hours to bake and 900 hours to decorate eight “tasting” rooms in celebration of the launch of Tate & Lyle’s “Taste Experience” range of golden and brown cane sugars.
Hotel Sales / Hotel News / London Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Constellation Hotels / → All Tags
The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) sold the luxurious, 447-room InterContinental London Park Lane to an affiliate of Constellation Hotels last week for about $460 million, building upon a fire sale that's been going on for the past decade. Since 2003, IHG has sold 191 hotels, at a rate of about 19 hotels a year, for a $6.1 billion profit.
They made a pretty penny on the Park Lane property, too, flipping it for 62% more than its December 2012 book value, by selling it to a Middle Eastern private investment group, and continuing a trend of Middle Eastern investment in London.
Recently, Qatar purchased Harrods department store and helped to finance the construction of the Shard skyscraper.
IHG says the profits will be used for "general corporate purposes," which we figure will include champagne parties, backstage passes, and pillow fights involving supermodels. Seriously though, we see big numbers thrown around all the time, so we're always more focused on the practical questions, like, will anything change as far as the consumer is concerned?
Having shown you the hotel’s top-end Prince of Wales Suite, we’re following up today with the details on our stay at The Ritz London, including, lo and behold: free WiFi. At the Ritz. Who would have thought that?
Check In & Room Reaction
We walked the few steps from Green Park tube station to the Ritz and were checked in and personally shown to our room within minutes. We’ve seen almost the entire spectrum of room categories at the Ritz, from cozy entry-level Superior Queens to the top-end suites. Layouts vary, as do color schemes (pink, yellow, peach, and blue). Bathrooms are where you're most likely to see evidence of the hotel being constructed over a century ago, when having a private bath was a novelty, so you may want to inquire, depending on your preferences, for a bathtub or a separate shower.