United Kingdom Travel Guide
We’re getting close to the midway point of 2015, and so far we only have one confirmed opening from our list of five London hotels to watch this year (that’s the M by Montcalm Shoreditch). Things are looking up this week though, starting with online reservations going live for stays from August 15 at The Laslett Notting Hill, the new townhouse hotel we told you about late last year.
We can see rates starting from £155 ($244) on a Sunday night for a Spare Room Double, which range from 193-203 sq ft. That’s a prepaid rate, which goes up to £255 ($400) on a Saturday night. Largest rooms are Master Bedroom Suites at 313-360 sq ft, which on a Saturday in August is £350 ($550) a night when prepaid. Spare Room Singles are the entry-level category but as the name implies, sleep only one.
Four Seasons London at Trinity Square, another obscenely expensive hotel heading to the UK
Are you planning a trip to the UK any time soon? Apologies in advance. We’re ever so sorry, but unfortunately a new study has shown that British hotels are substantially more expensive than European ones – in fact, you’ll end up spending £76 ($120) more on a night in the UK than on the continent.
There are several factors at play, here – the euro is getting weaker and the pound stronger, London is of course obscenely expensive, which pumps up the averages, and extras like food generally cost more in the UK.
According to the study by HRS (reported in City AM), business travellers spend an average of £65 per night in Europe on a room, or £129 including “breakfast and other services”.
On a visit to Dublin a few months ago, we were struck by how the traditionally stale hotel scene was getting a much needed injection with openings like The Dean. Now it looks like the same thing may be happening north of the border, with Northern Irish chain Hastings Hotels announcing a new property in Belfast.
Windsor House, an office block in the center of Belfast, is already one of the tallest buildings on the Emerald Isle; plans (which look likely to be approved, given that Belfast wants to double its tourist income) have now been submitted to turn it into a 200-room hotel, the Belfast Grand Central Hotel in a £30m conversion.
That’s a name that has gone before – the original Grand Central dated back to 1893 and was often dubbed the best hotel in Ireland, with the likes of the Beatles and Winston Churchill staying. It, too, had 200 bedrooms – good vibes!
It’s been quite some time since we sleot in a race car bed, as socially it’s kind of frowned upon for an adult—and well, we don’t exactly fit in it anymore. Hilton has heard our dilemma, and they recently opened up the next best thing thanks to their F1 partnership with the folks over at McLaren-Honda.
At Hilton London Heathrow Airport Hotel within the airport’s Terminal 4 there’s now a great place to welcome race fans, and that’s especially the case with the racing series coming to the UK during the first weekend of July.
In yet another sign that SE1 Waterloo/Southbank/Southwark has become "a postcode you pay for", as we’ve been told on more than one occasion (London, raise your hand with us if you feel like you missed that memo), Hoxton Hotels is expanding to a triple-threat in the city’s hotel market with the announcement that their third hotel, The Hoxton Southwark, is in the works.
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Just when you thought the cult of selfie sticks had reached critical mass… not only is a hotel advocating a selfie stick package, but it’s stocking the bloody minibars with the things.
The hotel in question is the Conrad London St James, a place that is no stranger to well thought out marketing strategies. But this time it’s gone too far, placing hotel-branded selfie sticks in the minibar for when the ego strikes. The retail price? £12. At least it’s cheaper than getting a therapist to diagnose a severe case of narcissism.
Cast your mind back to October when Hub Hotels – a spin off of Premier Inn – vowed to be the most technologically advanced chain in the UK. Eight months on, they’re not doing badly with this new Apple Watch app.
Cultybraggan Camp, an army property in Perthshire, Scotland, functioned as an unlikely prisoner of war camp in WWII, holding 40,000 German and Italian prisoners, including high up members of the Nazi regime, including, it’s said, Rudolf Hess (Hitler’s deputy).
When we took some photos of the former Port of London Authority last summer, the future Four Seasons London at Trinity Square was mostly covered in scaffolding, but even back then we commented on some of the beautiful architectural details of the 1920s Grade-II listed building.
Two cranes stood within its triangular core, damaged during WWII-bombings, but gone they are now, along with the scaffolding: you can clearly see the contemporary glass floors jut out just above the classic façade. That tells us things are progressing well towards a late 2016 opening of the third Four Seasons hotel in London – below a few more shots.
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Having just walked by, things are headed in the opposite direction, with a giant hole in the ground and the construction updates pinned to the plywood surrounding the site talking about the excavation of the new basement as well the installation of a crane on June 13 and site offices shortly after. If a first quarter 2016 opening is to be believed, the 156-room hotel needs to start rising quickly – we’d say it’s more likely end of the year if not 2017 before we’ll be sampling Nobu’s sushi here.
Not even a week after we said that citizenM needed to step it up in London to deliver its three additional hotels this year, did we find out that it would be at least 2016 for all of them. Six months on, we have some promising signs from Tower Hill, and none whatsoever over in Holborn.
Above a picture of citizenM Tower Hill, from the exact same spot we were at back in January and from which we saw the rendering well over a year ago. Covered up as it may be, things are clearly moving ahead for the 370-room group flagship – compare the below from early in the year, where all we had was the concrete lift shaft.
The owners of the Halcyon Apartments are Bath’s toned-down version of Sam Nazarian: They own The Halcyon Hotel, the Halcyon Apartments (which is really what we’re talking about here today), Circo Bar & Lounge (at The Halcyon), The Basement – a hopping nightclub, The Porter Bar and Lounge, and Clayton’s Kitchen, which is headed up by yet another Bath-based Michelin-starred chef, Rob Clayton (which begs the question: Do all Michelin chefs move to Bath?).
These hotel and lounge mini moguls opened the Halcyon Apartments, consisting of one two-bedroom and six one-bedroom suites, in a Georgian townhouse conveniently located on George Street, at the very foot of Bath’s main shopping street that also leads to its most well-known attractions.
The suites are done in a comfortable chic style that you can book for one night or 100 nights (online, though, you can only book for up to 14 days) so if you’re looking for a long-stay option or just want to spread out for a few days with the family, this is the place for you. (If you’re looking for a room-room you can book into The Halcyon hotel, found at the other end of the historic area on South Parade.)