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London's Hot Hotel Scene Keeps Heating Up as The Olympics Draw Near

July 24, 2012 at 9:42 AM | by | ()

It's hotel list time! With the opening ceremony of the Olympics ever closer (and possible border control strikes threatening to make arriving in the UK less than painless), London will be taking its place in the spotlight for the next few months.

Both the city and its hotels hope that there will be a positive effect on in-bound tourism and business from the Games for years to come, which is (part of the reason) why scores of hotels have opened, are opening, were hoping to open in time, and will continue to open in the near future.

Below we're recapping properties that have opened their doors during the first half of this year, and those that are on our radar for the rest of the year.

Newly opened:

Belgraves, A Thompson Hotel (opened February 1, 2012): almost two years to the day after we asked the question "what's happening to the Sheraton Belgravia?", Thompson arrived with Belgraves, its first European hotel. We were there on opening night, which was not without its problems, including dinner at restaurant Hix, which we likened to being in a Kafka novel. Reviews on TripAdvisor are a bit mixed, with some guests praising the staff and the design, but others noting small rooms and inadequate lighting. The hotel seems to respond to almost every review posted, which is always a good thing to see.

Apex Temple Court (opened Spring 2012): hidden away off of Fleet Street, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice and east of Covent Garden, the Temple Court Hotel opened relatively quietly earlier this year.

Bulgari London (opened late May, 2012): a brand new building opposite the swank One Hyde Park apartment complex in Knightsbridge, we figured this place would scream money, but it seems not in a good way, with the Daily Mail dubbing it the "Vulgari" hotel. Ouch.

Dorset Square Hotel

Dorset Square Hotel (opened mid-June, 2012): the return of Firmdale to this townhouse hotel close to Baker Street brings Kit Kemp's signature look of patterns, bold colors, and textures to 39 rooms, the Potting Shed restaurant, and resident drawing room, all with a cricket theme.

Z Hotel Victoria (opened June 2012): sister hotel to Z Soho, this is another addition to the budget chic trend. Labelled as "The Urbanite Stay", rooms are small, and some do not have windows, but prices are wallet-friendly (from £75 ($117). While Z Soho is at the eastern end of Old Compton Street, the main drag of Soho filled with restaurants and bars, Z Victoria is a few minutes away from Victoria station.

citizenM Bankside (opened July, 2012): we talked at length about the rooms and the public spaces at citizenM Bankside following our visit. This would totally be a hotel on our list were we looking for a stylish place to stay in London that wouldn't break the bank. The first guests seem to agree with us, with glowing reviews pushing it into the Top20 on TripAdvisor.

Hilton London Wembley (opened July, 2012): a 361-room hotel directly opposite the famous Wembley stadium and part of the gigantic Wembley City regeneration scheme. British design and references to Wembley history are prominently featured, with a ninth-floor rooftop terrace that has direct views of the stadium itself.

No.11 Cadogan Gardens (opened July, 2012): a conversion of a private members club, No.11 Cadogan Gardens is now open to the public, offering 54 guest rooms and four suites with private garages (!), close to on one of London's prettiest squares. Walking around these streets always gets us a serious case of real-estate envy, and we love getting a look at a property that was previously off-limits, so this will be on our list of places to visit soon.

Tune Hotels expansion: from its start at Tune Westminster, you can now find these budget-friendly hotels in Liverpool Street, and at King's Cross and Paddington stations.

Still to come in 2012:

The Ampersand Hotel (opening August 29, 2012): a boutique hotel with 111 rooms and suites in fancy South Kensington with design inspired by "the Victorian values of discovery and wonder".

Cafe Royal (opening "summer" 2012): part of The Set Hotels, which includes Amsterdam's Conservatorium and soon the Lutetia in Paris, we've followed construction on the northern edge of Piccadilly Circus for a long time. It took over three years, with David Chipperfield Architects responsible for merging the Grade I listed public rooms of the famous original into the 159-room luxury hotel.

South Place Hotel

South Place Hotel (September 2012): the first venture of D&D London restaurant group, South Place hotel will open in the City just after the Games. Our eye here is on Angler rooftop restaurant and the result of the hotel's Art Prize, which should be on display on the ground floor come opening day.

ME by Meliá (September 2012): another hotel that will miss it's pre-Olympics opening, the fifth ME by Meliá will bring another welcome addition to rooftop bars in London. The Aura Experience Managers the hotel will boast have us intrigued, but the $900 rates for a room on "The Level" give us a case of sticker-shock.

Accor Southbank (opening "summer" 2012): a mixture of Accor brands, including a Novotel and Ibis, all in the same building, a few minutes' walk from the Thames Southbank. Due to complete before the Olympics, but no listings on the Accor website yet.

The Wellesley (opening November 2012): a 36-room hotel a few doors down from Hyde Park Corner in Knightsbridge, with London's largest suite and a particular focus on cigars.

Think we missed a hotel? Let us know in the comments!

[Images: HotelChatter, Firmdale Hotels]

Archived Comments:

Please Update

Dear Jason

A little - actually absolutely shocked that you didnt cover the largest hotel chain of UK PREMIER INN (WHITBREAD PLC) which has more than 600 hotels in UK only and it is the NO 1 Busget Hotel Chain of the World and UK also. It is one of the top performing compnies on the UK Stock exchange (WHITBREAD PLC)and most sought after company because of its profits and also that it owns Costa Coffee.

Rgds Taranjot Gulati
AVP Development
Premier Inn India