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Last week we announced the arrival of a new Hilton at Heathrow airport so it's only right that the Railway Stations get some decent hotels. The latest station hotel to get a face lift is the Grosvenor Victoria (formerly the Thistle Victoria) which will be upgraded to a four-star deluxe hotel once the £18 million works are complete this November.
The hotel will join Guoman Hotels who have six other London hotels including The Royal Horseguards Hotel and The Cumberland. The hotel is situated in a listed building, let's just hope they don't make the same mistake as St Pancras Renaissance and skimp on the sound proofing.
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Erm, maybe not, as our favorite mailout Popbitch pointed out this morning. Given that Hendrix died in a hotel (the Samarkand, not the Cumberland – he just used to live in the Cumberland) – it’s actually a little bit distasteful, no?
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The London Hotel Scene is sooo hot right now what with a W Hotel, a Tune Hotel, a Thompson Hotel, an Aloft Hotel, a Heliport Hotel and the reopening of The Savoy all happening within the next year. But the scene may get even hotter.
Bloomberg News reports today that the Royal Bank of Scotland sold The Cumberland Hotel on Great Cumberland Place to London & Regional Properties Ltd. and Starwood Capital Group LLC aka Barry Sternlicht's hotel group.
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Strum it, sister
There are hotel amenities, people, and then there are Hotel Amenities. If we’re being bold, we’d venture to say that this fits into the second category.
As we strolled into the Royal Horseguards to take our Wimbledon tea last week, we were greeted by a doorman (ok), a receptionist (totally normal) and then a harpist. Yes, a harpist. Stationed in the corridor by the tea room, strumming her little heart out for the duration of the service.
We actually missed most of her performance as we opted to sit on the terrace outside (nothing against harpists, it was just nice weather) but even without enjoying her to the max, we were thoroughly tickled by her existence. Definitely beats the awkward silence as everyone tries desperately to be posh that you find elsewhere. Game, set and match to the Horseguards.
Game, set, tea time!
You may not have noticed, what with the World Cup and everyfink, but there is another big sporting thing going on at the moment – and it’s altogether more genteel than burly men running round after a ball.
Yes, people, it’s Wimbledon time. And if you’re in London but too busy glued to the football to make it down to SW19, you can get the feel of it by either switching on the telly with a cup of tea and some strawberries and cream (boring) or popping over to the Royal Horseguards on Embankment for a special Wimbledon tea (much more fun).
This picture of Miranda is sexier than the Guoman's new SATC package.
It surprises us that despite all the SATC packages going down around the place, we haven’t had more London hotels offering their own deals. There was the Dorchester’s package, of course, but until now very little else.
So well done to Guoman hotels for having a go. The only problem is, the package isn’t very, um, sexy. Although it is straight to the point. So although it’s called The Guoman Shopping Experience, we’ll be referring to it as The Miranda.
Book The Miranda and you’ll get £50 in Selfridges vouchers. There. That’s it. No free cocktails, no stupid style consultations, no interconnecting rooms for you and your girlies. Just moolah.
Easter in London for half price? Yes please. Guoman Hotels are being quite proactive about getting bums on quilts at the moment, and their latest fad is the simply named 50 percent off this Easter deal.
Expect exactly what the title suggests – half price rooms over the Easter period, with no pesky minimum stay or anything like that.
The only snag? Three of the four hotels have already sold out of availability for the package, but The Cumberland still has room.
Sherlock Holmes fever is going to hit London on Boxing Day thanks to the double serving of fitness that Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr are bringing to their new film adaptation (sorry Jude Law, we’re not including you in the fit stakes).
Anyway, those of you who liked your Angels & Demons tours might like to know that you can tour the locations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books on the cheap with the new iPhone app, The Sherlock Holmes Guide to London. There are 60 locations featured, and as well as the bleedin’ obvious ones like Baker Street, there’s a spot for the Charing Cross Hotel as well.
Last time we heard about the Royal Horseguards in London, it was doing its bit for charity. Now we’re delighted to report it’s doing its bit for us as well, by knocking 30 percent off its rates over the Christmas season.
Stay between December 18 – January 17 and you can get 30 percent off the best available winter room rate. Not only that, but the hotel promises to be “lavishly decorated” over the hols, with a “roaring coal fire” and a “fully trimmed Christmas tree”. Fully trimmed? We thought that was for the turkey only.
The hotel’s bang on the Thames, so you should get an eyeful of the South Bank, which is always dressed up pretty for Christmas. And of course, there’s always the chance of a festive Secret Service ghost if you like that sort of thing.
To book, use code NNN27, and be warned - you'll need to pay up front and the rooms are non-refundable.
We’re liking Guoman Hotels’ "cold weather means booze" approach this winter. Last week they announced the launch of their charity cocktails at their four London hotels; this week, it’s the news that The Cumberland are starting up private mixology classes at their trendy Carbon Bar.
Hoxton Pony founder and BBC mixologist Andy Pearson is the man behind it again – he’s devised the classes and "trained the bar team" (though we hope they wouldn’t need much training, what with being professional cocktail mixers in the first place).
Anyway, sign up and they’ll whip through the history of cocktails over a Bellini, before letting you loose on eight cocktail recipes: four classic, four contemporary, including the gin-filled Park Lane, that’s launching this November in aid of Help for Heroes charity.
It costs £75 per head – which sounds like a pretty good for eight cocktails to us – and you’ll need six of you to book it. Available Tuesday to Saturday, day or night – they take place upstairs in the VIP area. To book, call bar manager Ben Martin on +44 207 479 5050.
We’ve had London hotels getting literary, arty, and now it looks like they’re getting a conscience. Guoman Hotels, which owns four in the centre of town – the Royal Horseguards, The Cumberland, Charing Cross and the Tower – have commissioned one of the UK’s top mixologists, Andy Pearson (co-founder of the ever-trendy Hoxton Pony), to create a new list of cocktails for their hotels. And 100% of the profits will go to charity.
The charities in question are The Household Cavalry’s Charitable Fund and Help for Heroes, both of which help injured British servicemen. And the drinks? There’s one for each hotel. The Cavalry Cocktail at The Royal Horseguards has port, cognac, Grand Marnier and burgundy (a recipe for a hangover if ever we heard one), and the Tower Cocktail (at the Tower Hotel, obvs) mixes Beefeater gin (Beefeaters live at the Tower of London next door, see?) with nutmeg and comes served in a jewellery box, like the Crown Jewels.