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London has had a few big years in hotels, including our best opening for 2013, but the next twelve months should give us plenty to pore over too. Just like the five worldwide openings we lifted out of our Master List of Worldwide Hotel Openings, here are 6 London hotels you should keep an eye out for this year.
Firmdale's Ham Yard Hotel : we’ve been taking pictures for a long time of the construction site, but this year should really be the year when Firmdale adds a new flagship to its quirky collection of individually Kit Kemp-styled hotels. Located just off of Piccadilly Circus with 90 rooms and suites and a whole range of amenities (bowling alley anyone?), the hotel will complete a piece of the puzzle in this revamped area between Regent Street and Soho. Recruitment has started, and based on the website, we think it will actually be called the Ham Yard Hotel when it opens in May.
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Yesterday, when we found out that Ace Hotels would be opening next in London we guesstimated it would be about a year before Ace worked its hipster hotel magic on the existing Crowne Plaza Hotel which Ace referred to as " inherently aesthetically-challenged". But according to the New York Time's T Magazine, the Ace Shoreditch London will actually open in September. Yes, this September! And already, the hotel is swathed in huge amounts of scaffolding so work is indeed underway.
We also learned a little bit more about what will be inside like a restaurant and bar from David Waddington and Pablo Flack who already run Bistrotheque in town (and according to Ace's hotelier Alex Calderwood, "Made Shoreditch what it is", while Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby of Universal Design Studio are doing the facade and interiors. Guestrooms will sport "British-made Revo radios and Rega turntables" while downstairs in the lobby, it won't be Stumptown Coffee but rather London's own Square Mile Coffee Roasters as well as That Flower Shop.
No word yet on room rates but this is Ace, not Bulgari or even Edition, so we suspect them to be fairly affordable. We'll keep you posted of course as soon as we find out!
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All of the reviews are insanely positive with two being about the bar and restaurant options (the Radio rooftop, the STK eatery and Cucina Aselina are fully open for business), one review in French and another review praising the hotel design and recommending travelers pick a room as high up as possible to get views of the Thames.
While the price is right and the nightlife options are in full swing, the hotel is still in a soft-opening phase so there may still be some kinks to work out. Word is a full opening is expected in March but we'll be sure to update you when that's finalized.
'Til then, enjoy your time with ME.
[Screengrab taken January 21st from ME London's website]
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As August has officially rolled into September, we’ve had to say goodbye to the summer that never really was in London (weather-wise that is) and turn our hope towards the early fall months to still be able to hotel rooftop at some of the city’s newest hotels.
One of the places on our list to hop into the express elevator for as soon as possible is Radio, the 10th floor rooftop bar, lounge & terrace at ME by Mélia London.
The last time we talked about the hotel, and as part of our London hotel openings to watch for this year, we were hoping for a September 1 opening. We still saw plenty of people with hard hats wandering around this past weekend, and the reservation system allows bookings from September 28.
What else is there to look forward to at ME by Melia London? Stay tuned to find out!
When earlier this summer we recapped the London hotels that have opened since the start of this year and that are on our radar for the next few months, we had The Ampersand Hotel listed with an August 29 opening date. And lo and behold, not only did the hotel open yesterday, we had a chance to look around this South Kensington newcomer earlier this week.
Located on Harrington Road, seconds away from the South Kensington tube station, The Ampersand takes its inspiration from this swank area of London. Royal Albert Hall, the Chelsea Physic Garden, as well as the Natural History, Science and V&A Museums are all close by, and reflected in five main themes that run throughout the hotel and different room categories.
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UPDATE: The hotel will actually open in October. A firm opening date is expected in a few weeks. We pulled the December 1st date from the LHW website.
We’ve been following the transformation of the venerable Café Royal in London from meeting place for artists and intellectuals (Oscar Wilde used to be a regular) into a hotel for the 21st century since way back in 2008.
We saw some of the construction progress earlier this year, with the hotel facing Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus, and an office/retail complex (including a giant Whole Foods) behind it. The site is in the middle of an area that is undergoing a little renaissance, with a chunk just to the south between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street being rebuilt (opposite the Le Méridien Piccadilly we talked about last week), the hotly-awaited Firmdale flagship a few steps east, and a planned 500-room pod hotel in the Trocadero complex just a bit further, right up to the shiny white spaceship that is the W Leicester Square.
With an expected pre-Olympics opening being missed and the website of parent group The Set Hotels having so few details available, we’ve eagerly awaited a first look at the hotel’s interiors. Imagine our surprise when we stumbled on a number of renderings over at The Leading Hotels of the World, where Café Royal is already listed.
Rounding up London hotels last week that have opened this year and are on our radar for the next few months, we knew would never be comprehensive in our coverage. London has simply too much going on on the hotel front, whether that’s AKA Residences coming to Marylebone or Premier Inn adding two hotels (Leicester Square and Southwark) in May alone.
Brand-new builds, gut renovations, and conversions, the city’s hotels come in all shapes and sizes. One new property we listed that falls in the conversion category is No.11 Cadogan Gardens, a former private members club turned hotel following recent renovations. Tucked away between Sloane and Cadogan Square, No.11 is right in the heart of some of the fanciest parts of town, where Belgravia, Knightsbridge, and Chelsea meet, and with more designer stores within strolling distance than most credit cards could withstand.
That's because we just got word that AKA Hotels will open a spot in London's West End this October in a historic 1920s building in the Marylebone neighborhood. And much like the upcoming AKA Beverly Hills, these serviced residences will require a 30-day minimum.
However, there will be only be nine residences with some of the studio and one-bedroom apartments occupying their own floor. Here's what else will be inside:
Each suite will feature bespoke furniture; gourmet kitchens with grey lacquer cabinetry, charcoal caesarstone countertops and stainless-steel appliances, as well as full marble baths. Artwork, which will be unique to each suite, will complement the overall design. Sumptuous linens, central air conditioning, washers/dryers, complimentary Sky TV, complimentary wireless internet access and complimentary local telephone service with direct dial and personal voicemail will ensure residents are comfortable in their AKA home away from home.
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.
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If there's one thing we know goes well with a new hotel opening, it's a hotel opening delay. So is the story for ME by Meliá London, which, like many new hotels in London, was planning to open in time to welcome the crowds set to descend on the city for the Olympics. Crowds that could afford the expected £400 ($626) nightly rates, that is.
Walking by the hotel several times a week, the projected mid-July opening seemed aggressive to us, judging from the ongoing construction. Latest news confirms that reservations are now accepted from September 1.
London will be only the fifth ME by Meliá hotel in the world, the others being in Spain (Barcelona, Madrid) and Mexico (Cancún, Cabo). These "experience-based personality hotels in global capitals of culture & cool" belong to Spanish Meliá Hotels International group, so you'll hear Spanish first when you ring global reservations.
On Monday, we talked at length about the rooms inside citizenM's Bankside London Hotel, which just opened the other week. We're following up today with more on what you can find in the public spaces, including the living room / lounge area, restaurant canteenM, and first floor meeting rooms.
The expansive ground floor, much larger than in the earlier citizenM hotels, features ample space to lounge, work, and eat. You can see some of the various seating areas sprinkled around the space in the pictures, including a small courtyard with birch trees and bright red patio furniture.
There are plenty of tables to catch up on some work or your emails (remember, Wifi is free free free), or have a last-minute meeting using one of the flat-screen TVs to finish that presentation for tomorrow. Four complementary Macs can be found just beyond the courtyard on the left if you do not have a computer with you.
When we last stopped by citizenM Bankside in June, we thought the group's first London hotel looked nearly ready to go. Turns out we were right: soft opening happened a few weeks ago, and we were invited to attend a press preview just last week to get all the details on what will be a game-changing hotel for citizenM.
There's so much to talk about that we will break it down for you in two parts. First up, a bit of background on the philosophy of citizenM, their plans for London and beyond, and the rooms. We'll have more for you on the public spaces later this week.