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When was the last time you sat inside the lobby of a major city hotel, sans open windows, and heard birdsong? Yeah, we couldn’t remember either, but it’s exactly what happened to us at Rosewood London last week. Our first reaction was one of dismissal, but when it persisted and we went exploring, it turned out to be real (admittedly, that made us feel a little bit better about our own sanity).
Make your way through the rose-bronze entrance gallery, which we still unreservedly love, turn left past the reception desk and by the set of elevators you’ll find a cage with finches and budgerigars. It’s one of many unexpected little things you’ll find around the hotel, now open just shy of two months on High Holborn, an area between the West End and the City that is rather incongruously being relabeled as “Midtown” by, among others, Mayor Boris Johnson.
We can’t tell you much that you don’t already know when it comes to Shangri-La at the Shard; we’ve documented its long and winding road to opening ad infinitum on this site. In fact, it’s nearly three and a half years ago we took our first pictures of the then under construction tallest building in Europe.
And no, unfortunately we still have no more specific window for opening than “first quarter of 2014”. But! The hotel has an updated, and slightly expanded, website, with details on room types, their views, and what looks like some actual photography from inside the hotel. While we pour over these snippets, we’ll go ahead and take it as confirmation – for now – that Shangri-La is indeed committed to making it across the finish line with its second western European hotel.
London’s Southbank is so hot right now, to use a phrase that generally makes us recoil a bit when we read it. That there is a lot of activity – hotel and otherwise – can’t be denied: Tate Modern is busy building its extension, the Mondrian is busy transforming Sea Containers House, and for those in the market for a million-dollar plus studio apartment, well, you’re in luck.
One question mark has been the giant hole in the ground on Great Suffolk Street, less than a block away from that Tate Modern extension and the frightfully expensive Neo Bankside residential complex. Planned to have a 288-room Hilton Bankside fill up the space by 2012, the site was dormant for the longest time. But wait! Things finally seem to be moving along, with what we expect to be an underground parking garage now nearly bringing the site to street level, and some early signs of rising from there. And there is more.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (of the boutique hotel guide, not the Brangelina movie) recently celebrated their ten-year anniversary by handing out their Smith Awards at a packed out event on London’s Brick Lane. Among the various categories was “Sexiest Hotel Room”, an award that was taken home by one of the first high-style, design-led hotels of the city: Blakes London, specifically for its Corfu Suite.
Watching the count down from 10 to runner up had us wondering whether we agreed with the result. Was this the sexiest hotel room? What would be our pick, and why? And what would you, dear reader, think?
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
Well, now, THIS is different. Andaz Liverpool Street in London just unveiled a giant golden "Santa Gorilla" in their front window, along with a barrel of gold 3D-printed monkeys that cascade down the lobby's rotunda with mistletoe in their hands.
The "Andaz Goes Ape" display was designed by Bobby Patmore from Inspitalfields and Ravensbourne College on behalf of Andaz and the Old Spitalfields shopping market in town.
But the ape theme doesn't just stop at the window display. Each evening in the Andaz lounge, guests can enjoy mini-banana bread loaves, banana chips, monkey nuts and mulled wine. Mini-tasters from the hotel restaurant's Christmas menus will also be on offer including quince chutney, pistachio purée, mulled wine jelly, turkey, stuffing & cranberry terrine and Butternut squash soup with spiced maple syrup.
The hotel has even created two Monkey-themed cocktailspriced at £10 each. “Monkey Business”, made for the ladies, is a fruity blend of Cruzan Rum, Crème de Banane, cranberry juice, apple juice and elderflower cordial. For the men, “Maker’s Monkey” serves up Maker’s Mark, Drambuie, Banana liqueur and dark chocolate liqueur. But of course, these drinks can be interchanged amongst the sexes. (Or so we hope!)
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When we talked about the impending closure – and auction of contents – of The Lanesborough, we mentioned that the closest option for those wanting to stay within the Starwood family while in London was the Park Tower in Knighstbridge, a few minutes’ walk west towards the department stores of Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
Turns out, just as the Lanesborough is going in for its makeover, the Park Tower has finished its own. Part of the group’s Luxury Collection, the hotel finished a redo of its public spaces this summer, with a new lobby, lounge, and bar.
After a run of over a decade, Gordon Ramsay's restaurant at Claridge's Hotel in London closed its doors in June this year. Ramsay has kept busy with his many other ventures (including much-hyped Union Street Cafe in Southwark, in the end without pal David Beckham), but we now know what's to come for Claridge's too: chef Simon Rogan, of two-Michelin star restaurant L'Enclume in Cumbria, will take the helm.
The new restaurant will open in Spring 2014, and as befits a hotel like Claridge's, even the construction is done in style. Passing by the hotel recently, the restaurant section on Davies Street has been covered with a 'fake' facade, which pretty successfully obscures what goes on inside.
It's the most special time of year: the unveiling of Claridge's Christmas tree!
Celebrated fashion designers, (and longtime Claridge’s guests), Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, revealed their stylish tree at the luxury London hotel on November 20. The tree features classic elements of a traditional Christmas tree, reinterpreted with a glamorous Sicilian twist -- hand-crafted Sicilian puppets, known as ‘pupi,’ hand-painted Italian glass baubles, and multi-colored "luminarie" framework created in Southern Italy.
Next time you find yourself looking up at the flashing neon signs of London’s busy Piccadilly Circus, or wading your way through the shopping crowds on Regent Street, know that there is a completely different world right underneath your feet. No, we’re not talking about the equally frantic tube station down below, but the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre at Café Royal Hotel.
Akasha is one of the last pieces of the Café Royal puzzle, which include the rooftop Dome Suite (where we had this view), the upcoming changes to the Ten Room restaurant, and the opening of the classic Domino Room. The contrast with what happens above ground couldn’t be bigger, in a vast subterranean space that aims to bring together the four basic elements of nature: earth, water, fire, and air. Read on to find out what lies beyond that staircase.
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Since its beginning as a members-only club in London that you probably couldn't get into, Soho House has come a long way -- from New York to Miami, Toronto, Berlin and more -- becoming a touch more welcoming in the process.
It was just a couple of weeks ago that we heard rumors of Soho House opening up a new hotel in what used to be the BBC Center in London. Now we hear that there are confirmed plans for a different hotel in another part of the city: in, well, the City (that's London's financial district).
Time for a quick round-up of Soho House's heady expansion plans, we think.
The Beaufort Bar at Savoy
While some hotel rooftops continue to go strong no matter how far the mercury drops, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere you will have in most cases – reluctantly or not – headed indoors to seek refuge from winter by now. As much as we love being outdoors on a balmy summer evening, curling up inside with a drink during the colder months, roaring fire possibly nearby, has a charm all its own.
Here are four London hotel bars we will be heading to until the daffodils come out to play again.
We're still not over the shocking news of Alex Calderwood's sudden death last week. And judging from the emails we've received and the tweets we've seen, people who knew Alex personally are still in utter shock as well.
While details of his death have not been released, the Daily Beast did find out that Calderwood passed away in a hotel room at the just-opened Ace London Shoreditch last Thursday afternoon. By the time The Daily Beast arrived at the hotel on Sunday, they could hardly find anything amiss in the lobby and restaurant. However, employees at the hotel were shaken.
But behind the game faces, the staff had, however, clearly been rattled by the events of recent days, which came to a dramatic head when an ambulance, preceded by a paramedic on a bike, arrived at the hotel at 2:30pm on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the body of Calderwood was discovered.
Calderwood was pronounced dead on the scene. The police said his death was not suspicious but would not give any further details until a post-mortem was carried out this week. Calderwood has publicly mentioned his struggles with alcoholism but it's not clear if that played any role in his death.