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When we talked about the new Bamford Haybarn spa at The Berkeley London earlier this fall, the plan was to show you the equally new Andre Fu Opus Suite the hotel introduced soon after. The fact that it took us nearly three months to find a time to see a suite that runs at about £10,000 ($16,000) a night, should, if nothing else, tell you something about the top end of the London hotel market these days.
Luckily, we did make it over to Knightsbridge on the brink of Christmas week to explore the 3,000 square feet of hand-picked furniture, artwork, and custom design by the man we know and love for Hong Kong’s Upper House. His first work in the United Kingdom, the Opus Suite has a vast open plan living room, dining room with full Poggenpohl kitchen, and a master bedroom with study and marble bathroom larger than most London apartments. A second bedroom can be connected, with a third bedroom option being planned.
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.
There is an additional reason to make it over to the top floor of London’s The Berkeley Hotel these days. Yes, there is the rare rooftop pool (synchronized swimming anyone?) and quiet courtyard garden (for winter cinemas), but now also a brand new Bamford Haybarn Spa.
We swung by to see how the original Cotswolds health retreat translates to a central London location and liked a lot of what we saw. This isn’t a glitz-filled space with marble and gold everywhere that you may expect in many of the city’s high-end spas. Broad wooden planks painted white and grey tones line the walls, with potted lavender bringing bright pops of green and purple. Products are from the Bamford Body Collection, with skincare by British company Oskia. Options range from individual treatments (say, a 55-minute de-stress massage at £100/$160) to a full-day spa experience, including five treatments, lunch, and a gift certificate, at £570/$920 (a figure that does make us gulp a bit).
Luxury hotels have a tendency to attract some scandale; if it isn’t the celebrity kind (hi Lindsay!), a good lawsuit will do. Even the Maybourne Hotel Group, a small collection of fa-fa-fancy London hotels including Claridge’s, the Connaught, and the Berkeley, isn’t immune.
The Guardian reports that the wealthy Barclays brothers are about to take control over the debt-laden group, amidst a flurry of legal battles, disputes, and general animosity. So what happened here?
The Berkeley is drawing people to its gym, and not for its treadmills. The Knightsbridge hotel transformed its gym and spa's terrace into a lush British countryside, complete with birch trees and lavender, in the middle of the city.
And instead of burning calories on the elliptical, you can order from a picnic menu, which includes blanket-friendly fare like iced tea and strawberries and cream, while you pop a squat on the secret rooftop garden.
London Hotel Scene / London Hotels / Hotel Bars / Fashion Week Hotels / Maybourne Hotel Group / → All Tags
The Connaught Hotel's acclaimed bar
This week, HotelChatter is paying special attention to London. The city of grey and rain is gearing up for yet another Fashion Week and impending royal nuptials, along with continued preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games, so our lady on the ground Heidi Atwal is guiding us through some of her favorite places.
We've frequented many a hotel bar in Londontown, from the Sanderson's Purple to the May Fair, but these swanky outfits don't seem nearly as popular among locals as a solid pub. And although we're actually with them on that, we always make an exception to the No Hotel Bar rule in the case of the Connaught Bar in Mayfair.
iPads, be damned, we're loving our stroll through print land and our ongoing look at a dying hotel amenity--The Hotel Magazine. Sure, most hotels stock their guestrooms with the trendy magazines of the day or at least place some localized publication on the desks but there are actually a few hotels out there that still publish their own magazine. We've got our hands on a few copies of these rare breeds and we'll be documenting our finds for you here. Know of a hotel magazine we should see before it goes out of print? Send it to us!
In leafing through the Summer 2010 issue of Maybourne from the Maybourne Hotel Group (Claridge's, The Connaught and The Berkeley), we found ourselves paying special attention to the opening letter from the hotel group's CEO, Stephen Alden. But that's probably because his text was peppered with designer names like Diane Von Fursternberg, Dior and Jaguar.
Yet we also thought Alden was spot-on when he said: