SW1X 7RL Travel Guide
Snapshot / Hotel Technology / Keys / London Hotels / Maybourne Hotel Collection / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
While we're on the subject of hotel room keys today (or lack thereof), we noticed this super cool key system when we stayed at The Berkeley Hotel in the Knightsbridge neighborhood of London last week.
At check-in, (which is discretely done at individual desks off the lobby, with cushy chairs for the guest to sit in), we were handed two small plastic black keys. At first we thought, "Cool, old-school door keys." But when we arrived up to our room, the keys weren't used the way we expected.
Just off to the right of the door handle is a mirrored plate which has the room number. Below that is a little slot for the key, which is actually wired to the door. Once your key goes into the slot, a green light will appear at the top of the key, letting you know the door is ready to open. You can leave the key in the slot too so you don't have to simultaneously insert the key and push the door open.
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.
Holiday Hotels / Holiday Hotel Decorations / Christmas Hotels / London Hotels / UK Hotels / Hotel Rooftops / Hotel Cinemas / → All Tags
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!
Let’s face it: At the beginning of the Christmas season, we have warm, fuzzy thoughts of snuggling in front of the fire with a hot toddy in hand and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on the telly. Next thing you know, we’re fighting with crowds in malls, dragging the Christmas tree through the damn door, and making grocery lists for the three full days it’ll take to make all those holiday family feasts. Where did that warm, all-over glow go?
The Berkeley Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge is doing all they can to bring that fleeting festive feeling back with their rooftop Winter Cinema.
Known as a happening rooftop terrace overlooking Hyde Park in the summer, the hotel’s Health Club & Spa has transformed the space into a pine-filled forest with twinkly lights, rustic-chic wooden chalets built for two and a cinema screen more than large enough to accommodate Jimmy Stewart’s face.
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).
While we've been busy tracking the new hotels opening in London for the Olympics, we've completely forgot about what the existing hotels will be doing when the Games are in town. However, The Berkeley has commandeered our attention with their latest Olympic-inspired offerings--synchronized swimming lessons.
The hotel has partnered up with Aquabatix, an award-winning synchronized swimming team who will host a weekly master class during July and August in the hotel's open-air pool. The lessons will be available both to hotel guests and the general public.
Learning key movements of the sport, such as the “egg beater kick” and “sculling,” those enjoying the fun and athletic class will be able to perform a complete routine following the 90-minute lesson. The session is completed with a choreographed routine set to accompanying music and attendees are special given Berkeley swimming caps to take home.
London Hotels / Movie Hotels / Hotel Movies / Winter Hotels / Holiday Hotels / Hotel Events / → All Tags
One of London's ongoing summer events, a Rooftop Film Club hosted at a popular Hoxton bar, inspired something of a cult-like fervor among local film buffs. Piggybacking on Londoners' love of all things cinema and all things, uh, rooftop, is the Berkeley hotel, who is transplanting the concept from East to West and taking full advantage of their posh terrace climes (not to mention outdoor lamp heaters).
London / London Hotel Scene / London Hotels / Great Britain Hotels / Fashion Week Hotels / Hotel Teas / → All Tags
As Fashion Week migrates from New York to London, Team Hotel Chatter thought it an appropriate time to sample The Berkeley Hotel's kitschy, but undeniably cute, Prêt-à-Portea. The sartorially themed tea is inspired by major designers from London and beyond, with attempts made to capture their aesthetic in the form of twee cookies and cakes.
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.
There's a rather shiny new present waiting under the tree at The Berkeley Hotel in London*--Jaguar's C-X75 supercar which was just unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this past fall. The superfast jet-powered car is hanging out at the hotel through New Year's Eve.
The C-X75 is capable of performing the 0-60mph run in 3.4 seconds and top speeds of more than 200mph. Its electric motors are backed up by range-extending mini gas turbines.
Sleeping in the house of this Shaguar will cost about £490.00 a night next week, before New Year's Eve. Sadly, the hotel does not have any Jaguar car service for you to tool around in. However, there are several chauffeur-driven Mercedes on hand for airport transfers. Those services start at £97 for a smooth ride in the E-Class Mercedes. But someday, that Jaguar will be ours. Oh yes, it will be ours.
*We know, these Christmas puns are getting old.
While his protégé Gordon Ramsay isn’t doing so well, non-celeb-but-actual chef Pierre Koffman has just opened his new restaurant at the Berkeley to much fanfare from Londoners (we saw it written up in about three different places during our trip the other week.)
It’s a little late – the place was originally scheduled for a June opening – but we guess fine tuning the meun of pigs’ trotters and internal organs took a little longer than expected.
Anyway, the restaurant is simply called Koffman’s, it has 120 seats and although the menu does have some of his “classic” dishes such as braised pig’s trotter with morels (um, yum?), apparently he has “adopted a more relaxed, informal style while still incorporating his classic, provincial French culinary roots”.
We're having one of those days where, utterly sick of all the hotel hype and hotel delays going on in the hotel world, we've decided to seek out something more stable. And we're doing it by admiring the luggage tags of The Berkeley Hotel in London.
The hotel sent us some paper versions of the luggage tags designs that have been circulated since 1934 (the hotel actually opened long before that at the turn of the 19th century.) Each tag includes the hotel's logo design from a particular era, which was not only used on the luggage tags but throughout the hotel. On the backside of the tag, the year of the design is listed.
iPad Hotels / Hotel Technology / London Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Hotel News / → All Tags
Not all guests, mind – because not all guests are created equal. The iPads will only go for the richies staying in the suites, and only specific suites – the Conservatory, Berkeley or Chelsea suites.
if you are one of those richies, though, you’ll get access to your own iPad for your entire stay, on which you can read the paper at breakfast (jammy fingers + iPad = disaster waiting to happen, surely), check out tips from the concierge and play pre-loaded games.