London, UK: new luxury hotel openings In the run-up to the 2012 Olympics
London is witnessing a spate of top-end hotel openings. Nigel Tisdall checks in.
The Zetter Townhouse is set in venerable and village-like Clerkenwell London Syon Park is part of Hilton’s top-end Waldorf Astoria collection
As London counts down to the 2012 Olympics, a flurry of new luxury hotels have thrown open their doors, offering visitors everything from vintage cocktails to rooftop spas and sightseeing trips by helicopter.
Here are six of the most eye catching, spread across the capital from Clerkenwell to Kew. Rates are for a double room in June, including VAT.
London is full of magnificent buildings we never notice – until someone hangs a “Hotel” sign over the front door. Such is the case with what was once the monumental Hôtel Métropole, which opened in 1885 near Charing Cross station but was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence for much of the last century. With its belle époque turrets and huge-pillared halls, it must have made a splendid office space. Now, this seven-storey pile in Whitehall has been returned to its former life as a grand 294-room hotel.
Opened at the end of April, with seven sumptuous suites and an ESPA Life spa to follow this summer, its inviting mix of the classic and the contemporary is heralded by a 1,001-crystal Baccarat chandelier exploding above the lobby. One masterly touch is the hotel’s use of British artists, including graceful prints by Marcus James and metalwork commissioned from the talented Greenwich studio, Based Upon. Another is getting David Collins Studio, the style gurus behind many of London’s top hotel bars and restaurants, to design the appropriately elegant Bassoon Bar and the banking hall-like Massimo restaurant – a more challenging space, where Roman chef Massimo Riccioli presides over a Mediterranean menu majoring on fish and seafood. The rooms are warm and welcoming with restful beige and olive tones, and dreamy Hypnos beds. Guests can also enjoy a Daniel Galvin hair salon and Harrods’ first shop set inside a hotel. With an excellent location and resolutely high standards, the Corinthia is good news for fans of smart London hotels – although its prices are so high it seems likely that only MPs on pre-scandal expenses will be able to afford it. Order two cocktails and some water at Bassoon and you won’t see much change from a £50 note. Verdict An impressive debut from an unfamiliar name.
020 7930 8181; http://www.corinthia.com, from £450.
“Getting ready for 2012” scream the shiny black hoardings currently boxing in Leicester Square as Westminster City Council gives Britain’s “home of cinema” a much-needed revamp. At its north-west corner, what used to be the Swiss Centre is now the mighty, newbuild, artily white-dotted, 192-room W Hotel, already making a powerful bid to be the leading light of the West End entertainment scene after its opening in February. Part of an immensely successful international brand created by Starwood Hotels & Resorts (New York has four W hotels), this one is unashamedly devoted to rock ‘n’ roll values with its galaxies of mirror-balls, guest list-only Wyld Bar, showbiz-friendly screening room and a hangover-curing spa. The theming is fearless – staff are known as “talent”, fashion-savvy “happenings” take place monthly, while the standard rooms – categorised as “Wonderful” and reached via dungeon-dark corridors – are a cheap and cheerful studio-style mix of washroom, workspace and ready-to-romp bed. What’s not to like? Well, don’t waste your money in the companion Spice Market restaurant created by multi-Michelin-starred Jean-Georges Vongerichten, which has too many things wrong to list here, and only check in if you intend to party. The mood in the Lounge bar can be great, with most guests young, happy, on expenses and wearing black. Outside, the nights are noisy, with party crowds sloshing about and buskers playing jazz until 3am – then the builders’ drills start at 8am. But for most guests, sleep is the last thing on the agenda – and that’s just how Leicester Square should be.
Verdict Heaven for some, hell for others.
020 7758 1000; http://www.wlondon.co.uk, from £322.
Discover the other hotels on Telegraph website