Apart from boutique hotels and gorgeous homestays, here are new and refurbished hotels in the capital of England to consider for your next trip
Suffice it to say, cities don’t sleep, and London is certainly an understatement, especially with Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle over the weekend. But royal weddings aside, the British capital is a perennial favourite for travellers. As well as the wealth of historic buildings and cultural venues there’s the stellar shopping at favourable prices, the bar and restaurant scene that gets better each time.
The flurry of new and refurbed luxury hotels in recent years shows no sign of slowing down. In the latest openings storied neighbourhoods such as Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia are being revived while popular locales like Soho and Knightsbridge are receiving a nip and tuck. Here’s our pick of the best of the batch whatever your penchant.
Best for a couples weekend
Soho institution Kettner’s, one of London’s first French restaurants opened in the 19th century and frequented by the louche likes of Oscar Wilde, has been bought by the Soho House company. Based next door to the inaugural Soho House private members’ club on Greek Street, it’s now a boutique hotel and is open to non-House members.
Renamed Kettner’s Townhouse, the 33-key establishment has been restored to its deliciously decadent glory along with some urbane Soho House touches including Cowshed spa toiletries and fully stocked drinks trolleys. Purists may rest assured that both the Piano and Champagne Bar remain (the latter now open to hotel guests only) while the addition of bedrooms means you don’t have far to go after a night cap.
In keeping with the Soho House creative rather than corporate ethos, laptops are frowned upon so the place feels more pleasure than business. And breakfast is served until an ultra civilised 12pm.
29 Romilly St
London W1D 5HP
Tel: +44 207 734 5650
Best for culture vultures or art lovers
The first sign that this is no ordinary hotel is the eye catching sculpture in the window. The dramatic tunnel entrance manned by a sharply dressed greeter also makes it feel more like a nightclub. Inside, the public areas feature a bounty of fascinating and eclectic artworks and artefacts. A monthly changing artist in residency also means a constantly evolving selection of art on show.
In the basement of this former television production studio, cultural wellbeing classes are held regularly. Weekly Gong Baths – a meditation class using Tibetan prayer bowls – are particularly popular with locals.
The jewel in the crown is Serge et le Phoque, first outpost of the Michelin starred Hong Kong restaurant. Go for the omakase Chef’s Tasting Menu, a magical mystery tour of clever cooking through Frederic Peneau’s artfully executed modern European dishes. While the entire table must order the menu, three-, five- or seven-course menus are also available. Opt for the wine pairings as well – Bert Blaize was crowned Young Sommelier of the Year 2018.
20-21 Newman Street
London W1T 1PG
Tel +44 203 146770
The Principal London
Best for Business travellers
This imposing terracotta tiled and turreted mansion on Russell Square first opened as a hotel in 1898 and has just been refurbished and rebranded. The new owner, Principal, has retained the former Russell Hotel’s Victorian grandeur including marble columns, mosaic floor tiles and soaring ceilings, but brings the hotel firmly into the present with the help of top interior designers including Tara Bernerd.
Of the several F&B outlets, Burr & Co is a casual space for a meeting over coffee while Fitz’s, designed by Russell Sage, has a traditional London gentleman’s club feel for evening drinks.
The City Singles rooms featuring custom made single beds with wraparound headboards are a hit with the solo business traveller (The Principal is on the doorstep of commercial district Holborn which separates the City from the West End). A clutch of meeting rooms is due to open over the next few months and there’s a 24-hour gym for if (or when) jet lag strikes.
The Principal London
1-8 Russell Square
London WC1B 5BE
Tel +44 203 553 6112
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Best for Shopaholics
Opposite Harvey Nichols, around the corner from Sloane Street and down the road from Harrods, the Mandarin is a shopaholics’ dream. Check in to one of the newly refurbished Knightsbridge rooms and you’ll have a view of the designer mothership, Harvey Nicks, at all times. It’s shop till you drop, but if you’re not sure where to start, the hotel will gladly point you in the right direction.
The guest rooms and public areas have been revamped by Joyce Wang, the designer responsible for The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Wang’s signature style of a light and contemporary take on 1930s glamour is much evident here. The designer has also taken inspiration from nearby Hyde Park with witty touches such as using horse hair as a feature in the hallway light fittings. Come summer, two new penthouse suites will be revealed, with the refurbished Hyde Park view rooms slated to open in July.
Fans of chef Daniel Boulud will be pleased to know Bar Boulud is still in residence at the hotel, a favourite with the well-heeled Knightsbridge crowd mid- or post-shopping. As well as signature charcuterie and burgers, the restaurant has introduced French regional specialties which will change seasonally.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
London SW1X 7LA
Tel: +44 20 7235 2000
Best for Families
Located opposite the British Museum, The Bloomsbury has been spruced up under new ownership including bright new bedrooms and an enchanting outdoor restaurant, Dalloway Terrace (a nod to famous past resident writer Virginia Woolf of the Bloomsbury Set).
The terrace is charmingly decorated in foliage which changes according to the seasons, It’s currently filled with spring flowers which will segue into summer blooms in the coming months. (And yes, there are heaters and blankets for colder times.)
The hotel offers a concierge service tailored to children, with fun-sized kid’s robes and toiletries in the room. Oh, and milk and cookies for your little ones at turn down. If you’re staying in a Studio Suite or Luxury Suite, you can also rent a tent for your kids (up to 12 years old) to sleep in.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the babysitting service to enjoy a cocktail in The Coral Room, the hotel’s gorgeous new art deco inspired bar.
16-22 Great Russell Street
London, WCIB 3NN
Tel: +44 20 7347 1000