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New London Hotels

March 15, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox Travel Agent


Georgian features highlight the room decor at The Arch London


London is charging headfirst into 2012, building new hotels and updating some classics just in time to handle the influx of visitors the city will see for the next summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. If your clients are considering a London visit this year, next year or in 2012, here are some hotels worth keeping in mind.

Returning from Renovations

First and foremost on everyone’s radar, of course, is the iconic and luxe Savoy Hotel in Westminster, which will reopen in the later half of this year as a Fairmont property after a $156 million restoration. The refurbishment is reportedly the most expensive in London’s history, and encompasses the entire building—from the courtyard and famed American Bar to the public areas and 268 guest rooms.

Designer Yves Rochon, who has worked on the George V in Paris and the Hermitage in Monaco, is overseeing the renovation. This includes the addition of a new two-bedroom Royal Suite, complete remodeling of the legendary River Restaurant and the relaunch of the 58 River Suites with their iconic views over the River Thames.

In addition, The Savoy Grill will return again under the operation of Gordon Ramsay Holdings. New to the hotel will be The Beaufort Bar and Savoy Tea Shop, the first a new venue for champagne and cocktails and the latter a bijou teashop selling Savoy-branded tea products, patisserie and other goodies. Within the Thames Foyer, a winter garden gazebo will be covered by an ornate glass dome (perfect for afternoon tea). There will be a contemporary, glass- enclosed fitness gallery and rooftop swimming pool—one of only two in the city. Room rates at The Savoy will start from around $546 per room per night, and the hotel will take reservations three months prior to reopening. Contact Director of Sales and Marketing Julian Haddon (011-44-207-420-2553, [email protected]) with queries.

In Piccadilly, The Athenaeum’s recent $11 million makeover was very much an “inside-out” job. All 111 guest rooms, 12 suites and public areas have been reimagined by Martin Hulbert, design director of Fox Linton Associates, and a new vertical garden on the outside of the building lends a fresh look to the 1950s-style structure. All suites and guest rooms overlooking Green Park now have floor-to-ceiling windows and Juliet balconies. Travelers with green thumbs will love the “living wall” of 260 plants and flowers that climbs 10 stories up the building exterior (designed by botanist Patrick Blanc), while parents will appreciate the hotel’s dedicated kid’s concierge. (The 34 apartments in the Victorian townhouse abutting the hotel on its side street were redesigned prior to the Hulbert restoration.) Contact Sales Manager Stephen Fox (011-44-207-499-3464, [email protected]) for special requests.

The Great Northern Hotel at King’s Cross Central is scheduled to reopen as a luxury boutique hotel in late 2011—just in time for the Olympics. Oxford Hotels will be the development manager. The hotel, which first opened in 1854, sits at the southern end of the 67-acre site and is close to both King’s Cross station and St. Pancras International, with connections to mainland Europe and the rest of the UK.

In Mayfair, the Four Seasons Hotel London is undergoing major renovations, and will reopen by year-end.


Recent Openings

In the West End, the Arch London made its debut in January. Named after the nearby London landmark to the south, the boutique townhouse hotel is built inside seven Georgian Grade II-listed buildings and two mews houses. Set back from the hubbub of the West End, it is in a quiet residential area just two blocks from Selfridges and Hyde Park and a 10-minute walk from the shopping areas of Marylebone High Street and Bond Street. The hotel is among Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels, and part of the AB Hotels Group. The Arch London’s 82 individually designed guest rooms (Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Executive) are spread over six floors and include nine suites, three of which have an outdoor terrace.


Agent Advice

Carillon Torgerson of Panda Travel recommends a full-day Modern and Historic tour, offered by Golden Tours and other companies to first-time visitors to London. This can be purchased in advance or at Victoria Station or in hotels. After the tour, visitors can backtrack to the places they found most interesting.

For the budget-minded, Accor recently opened the All Seasons London Southwark Rose hotel near London Bridge. This will be the first All Seasons branded hotel in the UK. Currently, the hotel has 84 bedrooms, and a 21-room extension is planned. It is close to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern and Tower Bridge. Room rates start at $150 per night, with free breakfasts, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi in public areas.

Eco-conscious travelers will love Rafayel on the Left Bank, a new property that opened in Battersea in December with 65 rooms, shops, restaurants and a helipad on the new “Left Bank” of the Thames. Among the green touches: The rooms have LED lights, paper and glass are all recycled, rainwater is “recovered” on the terrace of the hotel, the spa uses organic products, and large glass bottles are used in place of small plastic ones.

Soho’s Dean Street Townhouse began as a private home in 1732, and through the years served as a residence, warehouse and club till its recent reincarnation as a 39-bedroom, four-story boutique hotel. The rooms are decked out in a “granny-chic” style, and the restaurant serves such classics as pheasant goujons.

The $573 million Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel has 1,021 rooms, including 54 suites and penthouses as well as the second-largest ballroom in London. The hotel had its soft opening in February.

On the Horizon

The Dorchester Collection is set to open a 46-room hotel later this year, to be called 45 Park Lane, in Mayfair. This will be the company’s eighth hotel.

Close to Trafalgar Square, the Corinthia Hotel London, referred to as the city’s first new grand hotel in over a century, is due for completion in late 2010. The building formerly housed the Ministry of Defence straddling Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall Place. Corinthia Hotel’s 300 bedrooms will reportedly be the largest in London, including 45 suites—some of which are duplex, found inside turrets and serviced by private elevators and terraces.

In the heart of London, the 254-room, six-story InterContinental London Westminster is set to open in late 2011. The hotel will occupy the former Queen Anne’s Chambers built in the 19th century. The 120,000-square-foot freehold site is currently office and retail space.

Right on the Thames by Battersea Bridge, von Essen hotels will open its first London property in the summer. Hotel Verta and the new London Heliport terminal will form a complex called London’s Vertical Gateway. The hotel is part of the $225 million Bridges Wharf development, and will reportedly be the first integrated hotel-heliport solution in Europe. It will have a subterranean spa, restaurant and bar as well as underground parking.


All 65 rooms and suites at Rafayel on the Left Bank have floor-to-ceiling windows


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