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New--and Renewed--London Hotels

April 4, 2011 By: Jena Tesse Fox Travel Agent



Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
The former Four Seasons Inn on the Park has been relaunched as the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane.


Since the buzz over The Savoy’s reopening has died down, the latest London hotel chatter has been about the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, which reopened in late January following a gut renovation. No stone was left unturned and no room untouched, and the hotel even got a new name. (It used to be the Four Seasons Inn on the Park.) In March, Travel Agent went over to see what’s new at the hotel.

The reinvented hotel has plenty to recommend it for, even with numerous other properties in the same neighborhood. Smaller and much more intimate than the Hilton next door or the InterContinental across the street, the Four Seasons maintains a one-to-one guest-employee ratio to guarantee a personalized service.

The hotel’s second floor is made entirely of suites. The Grand Suite (#230) and Garden Suite (#200) are ideal for large families or groups, and the Deluxe and Park Suites also offer two-bedroom options. We hear the Presidential Suite (#500), Grand Suite (#230) and Garden Suite (#200) are tops, and all rooms have views of Westminster, Mayfair or Hyde Park. Room #229 has a massive terrace that is ideal for small functions and get-togethers.

On the ground floor, Amaranto is less of a restaurant, we are told, and more of a “dining concept.” Think three spaces with one large menu: Rather than having drinks at the bar, snacks in the lounge and meals in the main restaurant, guests can have anything anywhere. (Good to know: An outdoor patio for alfresco dining will open in the summer.) It creates a vibe that is at once classy and comfortable—there is no pressure to limit oneself to a particular kind of dining in any one room, and the service feels low-key and relaxed. Oenophiles are also in luck: Every bottle on the wine list can be sampled by the glass, allowing guests to figure out what kind of vintage goes best with their meal. (Encourage your clients to try the rabbit ravioli for either an appetizer or entree, and the risotto is also very tasty.) At the bar, any cocktail that involves infused bourbon or rhubarb liquor is a must-try. For reservations, contact Director of Restaurants Cristiano Pellizzari (011-44-20-7319-5206, [email protected],).



St Ermin’s Hotel
The historical St Ermin’s Hotel is set to reopen just before the Royal Wedding.



The hotel’s spa is on the 10th floor, and its floor-to-ceiling windows reveal fantastic views of the city. The Sky Suite is an ultra-luxurious double suite that lets couples or friends relax and unwind in an exclusive setting with a 180-degree view of Hyde Park. Suite facilities include a double steam shower and a private dressing and relaxation room. While the spa is brand-new (it has only been open a little more than a month), we hear the Hyde Park Awakening, an original treatment, is one of the more popular therapies. Likewise, due to the spa’s newness, it is hard to say who is the therapist most in-demand, but Amy Barden is highly recommended for a Swedish massage. Nice touch: After their therapies, guests can relax in private indoor cabanas with a selection of music on Bose headphones. Be sure your clients leave enough time to relax in the sauna, steam room or vitality pool before or after their treatments. For bookings or special requests, contact Spa Director Livia Reddington.

Concierge Manager George Murray (011-44-20-7319-5120, [email protected],) can arrange for just about any London experience guests might seek, from sold-out theater shows to booked-up restaurants. Bonus: A Rolls-Royce is on standby to take guests wherever they need to go within a two-mile radius. (There’s something magical about pulling up to the British Museum in a Rolls.)

Travel agents with questions and special requests should reach out to Director of Sales Marion Ryan.

What Else is New?

Two weeks after the Four Seasons made its return, the decidedly funky and trendy W London opened in Leicester Square on Valentine’s Day. With open-plan rooms that echo a studio aesthetic (toilets and showers are tucked into walls like closets, with a large sink and counter as the focal point of the room) and disco balls as chandeliers in the lobby, the W is definitely geared toward younger visitors. Cineastes (fancy talk for movie buffs) will love the plush screening room just off the lobby—ideal for film fests or private events.

The hotel has 192 guest rooms, including 17 suites, three WOW suites and one Extreme WOW suite. Gourmands will want to check out the UK’s first Spice Market, a signature restaurant by three-time Michelin-star winner Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Close to Westminster, the new and improved St. Ermin’s Hotel will reopen just before the Royal Wedding at the end of this month. The hotel goes back more than a century, but after changing hands several times was sorely in need of renovation and repair. Closed now, it has been undergoing a massive restoration that is turning the former parking lot into a floral courtyard, meeting rooms into event spaces and offices into guest rooms. When it opens, St. Ermin’s will have 331 rooms, 40 individual suites and 18 family rooms (these include two queen-sized beds, an additional guest sofa bed and two full-sized bathrooms).

Because much of the hotel has been declared historical, renovations could not change certain architectural touches. The re-imagined hotel will hold on to the classic Art Nouveau styling and Rococco plasterwork in the lobby and public areas.

Bonus: The hotel is offering a special deal for Travel Agent readers. When you book your clients a minimum two-night stay, they can get a free upgrade to a deluxe room, access to the Club Lounge (free breakfast, drinks, canapés, tea, etc.), and a free airport transfer. Call 011-44-207-222-7778 and mention code 0001 for more information.



Disco Balls
At the new, trendy W London, disco balls are used as chandeliers in the lobby.


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About the Author

Jena Tesse Fox
Jena Tesse Fox covers Europe, Africa, Australia/South Pacific and business travel for the Questex Travel Group's publications. The daughter of history teachers, she can spend...

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By Jena Tesse Fox | April 4, 2011
London’s hotel scene undergoes another sprucing-up, ahead of the Royal Wedding and Olympics.