Column: Two Sides of London

Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

In this issue of Travel Agent, Emily Goldfischer, our London correspondent, has researched her city’s emerging neighborhoods, those that were once considered either a bit dull or funky but have been relaunched with boutique hotels, restaurants, art venues and nightclubs, or as she puts it, “locations that have become destinations.”

Consider this your go-to guide to selling London to that ephemeral Millennial clientele you’re seeking to develop, those who want only what’s new or who seek out a blend of offerings that includes bars with DJs, art “happenings” and hotels with quirky accommodations. There’s much in this piece that will appeal to Millennials as these places are still evolving and it’s so easy to slide in and live like a local, rather than stand out as a tourist who is merely observing the scene.

But that offer appeals to many clients, doesn’t it? The new London neighborhoods are likely to attract those with a Millennial mindset, regardless of age. Everyone wants to be somewhere that’s buzzing with shops and galleries and lobbies that are all about the new, where there are no rules. Consider these locales for those on your client roster who have been to London many, many times and want to try it from a different angle. Just be sure you’re managing their expectations. The Hoxton Holborn has a set of very honestly named room categories, such as “Shoebox,” “Snug” and “Cosy.”  You might opt for the “Roomy” option if you’re sending a client who is used to having a bit more space to move around in during their travels.

This is only a fraction of what’s happening in London. The Mondrian London has just launched on the city’s South Bank and debuted its Rumpus Room rooftop bar and lounge. (Yes, please.) Rosewood has also just opened its doors as has the Beaumont. It’s all spurred existing hotels to revamp; we’re all waiting eagerly to see how The Lanesborough’s massive renovation looks when it reopens in the new year. Kostas Sfaltos, the GM of the very contemporary One Aldwych dropped by for a visit recently and told us about the hotel’s very active Lobby Bar, which is a great stop-off for pre-theater (it’s located in Covent Garden) or simply to hang out and people watch. He’s started a weekend brunch with unlimited Prosecco; the hotel also has a private screening room you can rent out for an entire family that wants to spend the evening together enjoying popcorn and movies. Just nearby, The Savoy has to be seen; it absolutely emits London chic in a very traditional sense but it’s all new from the enormous restoration it went through a few years ago, so it’s very contemporary in feel. Send your Millennials and your Baby Boomers here, and everyone in between; they’ll all love it.

In fact, if you have clients who want only the new when it comes to their travels, have them reconsider the importance of visiting the classics in a destination as well, so they can get a glimpse of what a city was all about and still retains as its true essence. The contrast of time-honored establishments to those that are cutting edge will make their experiences much deeper and will give them a better understanding of the place they're visiting. Now, that’s an authentic experience.