Most tourists visit London for the historic attractions and architecture, but where you stay and how you eat can make or break any visit to London. Consider staying in a top London luxury hotel which also has an award winning restaurant to cut down on expensive taxis trips. Other advantages of dining where you stay include being able to charge the whole stay to your bill, which can be beneficial when claiming company travel expenses, and after indulging in award winning food and a good bottle of wine it is much more pleasant to stroll back to your room trying to get a ride back to the hotel.
Some top London luxury hotel with fine dining choices for the Summer 2012 include:
Connaught Hotel, Mayfair
The on-site and understated Espelette Restaurant is actually one of London’s Michelin star establishments, located in one of Mayfair’s best luxury hotels. French chef, Hélène Darroze, provides a true gastronomic experience from afternoon tea to signature dinner entrees.
You will know you are dining at the Foliage Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, as beneath each glass plate is a freshly pressed leaf picked fresh from the grounds of Hyde Park opposite. With al-fresco or indoor dining, this Michelin star restaurant will make any stay at the Mandarin Oriental absolutely perfect.
Superbly located just off Knightsbridge, the Berkeley is one of London’s top luxury hotels and a beautiful place to return to each evening. Choose to dine casually at Gordon Ramsey’s Boxwood Café or more upscale with Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. Both chefs have a Michelin star and offer exquisite cuisine.
Dining at the Metropolitan gives guests the opportunity to sample the delectable Japanese-style menu developed by chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, better known simply as Nobu. Coupled with the five star service of this London luxury hotel, it makes a great base for sightseeing.
No list would be complete without including Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. Two Michelin star dining created by one of the world’s greatest chefs is a great reason to stay at the Dorchester, one of the top London five-star hotels.
What started out as a novel way to attract single female travellers and groups of ladies has turned into a legal nightmare for a boutique hotel in Denmark. The Bella Sky Hotel in Copenhagen opened last year as Europe’s largest design hotel. It reserved one floor specifically for women and added extra feminine touches such as makeup mirrors and glossy magazines to make their female guests feel more pampered.
Unfortunately Denmark’s Equal Treatment Board ruled that the initiative was illegal. The hotel is currently refusing to comply with the ruling, stating “the only man who can access this floor will be a fireman in the case of fire”.
The Dukes Hotel, a five star London boutique hotel has also decided to woo women guests and has assigned some of its rooms as “Duchess Rooms”. These rooms are serviced solely by women staff and have added extras such as fresh flowers, styling accessories and female bathroom amenities. They are proving very popular with their upmarket female clientele, but may prove to be less than popular with the European Commission on Gender Equality.
There are more than 40 luxury hotels in London and many of them are involved in multi-million dollar refurbishments with no sign of concession to the current economic downturn. Marriott is opening two new brands in London – a Bvulgari in Knightsbridge and an Edition hotel on the site of the former Berners Hotel. Shangri-La is also opening a new luxury hotel at London Bridge.
The classic Four Seasons luxury hotel on Park Lane is reaping the benefits of a £125 million refurb that gave the rooms and restaurants a totally new look. Most daring of all, a whole new floor was added to accommodate the fabulous spa.
The glitzy modern W hotel in Leicester Square, the heart of London’s theaterland, has recently had a 192 room extension. It is making the most of its stunning new features, such as the huge glitterball in the bar, to host BAFTA awards parties making it the central hub for events in the heart of London.
The newly opened Corinthia Hotel in a former government building cost £300 million to develop. It blends high-class English traditions with some contemporary touches – such as the innovative décor in the Bassoon Bar.
Last but not least, the former railway hotel, now the Renaissance St Pancras, reopened after 76 years at a cost of £200 million. Its Gothic architecture, talked-about restaurants and convenient location to the Eurostar at the adjoining St Pancras Station make this a certain success.
In the final countdown to the wedding of the year, many luxury hotels in London report they still have plenty of space for last-minute visitors. Prince William, second in line to the throne, will be marrying his student sweetheart Kate Middleton on Friday April 29th , but unless you’re a hermit I guess I’m not telling you anything new. What is a surprise is that luxury hotels in London are not fully booked for the event.
As always for travelers, this is good news as the hotels are now throwing in all manner of extras to fill their rooms. Many London hotels have resisted the urge to hike the prices, although London is never a cheap place to stay. What guests will find is that staying two nights or more will net them all sorts of goodies.
Champagne is a popular freebie, but a Champagne Flight on the London Eye looking out over the rooftops of the city is even better. Those staying in the Cadogan Hotel junior suite get afternoon tea and a Royal Wedding dinner thrown in. One Aldwych, a cool boutique hotel in London, still has rooms available along with the classy Bermondsey Square Hotel and the Lancaster London. The May Fair is reportedly dishing out souvenir crystal champagne flutes to its guests. Even the well-located Athenaeum which is just a stroll across St James Park from Buckingham Palace still has availability, as do various Hilton hotels.
The spokesperson for the British Hospitality Association put out an upbeat message saying that London hotels still expect many visitors to arrive at the last minute to celebrate. He explained away the disappointing bookings as being because people are taking long Easter breaks which means they may find themselves at other destinations rather than London for the celebrations.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
If you’ve got something to celebrate, then consider inviting a few friends to share the occasion at a champagne party at the May Fair luxury hotel in London. This is the newest offering for oenophiles from the 150 bar, named after the magnum-sized 150cl bottles of bubbly which are served at this exclusive bar. The focal point is the floor-to-ceiling glass magnum fridge holding one of Europe’s finest collections of premium magnums, among them a limited edition set of Dom Pérignon bottles in vivid colours.
The 150’s latest indulgent offering is a series of semi-private magnum champagne parties which include vintage champagnes paired with a delectable menu of small plates which are prepared to complement the champagne by head chef, Silvena Rowe. The packages come in all tastes and sizes but the most decadent has to be the Dom Pérignon Vintage Rose 1998 Experience. Designed for 12 discerning guests and priced at £4,400 (approx. $6,800), the package includes four magnums of Dom Pérignon Vintage Rose 1998, paired with four delicate canapés for each guest. They include seared diver-caught scallops and sevruga caviar remoulade; crispy spiced jumbo prawns with avocado and tahini; West Mersea native oysters with sevruga caviar and finally, pomegranate glazed foie gras.
If you want to participate in the Moët & Chandon Imperial Experience, make sure you take the empty bottle home with you – it is personalized with Swarovski crystals!
Finish the party in the May Fair’s Palm Beach Casino in the Grand Art Deco Ballroom which has one of the largest gaming rooms in London. And after all that fun and bubbly you may want to book a night so you can stumble into bed in one of this luxury five star hotel’s signature suites.
by Gillian at Luxique luxury hotels
I mentioned in passing last month Sean Davoren, the Head Butler at the newly re-opened Savoy luxury hotel in London.
Mr Davoren is likely to become a national TV figure from next Monday when a documentary on the Savoy is aired by ITV.
He will be seen leading a rigorous recruitment drive to select and train a team for the hotel’s reinstated butler service – the first time the hotel has offered this facility for 50 years. “You will be the wind beneath the guests’ wings,” he tells the hopefuls.
Mr Davoren, who’s been a butler for 30 years and has served every European royal family, has been speaking – ever so discreetly – about his work. “You should be able to ask me for anything, however personal that might be, and I should give you that confidence back that I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.”
One guest asked him to go on a £19,000 shopping spree in and around London while others have had more simple requests – such as wanting to have a glass of goat’s milk. “The milk cost £3.50, but I had to send a chauffeur, who cost £650, to Wales to collect it,” he said.
Asked about the most peculiar item he had been asked for, Mr Davoren replied: “To track down a particular type of milk that is very good for the older man who has a younger wife, apparently. It comes from Africa from an animal with stripes. That was quite challenging.”
by Andy Moreton, with acknowledgements to the Radio Times
London is now brimming with top class luxury hotels to rival the Savoy. Take a look at Luxique’s comprehensive list.
Hotels in London have begun cashing in on next year’s royal wedding by raising their prices for a room on April 29th.
Demand for accommodation has surged since the date was announced – there’s said to have been a trebling of hotel bookings. Some hotels in the capital are down to their last few rooms on the big day.
One industry source said: “Demand is extremely high, and where demand catches up with supply, prices go up. There are still some very good deals available, though people who want to be part of the celebrations need to book as soon as possible or risk missing out.”
The wedding is expected to help provide Britain with a two-year tourism boost, with
some experts believing the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be more popular than the Olympic Games in 2012.
by Andy Moreton
Book now to avoid disappointment! Luxique offers a regal selection of luxury hotels in London.
The American credited with founding the concept of the boutique hotel, Ian Schrager, is returning to London for his next project.
In a joint venture with Marriott International, Schrager is to redevelop Berners Hotel – a stalled development north of Oxford Street in the heart of the West End.
Media reports say Marriott International bought the site of the 193-bedroom hotel for more than £60 million ($97 million). It was put up for sale when the company that owned the business went into administration in August. More than 40 bids were received.
Schrager made his name with Studio 54 in New York and went on to open luxury and boutique hotels in New York such as Morgans and Gramercy Park and the Sanderson boutique hotel in London. He said: “I’m thrilled to be returning to London for an incredibly special and historic building like Berners Hotel.”
Schrager and Marriott teamed up in 2008 to create a new boutique design hotel brand called Edition and have plans to roll it out globally.
The ‘London Edition’ development on Berners Street will take up to two years. The hotel had been part refurbished, with planning permission in place. The building has been covered in scaffolding and hoardings for nearly four years.
The site dates back to 1835 when it was built as five classic houses. These were then converted into one hotel in the early 1990s, before closing in January 2006 for the proposed redevelopment and upgrade.
by Andy Moreton
Boutique or grand – Luxique has a comprehensive selection of luxury hotels in London.
A report in a London evening newspaper suggests that the new owners of Harrods are planning to build a luxury hotel in London on the roof of the iconic store.
Harrods was bought by Qatar Holdings, on behalf of the Qatari royal family, in May for £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion). It’s situated in Knightsbridge, one of the most fashionable and prestigious parts of London. One industry source told the Evening Standard: “A ‘Harrods Hotel’ would be popular with wealthy foreign visitors … you can imagine some people virtually living in it.”
Harrods’ Managing Director, Michael Ward, said it was a serious possibility, although no definite decisions had been taken. “Are we looking at it? Yes. Have we considered it? Yes. It is something we would do.”
According to sources, the plans for the hotel could also include the conversion of the store’s top floor into a restaurant.
The acquisition of Harrods by the Qataris ended the colourful 25-year reign at the business of the flamboyant tycoon, Mohamed Al Fayed. He had said previously that he would like to house his mausoleum on the store’s roof.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers an unrivalled selection of luxury hotels in London, including a dozen in Knightsbridge, a short walk from Harrods.
I took a trip to the Savoy Theatre in London last week to see a performance of Legally Blonde.
The theatre stands right by the Savoy Hotel, which I noticed was gleaming after a £220 million ($351 million) refit that’s taken it out of service for nearly three years. There have been structural upgrades and plush refurbishment in the Edwardian and Art Deco styles.
The Savoy was the first luxury hotel in London and it’s hosted everyone from Winston Churchill to Monet (who liked to paint London river scenes from the window of his suite). It’s now owned by the Canadian group, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
It’s always had a close association with show business (Dietrich, Sinatra, Chaplin etc.), so it was fitting that the first guest in the new-look hotel should be the actor/director/writer/champion blogger and Tweeter, Stephen Fry, who was suitably impressed.
“They have just made sure everything is absolutely of the highest pitch of quality and solidity but without making it a new hotel, without modernising it in a bad way,” he said. “The point about the Savoy is that has been a very particular place in the category of great hotels of London.”
The work has not been without its troubles – it was over budget and well behind schedule. The famous Savoy Grill where the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, held meetings during World War II is still not finished and is unlikely to open its doors before November.
by Andy Moreton
London is now brimming with top class luxury hotels to rival the Savoy. Take a browse through Luxique’s comprehensive list.