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January 19, 2008
Londons Hippest Hotels
London’s hotels are racing to accommodate the millions of tourists that visit the city each year. In 2007, a record 15.2 million people traveled to the U.K. capital, helping the city’s hotel industry to achieve a 10.8% growth rate in revenue; that’s more than double that of the rest of the country.
It’s a competitive market. The upshot for guests? A wide range of chic options from the traditional to the trendy, and rooms for those on a budget as well as those with money to spare.
Below is a list of London’s Hippest Hotels according to Forbes.com:
No, it’s not an oxymoron. The Hoxton offers 205 rooms complete with flat-screen TVs, duck-down duvets and Frette linens for as little as $2 and as much $330 per night. The catch to scoring such a great deal? Book far in advance and beware that dates cannot be changed once a reservation is made. Based on the Easyjet model, Hoxton’s pricing scheme fluctuates as demand is met, and guests are subject to various restrictions such as a two-person limit in each room and a no-cancellation policy.
Disciples of London hoteliers Tim and Kit Kemp have yet another luxurious spot to enjoy. Located in the city’s theater district and opened in May 2007, the Haymarket offers guests 50 unique rooms and suites as well as a five-bedroom townhouse with a private entrance, drawing room and floor-to-ceiling windows. In each, furniture is custom-made or belongs to a larger collection of distinctive pieces like Lucite tables and lamps. Rooms start at $480 per night; the five-bedroom townhouse is $8,800 per night.
This one-time Victorian banking hall has become the destination for high-powered businessmen and -women who seek sophistication and executive trappings. Personalized business cards are waiting for guests on their arrival and rooms are outfitted with voice mail, broadband wireless access and fax outlets. Complimentary shoe shines are also available. The hotel’s Bonds Restaurant–with modern French cuisine–is where “power breakfasts” are said to happen. Basic rates can range from $715 to $1,000 per night.
This East End hotel reopened in November 2007 after receiving a brand overhaul by its new corporate owner, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. They have forgone traditional front-desk check-in and receptionists. Instead, guests check in via a Tablet PC and are assisted by various members of the staff, including a designated “team member” who handles personal preferences and requests. The lobby has been re-imagined as “The Living Room” to encourage guests to think of the hotel as a second home. Rates range from $750 to $1,100 per night.
Celeb stalkers and sushi aficionados have a home at the Metropolitan. The hotel’s legendary restaurant Nobu draws celebrities like Enrique Iglesias, David and Victoria Beckham and Jake Gyllenhaal. After noshing on the restaurant’s trademark black cod with miso, guests can retreat to rooms that feature pear-wood paneling, suede upholstery and pure Egyptian linens. The hard-to-reserve Penthouse suite offers views of Hyde Park and perks like Bose audio system, a 42-inch plasma screen TV and a personal assistant. Rates range from $730 to $6,260 per night.
The Berkeley may be a luxury hotel, but not at the expense of your children. The Hyde Park hotel has a number of family-friendly services, ranging from day picnics to babysitting to bottle warmers. Even children’s bathrobes and slippers are available. The concierge will arrange transportation needs for families as well, including chauffeur service, which escorts guests in a Mercedes, Jaguar or BMW. Adults will enjoy the hotel’s spa and personal-training services as well as the stylish décor. Rates range from $485 to $3,010 per night.
A St. Regis hotel, the Lanesborough prides itself on its old-world class and service. The “impeccable” St. Regis butler is at your beck and call, as are any number of hotel staff. The rooms, decorated with antiques, are stately and luxurious. For dining and drinking, guests can choose between the hotel’s Library Bar, which pours vintage cognacs and The Conservatory, where afternoon tea takes place beneath the glass ceiling to the sounds of trickling fountains and piano-playing. Rates can range from $655 to $3,130 per night.
Hotelier and designer Anouska Hempel has created a different world within the walls of the Blakes. Each of the 52 rooms and suites are designed with unique themes and influences. The elegant linens, curtains and draped fabrics are perfect accents for rooms that feature four-poster king-size beds, towering bookshelves lined with antique-looking tomes and decorative items and prints from Versailles. Herbert Ypma, author of the HIP Hotels book series, calls Blakes “a bit over-the-top but in a very beautiful way.” Rooms range from $340 to $1,950.