Many travelers want to stay with a particular chain of hotels to maintain their status or perhaps for one of the many money-saving offers from credit cards like American Express. Until a few years ago, this often meant a bland corporate cookie-cutter hotel. Now brands like Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott are massively expanding their range of unique luxury hotels to choose from. Despite Covid, there have been several new openings from the best brands that are more boutique than chain hotels in London.
Hilton recently opened two new hotels in London with the Hart by Curio Collection by Hilton in trendy Shoreditch and The Westminster, also a Curio Collection hotel. The Hart currently offers luxury rooms at very reasonable prices right in the heart of the action in Shoreditch. The rooms have full marble bathrooms with corner options that have a fantastic deep soaking tub perfect after a day of walking around the neighborhood.
You can walk to many restaurants and bars from the hotel, but it is still well soundproofed for a good night’s sleep. In addition, the hotel has quirky bookshelves and a separate bar and restaurant.
Westminster is larger than a boutique hotel, but still feels a lot like one with its whimsical, eccentric decor, such as the display of bowler hats at the reception and the slightly mysterious paintings at the end of each time. It houses the new STK restaurant in London, which offers perfectly cooked steak and some great cocktails.
One of the other unusual aspects of the hotel is the secret bowling alley, which guests can rent out for events. The sunny corner rooms have a view of the Thames and a window seat to soak it all up. Even the entrance rooms have marble showers with a large rain head and a walk-in dressing and bathroom when you enter the room.
One of the most amazing hotel renovations of a historic building is the Great Scotland Yard, which was formerly the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police and proudly displays its history. At the reception there is a display of police-related artifacts and art by Nicola Greeb, showing people who have helped shape the British legal system. Each room is a little different and some have marble fireplaces.
From 17 September, the many-award-winning Michelin chef, Niklas Ekstedt, will open his first restaurant outside Stockholm and launch Ekstedt at The Yard. For the first time, the restaurant will have Niklas’ signature style with wood-fired ‘old Nordic’ cooking in the UK.
If it’s a cocktail you’re looking for, the 40 Elephants bar is named after a female criminal gang, and guests are treated to a glass of the 40 Elephants punch, which is loosely based on a Pina Colada, but with a more refreshing and modern twist. The hotel is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and was the first in the collection to open in the UK in December 2019.
Marriott has several boutique properties that are part of its Autograph collection. The very modern and design-run Bankside Hotel on London’s vibrant Southbank has vending machines with some unique content, including champagne and sparkling underwear for your perfect evening in London! The underwear was a reference to one of the artworks in the hotel. Art is an integral part of the hotel, including their own artists in the residency program.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the historic Threadneedles hotel in the city was converted from the former London, City and Midland Bank headquarters of the 1880s. The original building, now listed, was built in 1856 and converted into the Threadneedles Hotel in 2002, which now has 74 bedrooms. The hotel’s restaurant, The Oyster Bar & Grill Room, has menus devised by the legendary Marco Pierre White.
One of the most recent editions of the collection is the Dixon Hotel near Tower Bridge, whose elegant red-brick building dates from 1905 and was formerly the Tower Bridge Magistrates Court. The hotel is named after John Dixon Butler, the original Edwardian architect of the listed building. An impressive entrance hall welcomes you as you enter with a large chandelier made of old handcuffs and the large picture-lined staircase. The hotel’s Courtroom Bar is located in the original courtroom.
Having several individual hotels in London where travelers can still be rewarded for their loyalty is a win-win for both parties. Hotels can market themselves to a wider audience than if they were completely independent. On the other hand, the guest can benefit from all the benefits that come from staying with a big brand, insurance on standards, loyalty benefits and the ability to earn and redeem points.