Despite being decimated by the pandemic last year, London’s luxury hotel scene is once again glowing red, with several lavish new hotels to choose from. With many hotels left at pre-pandemic rates or higher, hotels near the City of London generally provide better value as the trend of working from home continues.
The most recent five star hotel in the City of London is Pan Pacific. The Singapore-based company is taking its first step into Europe with the opening of Pan Pacific in early September. The hotel feels like you are entering Singapore as soon as you arrive, but in subtle ways. Lush tropical vegetation is evident throughout the hotel along with stunning tropical foliage in vases. Even the bathrooms have bamboo stalks to suit the theme, although the toiletries are closer to home, with the cult perfumes Diptyque as suppliers.
Rooms are decorated in soothing duck egg tones and feature beautiful oriental Chinese teapots with matching cups. The super-large beds are some of the most sumptuous and comfortable in London, and you do not have to get out of bed to open the curtains and admire the views of some of London’s most iconic city buildings. If you long to taste Singapore, the hotel offers several options to enjoy some Singaporean favorites or modern Asian-inspired dishes.
The highlight is without a doubt the afternoon tea in The Orchid Lounge by renowned confectioner Cherish Finden, formerly at Langham. Of course you can go traditional and try an English afternoon tea. Still, one of the best afternoon teas in London is the hotel’s Kopi Tiam option, meaning a coffee house in Singapore. The menu is based on dishes from her childhood and even offers the ubiquitous curry puff, which will transport you back to a hawker center in Asia in the first glorious bite. The presentation is just as amazing as the bold flavors, with the taste of Umami Seaweed Sesame Shortbread with Soya Sauce Caramel being so good that you will want more.
There is also the Straits Kitchen restaurant, which serves the messy Singapore favorite, chili crab as well as other Asian favorites and some more international choices. Finally, Ginger Lily is the intimate cocktail bar located at the back of the lounge and perfect for a date night or a night drink in a quiet place. Cocktails are modern and tropical in decoration, yet sophisticated.
Many hotels in London only offer an underground pool, but not so at Pan Pacific. Adjacent to the 18.5-foot infinity pool overlooking the square below, the hotel features a high-performance interactive fitness center and a unique mindfulness studio for meditation, pilates and yoga.
The Londoner followed shortly after the opening of the Pan Pacific in September, located in the heart of the tourist action on Leicester Square. The London City Edwardian hotels refer to themselves as “the world’s first super boutique hotel”, as it has 350 rooms and 16 floors, but still strives to preserve the essence of a boutique hotel. The Londoner is designed in collaboration with world-renowned architectural designer Yabu Pushelberg and is designed to capture British humor in its decor to appeal to both tourists and locals.
From the luxurious 200 sqm Tower Penthouse duplex suite and the expansive Trafalgar Suites – covering 119 square meters and offering seating areas, kitchenettes and foyers to the entry-level rooms, the rooms are all elegantly neutral. The style is decidedly with a British slope, but with the latest technology and lots of natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows.
One aspect that sets The Londoner apart is that it offers its guests around the clock access to its own private member club style, The Residence. The 24-hour club is for guests only and is tucked away from the public areas, enhancing its sense of exclusivity.
Another feature for guests at Londoner will be The Retreat, a spa and wellness reserve, hidden four floors underground. The area contains everything most people would require in a city hotel, spa and more. The Retreat includes an advanced gym, swimming and hydropools, sauna, steam room, bespoke male care by Joe Vipond, a blow dryer, an AMA nail bar and a range of treatments led by Omorovicza, Gentlemen’s Tonic, and ila as well as a Refuel juice bar.
If you prefer more privacy, treatments can be performed in the room, even outside normal opening hours. There are even Poolside and Cabana experiences that you would expect to see at a resort instead of at a spa in the city. The Courtyard brings an indoor / outdoor experience in its bright, airy space for those who prefer to be outside for their workout routine. Classes such as Sunrise Yoga, Core Strength Session, Energizing Moving Meditation Session and Sunrise Pilates are available here for hotel guests, members and the general public.
The Londoner will probably also attract those who want to experience its many food and beverage options with six unique hospitality rooms. Probably the hotel’s izakaya lounge, 8 on The Londoner, is the biggest draw due to its rooftop location with breathtaking city views. The restaurant and bar serve modern Japanese cuisine and innovative mixology. The room itself feels dramatic with its sophisticated muted deep colors showing the view and the central round fireplace.
There is also a lobby bar and Joshua’s Tavern offering over 50 regionally made gins and vintage gins with matching garnishes, house-infused bitters and tonics to elevate the botanical ingredients in each gin. In addition, the Stage Bar, which radiates from the lobby, offers an all-day menu that complements its main focus, Champagne.
Still relatively new to the London hotel scene, the London branch of NoMad opened in May 2021. The hotel followed the previous two in Las Vegas and Los Angeles following the closure of the original NoMad in New York.
With an enviable position within walking distance of the Royal Opera House, Soho, the Thames and Leicester Square, the hotel is housed inside the historic, listed building known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. The restoration of the building drew inspiration both from its history and location as well as the original in New York.
The centerpiece of the hotel is the NoMad restaurant by head chef Ashley Abodeely. Nestled in a light-filled atrium surrounded by cascading plants, the sheer size has a feel of the dining area at The Ned in the City of London. The menu offers a modern eclectic mix from king crab tagliatelle to their famous chicken dinner, consisting of three dishes.
Their cocktail bar, Side Hustle, has already gained a reputation as one of the hottest bars in town with a fun selection of Mexican small plates to counteract their more nude cocktails. Located in the building’s former police station, NoMad’s bid on the classic British pub rather than a traditional cocktail bar. The cocktails offer a large selection of agave-based spirits along with classic and modern British, European and American choices.
For wellness, there are two very different options to choose from compared to the normal ubiquitous range of massages and facials. First, Ricari Studios has a specific face and body massage method that stimulates skin and tissues to boost circulation, facilitate lymph drainage, tone skin, shape and soothe the nervous system. Then, skin health specialist Annee de Mamiel offers the other options with a choice of just two facials. Her signature treatment is individually tailored, or there is a Digital Fatigue Facial that uses the powerful natural antioxidants in de Mamiel’s skin care to target inflammation and boost skin cell metabolism to restore your glow.
In 2022, London can look forward to more major luxury hotel openings with the Peninsula and Raffles brands due to their first guests. The Peninsula London overlooking Hyde Park Corner is expected to open in late 2022, including a spa and central courtyard. Raffles London at The OWO will be housed in a historic building that was Winston Churchill’s base during World War II. The hotel is also expected to open at the end of 2022.