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London Boutique Hotels Round-Up – November 2012
Christmas is almost upon us once again and there are few places more festive to spend a winter break than London. Aside from the Christmas fairs at Hyde Park, South Bank and elsewhere, there are the extravagant Christmas lights and pantomimes to enjoy, with many of the capital's top boutique hotels also arranging something extra special for visitors.
In November, some hotels marked the run-up to the festive season with special events; the Milestone Hotel for example made arrangements to ensure that its Christmas light switch-on was graced with the presence of three members of the English National Ballet. The trio wore elegant Nutcracker costumes and were accompanied on the balcony of the Prince Albert suite by Red Carnation's founder-owner Mrs Beatrice Tollman.
It is of course also the time of year when Christmas trees are beginning to pop up all over the place, not least in the foyers and lounges of luxury boutique hotels. Claridge's unveiled theirs in mid-November - an intriguing design by florist Kally Ellis, as featured on London Hotels Insight. 45 Park Lane meanwhile also put up their tree recently, opting for a more traditional approach as you can see in the image below.
Of course, many hotels are also doing their utmost to make this Christmas extra special for guests and you can a can get a taste of some of the best in our upcoming article on the top five 5-star Christmas hotel packages.
The Berkeley is currently offering guests the chance to watch a selection of classic festive films on the hotel's (heated) rooftop terrace, in its Christmas tree-adorned Winter Cinema. Running from 26th November to the end of January, the intimate outdoor cinema has just four cosy seats, so booking is essential (free to guests, £55 to non-guests).
It's not just couples and families that London's hotels are trying to woo with their festive offers though - many are also making an effort to help businesses celebrate with special corporate Christmas packages such as Red Carnation's ‘Rudolph Package', which features a private room, a 3-course festive dinner and a generous supply of wine and mince pies. The group's Milestone Hotel is also offering corporate groups a unique chance to learn how to open a bottle of Champagne with a sabre this Christmas, with its unique ‘Sabrage Package' running until the end of December.
The Baglioni's Moreno restaurant has launched a ‘Dining Experience' to tantalise the taste buds and fancies of London visitors. The package includes accommodation in one of its luxury suites, a bottle of Bellavista Cuvee Brut, a Full English breakfast and 3 course set dinner for two, and is set to run throughout next year. Book it on the Baglioni London website.
London's brand new ME by Melia hotel is finally set to open on the 1st of December - at long last! The 157-room hotel on the Strand now occupies what was the BBC's first base of broadcasting operations - Marconi House.
After months of construction delays, including a fire, the hotel is now finally complete, even featuring a ‘Radio' rooftop terrace bar in homage to the building's history. We look forward to seeing if it lives up to expectations.
2013 will see the construction of a second hotel by Hoxton to accompany its Shoreditch property (pictured below).
The second Hoxton Hotel will be in Holborn, on the site of an office block that used to belong to BT. The hotel is expected to have almost 200 rooms and while no opening date has been set yet, owners Ennismore Capital are reportedly already in negotiations to purchase a third hotel. Meanwhile the original Hoxton is arranging a packed programme of winter events.
The Arch London received yet another award in November, this one for being the ‘Best Newcomer' in Conde Nast's 2013 Awards for Excellence. This award is made even more commendable by the fact that the hotel has already won several other awards this year, including ‘Best UK Club Hotel' from Small Luxury Hotels of the World. We posted a review of The Arch on this blog a while ago as well as sampling its Hunter 486 restaurant.
Two other London boutique hotels narrowly missed out on receiving top accolades in the 2012 Boutique Hotel Awards, which were held in the Hempel Hotel at the beginning of November. The Sanctum Soho and The Ampersand were however runners up, for the ‘Best Design Boutique Hotel in the World' and the ‘Best new boutique Hotel in the World' respectively.
The Soho Hotel has been listed by Fox News/ Gayot as one of the ‘Top 10 boutique hotels worldwide'; no prize involved but a worthy achievement nonetheless. We've always considered it one of the best hotels in Soho.
CNN reported in November on the increase of ‘day only' room rates in London, mostly used by businessmen apparently. It reports that The Beaufort has seen an increase of 10% in occupancy since it began offering day rates, while the Town Hall Hotel has also apparently seen a substantial increase in takings as a result of day bookings.
Finally, aforementioned Red Carnation founder Mrs Beatrice Tollman has been revealing the secrets of boutique hotel success in an interview with fellow-South African Liezel van der Westhuizen. "You can build a palace - gold, silver, marble...everything ," she says, "but it's not what really counts in the end, it's really the service, and the attention and the care of the guests and that is what really makes a good hotel."
Wise and instructive words for all boutique hotel owners.
Photo credits: Manel, 45 Park Lane, Red Carnation Hotels, Hoxton Hotel, Soho Hotel London.
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