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London Boutique Hotels Round-Up – February 2013
With Valentine's Day behind us and Easter just round the corner, London's boutique hotels have been continuing to develop their offerings in a bid to pull in the guests over the coming months.
In conjunction with Somerset House's Valentino: Master of Couture exhibition the Baglioni London ran its own V for Valentino package. The package was a must for anyone with a passion for Italian fashion with a night's luxury accommodation, breakfast and two tickets to the exhibition, transfers inclusive. The offer has now ended but the same hotel is also running an attractive Easter deal with a substantial discount for early bookers of 10% off daily rates; the deal includes complimentary items like an Easter treat on arrival, full English breakfast every morning and a free upgrade.
The Baglioni's restaurant, Moreno at The Baglioni, has meanwhile been receiving yet more positive reviews. The blogosphere has been lighting up with praise from the likes of Food for Think, London on the Inside and CDC Lifestyle. On the latter, Chris Osburn described his restaurant experience as "one of the most noteworthy and enjoyable meals I've had in quite some time and a lovely venue for a ‘date night'". Worth considering by those seeking an Italian restaurant in London in a stylish setting.
Firmdale, the group behind seven London boutique hotels (including the Soho Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel and Haymarket Hotel), are sure to please guests with the recent news revealed on this blog that WiFi will be free at their hotels. Moreover this will be full high-speed internet throughout, unlike some others that operate a ‘two-tier' system. The change is timely since a recent survey by Gogobot revealed that guests at luxury hotels in London are often charged the highest rates for WiFi.
Mohammed Jajbhay, Revenue Director of the Beaufort Hotel, recently shared his thoughts on the boutique hotel business with London Hotels Insight in February. He communicated the hotel's key strengths by explaining that "we're all about individuality and personalising the stay" referring to his belief that in today's market, "there is a craving... for a certain intimacy where the staff remember your name and guests feel completely at home." You can read the full interview on our blog.
The long wait is over meanwhile for guests eager to check into London's new ME by Melia. Though the hotel's official opening date is March 1st, it actually began taking bookings in February during its soft opening. ME London has a total of 157 rooms including 16 suites, ranging from the modest yet luxurious Aura Room to the expansive two-level Suite ME.
It's all change at The Stafford, where Christine Hodder has just been appointed General Manager. She takes over from GM Leon Baum, who has now in turn taken the reins at Kempinski's Ciragan Palace hotel in Istanbul. Ms Hodder brings with her three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, including time with Four Seasons, Regent Hotels and Hyatt.
The Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel was given a thumbs-up by TravelMole in February, when it was named ‘hotel of the week'. Writing on the online travel community site, Dianne Evans was impressed by the friendly staff, the dining and "fantastic location". She went on to describe the hotel as "everything I wanted and more".
One of London's oldest and most individual hotels, Brown's, has special cause to celebrate 2013. The hotel is turning 175 and in recognition of this milestone is running a number of special packages throughout the year. One of the most noteworthy is a promotion which allows guests to get a second night in a suite for just £18.37.
The deal is available all the way through to December this year.
Afternoon tea is one of the quintessential experiences of a luxury stay in London and many boutique hotels go out of their way to provide attractive and unusual offerings. One example is St Ermin's Hotel, which recently tweeted a preview of its brand new afternoon tea. You can view this mouthwatering sight on the St Ermin's Twitter page.
Dukes meanwhile has had a rather substantial revamp recently. The hotel revealed the results of major renovations in February. Both guestrooms and communal areas have been given a makeover, with Sandy Deane Interiors designing the former and Shaun Clarkson the latter. According to Incentive Travel, each bedroom has been designed using different colour schemes "making the bedrooms more elegant than ever before."
After months of speculation it is being rumoured that the famous Admiralty Arch is likely to become an Armani-branded hotel. The hundred year-old building was bought by investment firm Prime Investors Capital in 2012, leading to speculation over its transformation into a luxury hotel. An Armani hotel is expected to open there in 2015, with the building's original features being preserved - though this is yet to be confirmed.
Hotelier David Levin of London's Levin Hotel, was critical of Australian hospitality on his most recent visit to the country. According to The Canberra Times, he complained that "many of the staff in leading Australian hotels don't understand the meaning of hospitality...". And Mr Levin's opinion is worth noting on the evidence of our bloggers' mouthwatering experience at a recent cheese and whisky tasting at his Capital Hotel.
Also far afield, Red Carnation Hotels were part of a British hospitality taskforce heading to Russia as part of ‘Destination Britain'. The aim was to promote Britain as a destination for Russian visitors in a bid to generate a 75% increase by 2020.
That completes our round-up for February. Stay tuned to London Hotels Insight in March for the latest happenings in the capital's boutique hotel sector as thoughts start to turn to Easter and springtime...
Photo credits: WillowGardeners, Firmdale Hotels, ME by Melia, Radisson Edwardian Blu Mercer Street, St Ermin's Hotel, Beaufort Hotel, Dukes Hotel, The Milestone Hotel.
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