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London boutique hotels round-up - January 2013
The cold January weather may have been dominating the news over the past month, but there's plenty going on in London's boutique hotel scene to warm the cockles. Here we take a look at some of the big stories in January and look ahead to what's happening in February.
Some of the capital's most popular ‘hotel cinemas' have been unveiling their screening schedules for early 2013. At Firmdale's Film Club which encompasses the Soho Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel and Charlotte Street Hotel, they're showing a mix of new movies and classics, with the likes of The Hobbit, Seven Psychopaths and Skyfall rubbing shoulders with Breakfast at Tiffany's and Casablanca. Special Valentines screenings will also be held, featuring a 4-course Valentines dinner and movie.
The W Hotel Leicester Square's Film Club is screening Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of a legend in Hitchcock on 12th February, followed by Movie 43 on 26th February - the £15 tickets include popcorn. Finally, Martini Movies at One Aldwych in February includes Anna Karenina (15th Feb) and The Dark Knight Rises (22nd/23rd Feb), with a martini cocktail and a 3 course meal.
Boutique hotels are also eager to woo romantics on February 14th with tempting Valentine's offers. Highlights include the Sanderson Hotel's True Romance package, including a room upgrade, bottle of champagne, breakfast in bed and late checkout. The Baglioni has an ‘All you need is love' package with a romantic welcome, dinner at Moreno, aromatherapy massage and bath with oils and rose petals. The hotel also has a special offer in its Kensington spa (the Advanced Body Detox treatment) featuring ‘Thalgo' slimming treatments, available until 28th February.
Each of Red Carnation's boutique London hotels is also laying down the red carpet for true romantics throughout February. One of the highlights is TheMilestone's ‘Be My Valentine Package' which features pink champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries, a red rose and other treats and tiny noticeable touches in one of London's most romantic 5 star hotels.
Red Carnation Hotels has also been running a Facebook competition which has been gaining traction among boutique hotel aficionados, where lucky ‘likers' can win a 3 night stay in a luxury suite along with an ‘inspiring experience' of their choice. The choice of hotels includes the group's London, South African, European and US properties and the closing date is 6th February. Entry is through the boutique group's Facebook page.
The start of a new year is a time for looking ahead and London Hotels Insight did exactly that in January with a feature on the Top 10 new London hotels in 2013. Amongst these was Andre Balasz' eagerly-anticipated and as yet unnamed boutique property in the old fire station on Chiltern Street in Marylebone. The Art'otel Hoxton was also featured, though recent intelligence suggests that a 2013 opening may be optimistic.
The Hempel boutique hotel meanwhile has closed its doors for refurbishment after its sale in December. Few details are known so far but it may not reopen as a hotel. Management apparently took steps to find new jobs elsewhere in London's busy hotel scene for the hotel's staff, refreshing to see in this age of redundancies and lay-offs.
St Ermin's Hotel's cold war secrets were unearthed in a recent blog onlastminute.com, which revealed that it was once a frequent base for the Cambridge Five spy ring in the 1950s. MI6 is also thought to have used the hotel as a safe house and there may even be hidden tunnels under it.
The Huffington Post recently laid out its verdict of where to stay in London and boutique hotels were the order of the day. The Egerton House Hotel was ‘top choice' in Karen Edwards' article, while the Hoxton Hotel, Zetter Townhouse, Hotel 55 and Hotel 41 were all spoken highly of too.
The Hotel Indigo Kensington Earl's Court has taken the surely unprecedented step of making all of its staff Lords and Ladies with their own titles. Each has apparently been given his or her own plot of land and a historic coat of arms. Mike Greenup, parent group InterContinental's Vice President for European Marketing, said "Giving our guests the chance to be waited on by a suite of Lords and Ladies is a great way to bring life to the rich history of the area and amplify the local story". The Hotel Indigo brand represents IHG's foray into the booming boutique hotel sector.
Similarly upper crust goings on have been taking place at The Goringmeanwhile, with it recently announcing that it is due to be granted a Royal Warrant by the Queen for Hospitality Services. The hotel will have the right to display the Royal coat of arms, becoming the first hotel to earn the honour. Not surprising given that this was Kate Middleton's chosen hotel the night before her wedding to Prince William.
Finally, The Stafford is teaming up with The Riding Club London to offer equestrian services to guests. The hotel itself has a heritage as a site for former horse stables and is offering guests the chance to be met by a concierge from Riding Club London for a two hour horse ride around Windsor Park. Guests can also experience a masterclass in Polo or carriage driving and take a special tour of the British Military Stables. London Hotels Insight blogger Andrea has previously published a review of The Stafford which is nestled off a quiet side-street in central London.
That completes this month's boutique hotel news round-up. Stay tuned to catch the latest on London's thriving boutique hotel scene in February.
Source: London Hotels Insight
Photo credits: Sanderson Hotel, Firmdale hotels, The Baglioni, Art'otel Hoxton, St Ermin's Hotel, Hotel Indigo Kensington, Goring Hotel.
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