As travel restrictions lift, US travelers are turning their heads back to London. London, one of the world’s most exciting and majestic cities, has luxury hotels to cater to a range of tastes and needs. Whether you’re looking for a classic city suite in the heart of the action, or a majestic escape that’s lavish from floor to ceiling, here are six superstar stays for VIP arrivals.
The Lanesborough London
In a word, The Lanesborough London is a masterpiece. Everything within is a work of art, evident upon onset as you take the first step into the former home of Viscount Lanesborough. The hallways, each and everyone, are draped with fine art and sculpture to rival that of the V&A museum, extending to social spaces and bedrooms. We adore any property from the Oetker Collection to be fair (Le Bristol Paris remains one of our all-time favorites), so the London edition came with high expectations, all dutifully met. The Lanesborough mansion has 93 suites and rooms, all with a distinct color palette but with continual neo-classical touches, embroidery florals, and chandelier lighting. A 2015 renovation carefully incorporated modern tech into the experience, so it’s not all golden-era glamour. You have heated bathroom floors, a godsend year-round let alone chilly winters, and a bedside tablet to effortlessly adjust section lights, curtains, and temperature. TV screens within frames are disguised as paintings when switched off – helping the room ambiance stay in line with the historical building. Guests have access to a private butler, summoned via tablet or wall-fixed butler-buttons. They’re swift, professional, and make you feel like royalty – is this what life in the palace is like? Downstairs, the Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant is a must – think DANIEL of Manhattan meets a British royal residency. And whilst most vacationers tend to skip the gym, do make time for wellness. Their gym, club, and spa are a tranquil underground escape, larger than most city hotel offerings, with a divine hydro pool. Pass a day here if the weather outside doesn’t allow for a Hyde Park walk. Scrap that, pass a day here regardless. Hyde Park can wait.
Shangri-La The Shard, London
Why bother booking tickets for The London Eye when your hotel room already has observatory views? The Shangri-La The Shard occupies 18 floors of London’s modern icon and tallest building, with panoramic skyline sights over the city from every fabulous room – binoculars at the ready! Inside you’re treated to floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek interiors which harmonize marble, silk, and wood, and serene spaces filled with natural light. Do whatever you can to snag a bathtub adjacent to windows; select rooms and suites have the ultimate soak in the sky facing landmarks like Tower Bridge and St.Paul’s Cathedral, depending on which direction you face. All accompanied with L’Occitane products to soothe aching muscles after a day exploring them up-close. The plush whites of the 300-thread count Frette bed linens to the ultra-soft bathrobes follow up to induce a heavenly sleep. Hotel amenities include a soaring heated infinity pool, gym, wellness center, bars, and the on-site British-Asian restaurant, TING, on level 35 is a delight for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner (all options superb), using fresh ingredients sourced locally from suppliers at nearby Borough Market – this even includes the bread from the breadbasket.
The Ritz London
The Ritz London is considered a treasure of the world and features at the top of many a travel bucket list – who wouldn’t want to experience old-time glamour and opulence when visiting a city as magnificent as London? Sitting next to the Royal Green Park and steps away from the vast entertainment circle surrounding Piccadilly Circus, the 1906 legend is the ideal base for every exploration need. There are 136 guestrooms and suites, all classical proportioned and intricately detailed. We adore the deluxe suites. Their large regal living spaces and beautifully decorated bedrooms are filled with mirrors that amplify the size and bounce both daylight and lamplight magically. Aside from the delicious Asprey pamper products in each marble bathroom; almost everything under this roof is bespoke. From the turquoise tableware at breakfast emblazoned with The Ritz London’s logo, to their champagne from the prestigious Ritz Reserve, right down to the stylish blue and white disposable slippers. No detail is spared when it comes to sourcing the highest quality and most exclusive amenities. In addition, guests staying at one of the Signature Suites receive a complimentary one-way airport transfer within The Ritz Rolls-Royce Phantom – built by hand in England and custom made to The Ritz hotel’s design (also available for hire for hotel and non-hotel guests). No matter which tier you opt for, expect the experience to be a unique and cherished one.
Royal Lancaster London
What’s special about the Royal Lancaster London is its understated, classic luxury. The Hyde Park legend may be 54 years old, but it effortlessly keeps up with contemporary competitors. No wonder clientele is fiercely loyal. There are 411 rooms and suites, full of British sophistication blended with modern-day features. The Park Suite is our pick of the bunch. Upon entering guests are instantly in awe of the delicious skyline and garden views. Not just any garden, royal Kensington Gardens, no less (stroll over to see the new Diana memorial). Views extend to the bathroom, where a sparkling marble bathtub waits to savor sunset from, in the company of White Company goodies. The Park Suite’s living space features a soft palette of colors from velvet sofa to the earth tones of the shelving, sparkled with British trinkets and glass dining table. In the bedroom, the king-size bed feels every inch luxurious when combined with plump, feather pillows – close the day and night blinds electronically and you’re on a cloud. Families can book adjoining classic rooms, whereby the partition is two (soundproofed) doors that give the space an apartment-style feel. Breakfast is served in the first-floor dining room daily from 7:30 am till 10:30 am. Make room on the schedule to dine at Nipa Thai, the most authentic Thai cuisine outside Bangkok which has been led by Chef Sanguan Parr for over 20 years. Nipa Thai can be served down in the restaurant or in the privacy of your suite’s lounge by a butler – the team can facilitate just about any request. If you want timeless luxe that isn’t hyped by social media celebrities, you’ve found it right here.
Covent Garden Hotel
Travelers on the pulse, we recommend spending quality time in London’s Seven Dials. Once a quiet and unassuming alcove, today it serves as an uber-trendy hangout fusing a unique, relaxed pace with a thick air of excitement. What with being in the heart of theatreland, the retail and entertainment destination is an obvious discovery for newcomers wishing to swipe plastic – over 90 stores, over 90 cafes, restaurants, and bars, wellness options like Stretch Inc, and of course Firmdale’s mighty Covent Garden Hotel are at their disposal. Whilst rooms err on the compact end, guests are welcome to stretch out over their fabulous black and red screening room and large drawing room which more than make up for the square feet at bedtime. Bathrooms are ultra-modern and will excite lovers of soaking, accompanied by Rik Rak products and a built-in bathroom television. Downstairs, Brasserie Max is a hot spot for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner, go out and explore nearby Neal’s Yard for The Barbary, a buzzing joint with flavors to surprise even well-versed foodies, and Earlham Street for Seven Dials Market, full of independent eateries like (MasterChef winner Tim Anderson’s stall, Nanban) that give Borough Market a run for its money.
The London EDITION
In terms of location, The London EDITION is where the classic action is – the London in the movies. You’re within walking distance to Oxford Street and the nightlife of Soho. Inside, 173 rooms and suites offer refuge from the madness. Blending an oak wooded Scandi-chic design with a naturally lit space; minimalist décor brings an air of calm to contrast the day. Custom furnishings, a George Smith sofa, and striking gold-framed photograph from Hendrik Kerstens add character for a cabin-Esque feel (think the private yacht sort, since you have all the perks). The king bed, clad with a down comforter and pillows, is a blissful night’s dream that’s carefully accessorized with London Faux Fur Throw. Rooms are on the small side (though typical for London), so we recommend upgrading to the suite life – some options of which feature sweeping terraces and deep-soaking bathtubs carrying Le Labo products (including bath salts) to splash in. The property’s F&B offerings are worth a flirt too, such as Berners Tavern – brilliant for breakfast – and the towering lobby bar – you’re in a landmark building after all.
| Main Photo is from the Photography for The Lanesborough, Oetker Collection© Dominic James | www.dominic-james.com