Four Seasons Hotel London
“If you think London has just one season – the rainy one – then perhaps it’s time you experienced the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square,” says Canada’s The Globe and Mail. It opened on 26 January in the former headquarters of the Port of London Authority and boasts “a list of amenities nearly as long as its name”.
There are three restaurants, including one headed by France’s three-Michelin-starred Anne-Sophie Pic, a spa, salon, swimming pool and fitness centre, and “personal shoppers” on hand. You certainly won’t mind “holing up” in the stylish Grade II-listed heritage building if it’s “bucketing down with rain outside”. If you manage to escape the rain, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre are all nearby.
Nobu Hotel Shoreditch
Shoreditch is the Nobu chain’s first hotel in Europe. It is the “most architecturally interesting new build in London”, says Forbes, and is scheduled to open in the spring. The hotel in Willow Street is a stone’s throw from the area’s art galleries and, naturally for a brand that carved out its reputation for serving stylish Japanese cuisine, the restaurant and bar will have pride of place in the new hotel, with the food overseen by chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The 150 bedrooms and suites, meanwhile, will be “light” and “zennish”.
“The transformation of London’s former Midland Bank into one of the city’s most spectacular heritage hotels is nearing completion,” says The Daily Telegraph. The Ned, which is due to open in April, has undergone only a “light-handed” renovation, owing to its Grade I-listed status. Sir Edwin “Ned” Lutyens designed the building from 1924, and many of the original features have been retained, including the 92 African verdite columns in the former banking hall and the old “safety deposit” signage.
The Grand Banking Hall has been transformed into a food court and members of the exclusive Ned’s Club will have access to the Vault Room, which inspired the design of Fort Knox in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, located two floors below ground. There is also a rooftop pool from which to enjoy views of St Paul’s cathedral.
The Lalit London
Also making its British debut this week is Indian hotel chain Lalit. The £350-a-night luxury hotel on the South Bank, near Tower Bridge, is housed in the former St Olave’s Grammar School, a Grade II-listed Victorian building.
The Great Hall has become the hotel’s restaurant, serving “genuine Indian food” and featuring a “Naanery”, which serves breads such as roti and kulcha matched with wines, notes the Evening Standard. The traditional English afternoon tea has been given “an Indian twist with options such as Cutting Chai tea and samosas and kathi rolls”. The spa offers traditional Indian ayurvedic therapies alongside yoga.
The Ginstitute, a tiny room above a pub on Portobello Road, west London, where “a handful of people could squeeze in to gen up on gin”, has moved “a few doors down into a gorgeous new four-storey gin palace, the Distillery”, says The Guardian. It is London’s first gin hotel. The tasting and the distilling takes place in the basement, while on the ground floor there is a “sleek” bar, the Resting Room, and a “bright G&T emporium”, named GinTonica.
Particularly recommended is the Ginstitute Experience – “a gallop through the long history of gin”. It’s not cheap at £110, but at least “the ‘Ginstructor’ doesn’t stint on drinks”. After that, you can stagger upstairs to one of the three bedrooms. It’s more like “crashing at a cool friend’s flat” then staying at a hotel – think “old-fashioned cocktail prints on the wall, and a huge vase of dusky pink roses and inky tulips” – as well as an obligatory bottle of gin.