London Hotels with a USP- The Mail, August travel special
Do you want the wow-factor from your hotel, but don’t want to break the bank? Explore some of London’s lesser-known hotels, serving urban safari sounds, wizard themed afternoon tea and some serious five-star decadence, for less than you’d expect!
London has been the undisputed top destination for Irish visitors for many years, with almost three million visitors travelling for work and leisure each year. The city hosts some of the world's greatest landmark museums, it has more than its fair share of iconic monuments, bridges, palaces, and parks, and it also has an extensive array of iconic hotels. A mere mention of The Savoy, Claridges, or The Ritz, and people are instantly transported to the highest echelons of glamour. These venerable, elegant hotels are among the most famous in the world, and rightly so, but not everyone can afford that level of opulence, and if you are travelling with children, frankly, that level of grandeur is often lost on them. Maybe they would prefer to wake up in a lodge next to the monkeys of London Zoo or sleep in a treehouse-style room way up over the rooftops of Regent Street? London has so many remarkable hotels, so whether you fancy an opulent den with leather floors or you’d rather an all-vegan suite, London’s got you covered.
Borough: Vegan Suite, Bankside, Hilton
Incredibly, there is just one dedicated vegan hotel suite in London. The Hilton Bankside has created one in partnership with multi-sensory design experts Bompas & Par and the suite has been given the thumbs up by The Vegan Society. It offers a vegan experience throughout, from a plant-based check-in desk and keycard to vegan-friendly bedding and eco-cotton carpet. where you can experience a range of features that embrace a plant-based lifestyle with all aspects thoughtfully designed, including:
The pillow menu offers anti-bacterial, non-allergenic, and environmentally sourced materials to replace feather down, such as buckwheat pillows made with 100% organic buckwheat hulls, kapok pillows made from natural kapok, and millet pillows made with organic millet husks. There’s even a hand-embroidered Piñatex leather headboard (plant-based natural leather made from pineapple fibres). The vegan mini bar with snacks is well stocked, and the hotel bar and restaurant cater for vegans, with plenty on offer at the generous buffet breakfast. There’s a small pool and mini spa in the lower ground area.
Clerkenwell: The Rookery
This lovingly restored set of Georgian houses merge into a rich vintage oasis, tucked away just a short distance from St. Paul's Cathedral, the Bank of England, and the Old Bailey. The hotel is made up of the only remaining early houses in Peter’s Lane, so don’t expect the usual hotel trimmings like a spa or roof garden; all the attention has gone on the rooms and the beautiful, lush communal spaces. Each room is unique, some with exposed original beams, most with antique freestanding baths, and all with treasures handpicked and painstakingly restored by one of the owners. The library has polished wood panelling, stone flagged floors, and an open fire. The hotel runs an honesty bar system where you simply write your room number and self-pour. If you are lucky, you will get to meet the stunning puma-sized black cat who patrols the plush corridors. With 30 rooms, it’s a decent-sized boutique, and its main suite, The Nest, is the jewel in the crown, with its split-level grandeur, exposed rafters, and sumptuous fabrics.
Two other hotels in the group include Hazlitts in Soho and Batty Langleys in Spitalfields. All three hotels are incredibly authentic restorations and a true step back into the luxury world of Georgian London.
Regent’s Street: The Treehouse Hotel
Tucked away in Langham Place with a view of the iconic Langham Hotel roof top is Treehouse Hotel, a playhouse for fun-loving adults and families. Each bedroom is decked out like a mini treehouse, with fun kitsch toys and colourful soft furnishings dotted around the rooms. The views are breathtaking on a clear day, and The Nest restaurant is a buzzy, vibrant place to enjoy food all day and lively nighttime entertainment. Broad balconies surround The Nest, allowing lots of outdoor dining and drinking, overlooking the salubrious rooftops of the surrounding Langham Place. Despite its grand location, it's unpretentious, good fun, and the perfect hotel for the grownup who’s still a kid. There’s another Treehouse Hotel opening in Manchester later this year.
Regent’s Park: London Zoo Lodges
Who knew London Zoo had lodges available to rent within the grounds? You can enjoy a night in the heart of the zoo, listening to the animals up close, like you’re on an urban safari! You can discover what happens at the Zoo after dark by joining exclusive after-hours tours before bedding down for the night in a private lodge within roaring distance of the Asiatic lion enclosure. The zoo runs both adult-only and family nights, which have a similar structure but tailor the talks and activities on the tours for younger guests on family nights. Adult night participants need to be 14 and over, and children must be 5–13 years old for family nights. Each cabin fits up to two adults and two children under 15. London Zoo Lodges are open all year, but as they are such a unique novelty, they book up well in advance. They run a full breakfast and dinner menu and cater for special occasions.
Euston: Meliá White House
Spanish hotel group Meliá, with 125 hotels internationally, has just completed the £40 million transformation of its flagship UK hotel, Meliá White House, a 4-star deluxe hotel on the corner of Regent’s Park, very near Euston Station. The 1930s, Grade II-listed building has had its 581 bedrooms, suites, and public spaces upscaled, and the architects have worked hard to retain the building's original Art Deco architectural style. Each public space has been designed to be part of one another; there are no doors, so guests are able to easily flow from one space to another. White marble flooring spans the entrance and ground floor, contrasted with walnut wood fixtures and wine-red velvet fabric drapes inspired by London’s love of theatre and musicals. The Mediterranean-inspired Arado Restaurant is the hotel’s in-house restaurant. Meliá White House also has 111 long-stay apartments, a 24-hour fitness studio, and nine meeting and event spaces, all promising state-of-the-art technology. It’s also got a swimming pool, squash courts, a delicatessen, a newsagent, a chemist, a hairdresser, a valet, and a roof-top garden. If you want your luxury hotel to have everything under one roof, this is a good choice.
Soho: Dean Street Townhouse Hotel
The Dean Street Townhouse Hotel, run by Soho House Group, can not be left out when describing fabulous London hotels. The hotel's restaurant next door is still one of the best-managed and most inviting restaurants in the city. The lighting gives off a warm atmosphere, no matter what time of day you visit and the coveted outside tables are the best in Soho for people watching. The hotel bedrooms deliver the consistent style and luxury expected from Soho House in general, but there’s just something extra special about Dean Street. Maybe it's the decor, the luxury bath products, the surprisingly spacious rooms, or maybe it’s the amazing selection of items offered in their legendary mini bar! If you are looking for a buzzy location, lots of Soho House style, consistency and service, this hotel will be hard to beat.
Pimlico: Georgian House Hotel
Another option for grownups and kids alike is this curious Georgian house set in stylish Pimlico, just off the glorious Eccleston Square. Georgian House Hotel offers solo, double, and family rooms with a little something extra for wizard lovers. Some of the rooms are themed as Wizard Chambers and Enchanted Chambers and offer nice little extra touches like mini treasure hunts for kids, secret doors hidden behind bookcases, and a wizard-themed afternoon tea offering choux buns filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, a selection of colourful cakes, and plenty of tasty potions like butterscotch beer for parents (with alcohol) and kids (alcohol free) to drink. This is a great location if you want to be within walking distance of Wicked at the Apollo or catch a train from Victoria Station. This company also has another property in the area, a more basic 2-star called Bower House.
Tottenham Court Road : Chateau Denmark
Set over thirteen different Georgian houses along London’s rock and roll mecca, Denmark Street, Chateau Denmark has to be one of the most unusual hotels in this group. More like dimly lit, private apartments, the hotel’s spacious rooms are spread out throughout several different buildings (great for privacy) and come equipped with a booming sound system, leather flooring, and plenty of black marble tiling. Don't be surprised if your room has a pair of chainmail curtains, a leather-clad confession box converted into a wardrobe, and lots of black velvet throws with gold brocade trim. This stylish, five-star den of inequity, with your own personal butler and an exhausting range of room service, is not exactly giving off family vibes. Think honeymoon or an anniversary weekender— a rock and roll, bourbon-soaked trip to London’s musical heart! If you don’t want to navigate far from your base, you can just head up to the roof and enjoy dinner at the acclaimed Chinese restaurant Tattu. www.tattu.co.uk. Fancy going to a gig or a late-night drink? It’s all covered on this tiny street, with a 2000-seat venue HERE @ Outernet and a legendary London late-night bar, The Lower Third, all on your doorstep. www.thelowerthird.co.uk This is a hotel for the adventurous, night owl, rock n roll star.
For all additional tourist information: www.visitlondon.com