While 2012 was a banner year for the English with luxury hotel openings (Belgraves, Bulgari), the Summer Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee drawing visitors from around the world, we think 2013 will offer up its own share of excitement. Not only will a new heir to the throne be born (congrats, Will and Kate), several buzz-worthy London hotels will debut as well. Here’s a peek at five worth visiting in the new year.
Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard, London
Housed on floors 34 to 52 in The Shard, one of Europe’s tallest buildings, the newest hotel from the Shangri-La brand will have a handful of high-end drinking and dining options, an indoor infinity-edge pool and fitness center, and luxe guest rooms with signature beds that use patented body-contouring technology. And the skyline views from the towering glass building? Simply stunning.
Hotel impresario Ian Schrager teamed up with Marriott International a few years ago to create Edition Hotels; the London, er, edition, will open in 2013 and is the second property for the boutique brand (the first debuted in Istanbul in 2011). The hotel takes over the 177-year-old Berners Hotel building in London’s Fitzrovia district and will likely embody the sophisticated lifestyle design scheme for which Schrager is known.
Set to open its doors this week on Dec. 14, The Wellesley in Knightsbridge will have just 36 guest rooms in what was once a 1920s townhouse. Rooms will be uniquely decorated and have large marble bathrooms, but we’re more excited about the dining and entertainment options here, including The Cigar Lounge and Terrace (it will have a heated outdoor terrace), the Crystal Bar (with whiskies and cognac featured prominently) and the clubby Jazz Room, which will host live performances.
Having played host to intellectuals and artists like Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde for more than a century, this former dining (and imbibing) hot spot could hardly be called new. But last week, Café Royal reopened in central London as a luxury hotel with 159 rooms. It features some original design details, rooms with private butlers and restored dining rooms that evoke the gilded glamour of years past. An impressive wellness center and spa is coming in 2013.
This bold new-build hotel in South Shoreditch will be a beacon of contemporary style in a city where old is heralded and renovation is often favored over new construction. Scheduled to open in 2013, the 18-story, 350-room luxury hotel will have a modern vibe with a top-floor restaurant, a spa and a gallery arts center.
Photos Courtesy of The Wellesley Hotel London Hotel and Amit Geron