Reputed across the globe for their decadence, elegance and excellent service, these luxury hotels have raised the bar for international hospitality. The Culture Trip rounds up the most extravagant and luxury hotels in London.
This luxury hotel is by no means a secret and needs little introduction. Wedged between the glitzy hangouts of Bond Street, Green Park, Covent Garden and Buckingham Palace, Claridges is housed in a glorious location in one of London’s most renowned and coveted areas, Mayfair. Dating back to 1898, the Claridges brand is synonymous with the finest attention to detail and is one of London’s most celebrated Art Deco dwellings. Luxuriate in rooms crafted by top designers such as Linley and Diane von Furstenberg, tailored to the royals. For the ultimate London toff experience, the incredibly ornate Royal Suite comes with full personal butler service, a grand piano that once belonged to Richard D’Oyly Carte, original fine carved wood Edwardian furniture and a sweeping view over Central London through a fine set of spectacular French windows. Residing head Chef at the hotel’s restaurant is England’s only three-starred Michelin chef — Gordon Ramsay, who serves up the best in European cuisine. Don’t miss the extraordinary high tea and if you fancy working up a sweat, the Olympus Health & Fitness Suite has a range of ultra-modern gym facilities to get your glutes into shape, with the help of a personal trainer of course.
The Dorchester Hotel
No form of extravagance is left untouched at this hotel to the stars. Opened in 1931, it is one of London’s quirkiest institutions, overlooking the lush sprawl of Hyde Park and within walking distance of the West End’s retailers and theatres. No two rooms here are the same, they are all unique and distinct in style, and all are supremely decadent. If you are in search of the most spellbinding views over the grand expanse of the park, go for one of the four roof garden suites. The ultra swanky Oliver Messel Suite is named after its famed designer, a magnet and legend of London theatre. Opulent gold leaf mirrors, bright florals, rich wooden panels, luxury linens and antique style furniture are found throughout the suite along with a rather jaw dropping marble clad bathroom. With Guerlain welcome amenities, complete with the traditional pot of tea and quintessentially British gin & tonic, it’s no wonder this suite has played host to the likes of Noel Coward, Sylvester Stallone and Bob Hope. The Dorchester also brags four high-class eateries, including the fabulous Promenade Lounge where you can tuck into a deliciously rich afternoon tea. For pampering, look to the spa for a variety of wellness treatments.
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences
The location — an equidistant totter from Buckingham Palace and Old Bond Street — tells you quite a bit about the people you’ll find at these sleek modern and fully serviced luxury apartments in the middle of St James’s. Once the home of lords and ladies, three palatial townhouses overlook a private courtyard and house 86 supremely contemporary suites kitted out in the latest designer apparel, each boasting a unique experience to match your individual taste and mood. 51 Buckingham Gate also has three restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Quilon Restaurant and Bar. You’ll find a rather grand downstairs spa boasting ‘made to measure’ holistic treatments, oiled in lavish golds and rough-hewn woods. The highlight of this sybaritic experience has to be the fantastically themed afternoon tea parties. Traditional and reinvented, choose from the regal offerings of a Royal Afternoon Tea — complete with scones following a recipe the Queen personally sent to the US President Dwight Eisenhower — to the downright luxurious 24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea, a signature staple at Taj 51, featuring the prestigious Luxor Pure Gold 24K Brut champagne, with flakes of 24K gold specks floating about in dozens of glistening glass champs flutes.
The Ritz London
A hallmark of style and elegance, the Ritz is more than just a hotel, it’s an institution. The hotel’s splendid location just off Green Park overlooks the chic grandeur of central Mayfair, home to the likes of fashion and jewellery powerhouses Cartier, Tiffany, Chanel and Alexander McQueen. Opened to the public in 1906, the Ritz was re-vamped after a multi-million pound restoration in 1995. Boasting luxurious rooms furnished with rich handmade fabrics, 24-carat gold leaf expertly restored furniture (in keeping with the original Louis XVI style) and a world famous afternoon tea fit for a Queen or two, the beauty of this five-star hotel is the detail. As a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, its most sought-after chamber is the Prince of Wales Suite, a fortress in absolute lavishness. Two en-suite bathrooms, an elegant private dining room, a vast drawing room, upscale modern kitchen and a grand entrance hall are serviced by a dedicated 24-hour butler. The most iconic landmark housed at the Ritz is the delectable Palm Court. Offering a characteristically British experience, guests can enjoy a theatrical Afternoon tea experience, filled with glamour and accompanied by the sounds of a resident pianist playing a soundtrack fitting to the occasion — fresh scones, finger cut sandwiches, bubbling champagnes, rich strawberry preserves and Devonshire clotted cream included.
St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel
The magical neo-gothic grandeur of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel has been stunning visitors since its grand reopening in 2011. Within walking distance of the British Library, Regent’s Park, bohemian Bloomsbury and St Pancras’ Eurostar terminal, the hotel has 245 suites, all with spacious en-suites. Designed to a high standard in an airy, contemporary and minimalist style, its new extension, Barlow House, has 38 Chamber Suites decorated in a pallet approved by English Heritage. All these chambers, including the stately Royal Suite, come with their individual quirks: soaring Victorian-style windows, vaulted ceilings, and some with views over the Harry Potter-esque station concourse. The most intriguing Instagram worthy features here is the immaculately restored, cantilevered staircase along with the Gothic-windowed Booking Office restaurant, ideal for devouring a gourmet English breakfast before catching a train home. For that extra bit of extravagance, the original kidney-shaped entrance hall has become the Gilbert Scott, an all-British brasserie by celebrated chef, Marcus Wareing.
Chic in every way imaginable, this superior luxury London hotel is perched proudly at the top of the trend-setting Regent Street, has had many lives. Opened in 1865 and most recently known as the Langham Hilton, it has been the home of socialite Wallis Simpson, Napoleon and the BBC over the last century. Re-vamped by Langham Hotels International, the hotel has 427 rooms and suites, a classy Chinese-inspired Chuan spa, as well as a fine selection of gourmet restaurants. The David Collins-designed Artesian bar — which dates back to the hotel’s Victorian heyday — effortlessly combines chinoiserie and Victoriana, modernised with timber chandeliers, imitation rattlesnake-leather flooring and resin table tops, decorated with a lilac-butterfly motif. Renowned for its attention to opulence, the Langham also houses one of the most expensive suites in London; the spacious 236sq meter Infinity Suite. Decorated in rich shades of purple, chocolate and gold, the prestigious suite is the work of the celebrated designers at RPW design, the Ritz-Carlton and Gleneagles. Featuring no less that two bathrooms, two bedrooms and two butlers, the suite also comes with specially commissioned works of contemporary art, which adorn its pristine walls.
45 Park Lane
The opulent Art Deco 45 Park Lane, originally designed by famed Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius, is a monument to ritzy 1930s style and class. Transformed by renowned New York-based designer Thierry Despont, the hotel is well known for its striking metal-clad finned exterior on Mayfair’s leafy Park Lane. Part of the Dorchester collection of hotels, inside guests can take advantage of some of the best and largest Hyde Park facing rooms in town. Decorated in fresh natural tones and furnished with demure shades of wood, suede and leather, the fabulous and richly decorated walls are hung with works by exclusive contemporary British artists. A double-height ground floor houses Wolfgang Puck’s modern American steak restaurant CUT where you can choose from the widest range of beef in the city; if you aren’t a fan of red meat, the restaurant menu has an equally formidable selection of seafood.
Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard London
This one’s a bit special. Located on the 34-52nd floors of London’s iconic shard, you’re guaranteed both the height of luxury and service, and also some pretty spectacular views. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, this stunning luxury London hotel is perfectly placed. From the floor to ceiling windows, you’ll see that the city of London is just a short hop across the river and the River Thames flows beneath your dazzled gaze. Everything you need is there between the glorious glass walls, from the Chinese Teahouse Ting to the stylish Gong cocktail bar on level 52. This floor also boasts one of the highest infinity pools in the country where those who aren’t afraid of heights can enjoy a morning dip overlooking the amazing London Skyline.
Famous throughout the world, the Savoy embraces its Edwardian and Art Deco heritage in style like no other. 38 ravishing new Edwardian-style River suites have dizzying views over the murky Thames, with landmarks such as Canary Wharf to the Palace of Westminster in sight. From the faultless doormen to the tech savvy concierges and classy butlers, the service here is impeccable. Other treats here include the Art Deco Beaufort Bar — a low-lit, club-like space sprinkled with a decadent 1930s ambience, draped in black and gold — as well as the revamped Savoy Grill, headed by the legendary Gordon Ramsay and a previous hangout of Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra. Tea, handmade pastries and designer artisan chocolates can be bought at the Savoy Tea, an elegant little boutique. The River restaurant, with its leopard-print carpet, is great for views of the London skyline and tea can be enjoyed under a new glass dome at the Edwardian-style Thames Foyer. Hanky Panky and White Lady cocktails can be polished off at the iconic American Bar and for something straight out of Alice in Wonderland, the exquisite Lancaster Ballroom is a great excuse for a little dressing up.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Two words: sheer alchemy. The Mandarin is set in every toff’s dream, the trendy Knightsbridge, so you can have a champagne breakfast at Harrods and shop at Harvey Nicks before hitting the on-trend spa. The 110-minute Signature Spa Therapy uses traditional Chinese medicine methods to figure out your feng from your shui (water, fire, alignment to earth, and so on), followed by a long and sensual massage — worth the £240 you handed over at the desk earlier. The hydrotherapy pool is worth visiting, or simply munch on the cleansing fruits in the relaxation area. Finish off with afternoon tea in this very sleek, Zen spa.