Hotel - February 2010 | Pool - August 2010
200 Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, London, SE17UT
An imposing presence on London's South Bank, close to Waterloo and with views of Big Ben, the 16-storey Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is a vast hotel - with 1,021 rooms - which occupies a prominent, landmark location. On the roundabout site of the former offices of the Inner London Education Authority, the impressive £350 million project includes a pillar-free ballroom, 32 meeting rooms and two executive lounges but perhaps most striking is its V-shaped atrium spanning 16 floors. After ten years of planning, attention has clearly been paid to detail resulting in good gadgets - light switches by the bed are marked 'Mood, Full, Read and Off' - and thoughtful extras like power socket suitable for UK, American and European plugs. Decorated in burnt orange and browns, rooms are more stylish and spacious than your average London business hotel. Guests can already choose from five restaurants and bars and can also look forward to the opening of the luxury spa, complete with a 15-metre swimming pool, due to launch by end of August 2010.
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354 Queenstown Road, Battersea, London, SW8 4AE
Tube: Sloane Square Station
Situated at the end of Chelsea Bridge, opposite Battersea Park - with its zoo, boating lake and Pumphouse Gallery - the Pestana Chelsea Bridge is the first UK hotel from the Portuguese Pestana Hotels and Resorts Group. The new purpose-built South London hotel is one of a number of new hotels to open along the river path in Battersea - the eco friendly Rafayel on the Left Bank has had rave reviews since it launched at the end of 2009. Equally well received, the Pestana makes the most of its riverside views, from Battersea Power Station to the London Eye, and offers 216 well appointed, surprisingly spacious rooms, a small SPA and Lifestyle centre. In addition there's an international restaurant, bar and coffee shop on site, extensive underground parking as well as meeting rooms for 10 to 500 delegates. One word of warning about transport: it's not exactly near a tube station and although Battersea Park Railway Station is the nearest station you're better off getting the bus to Sloane Square and picking up a tube from there.
Town Hall Hotel
Highlighted as, "one of the most exciting hotel openings of recent years in London" by Conde Nast Traveller, the former Town Hall building in Bethnal Green has been beautifully restored by thirty-something hotelier Loh Lik Peng into a unique designer hotel. The fusion of old and new means that many original period features remain, with the front half of the town hall dating back to Edwardian times - with lots of baroque detail - married to a 1930s extension in matching Portland stone. It's a fascinating architectural mix. In the 1930s wing original features include the sweeping staircase, the banqueting Bethnal Hall - made up of four interconnected rooms separated by vertically sliding walls - and the art-deco council chamber which has been kept largely as it was and can be hired for weddings and private functions. Meanwhile, in the Edwardian section, opened in 1901, the mayor's parlour with its oak panelling, ornate plasterwork and stained glass has been transformed into an immensely grand bedroom suite fit for rock royalty - it even has its own private dining area. Here the stained glass features coats of arms and the beggar of Bethnal Green - the local legend of Henry de Montford who disguised himself as a beggar. The old Town Hall is certainly rich in history but the bedrooms are bang up to date with modern bathrooms, fully fitted kitchens, air conditioning, free WiFi and flat screen TVs. Meanwhile, in the basement, there's a swimming pool - flooded with natural daylight - and high tech gym. Bethnal Green is known for its avant garde art scene and the Town Hall has taken advantage of this, commissioning local artists to create art works for the entrance, its Viajante restaurant and bar area where chandeliers by Parisian designer Tzuri Gueta hang over you like an art installation. Hip, boutique and unique, the Town Hall is a very special place to stay.
26 new hotel openings planned in 2010
Budget hotel chain Travelodge has 26 new hotel openings planned in 2010 and aims to be the biggest hotel brand in London by the 2012 Olympics, adding seven new hotels to its current 32 in the city. Their new London hotels are spread across town from Bank to Bethnal Green, Stratford to Twickenham with branches in Bromley, Ealing and two in Harrow. The aggressive expansion sees the Waterloo branch open on 25th June 2010 while a revamp of their existing Covent Garden hotel, due to launch in January 2011, extends the existing Drury Lane hotel by 249 rooms - making it the largest hotel of Travelodge's 380 hotels. Later that year, in autumn 2011, we see the opening of a Travelodge in the centre of Twickenham. Close to Twickenham Stadium, the 111-bed, 10-storey hotel will be in a prime location for business and leisure travellers - and especially handy for rugby fans when England hosts the international Rugby World Cup in 2015.
12 September 2010
Lombard Road, London, SW11 3RP
Tube: Fulham Broadway Station
Luxury hotel company von Essen has chosen a commanding riverside site in Battersea for their latest new-build five star hotel. Situated adjacent to the London Heliport, the Hotel Verta gets its name - as well as some aviation-inspired interior design ideas - from its heliport neighbour, dubbed 'London's vertical gateway' by the von Essen group. The project's architect and von Essen's in-house creative designer Andrew Onraet has lofty ambitions and cites The Wolseley and the film Sky Captain of Tomorrow as sources of inspiration. "What Terence Conran did for Butlers' Wharf, we want to do for Battersea," he says. Starting with a blank canvas Onraet has put together a hotel with 70 rooms, a subterranean spa, all-day dining restaurant and mezzanine level champagne bar. And, being a new-build, the hotel has some up-to-the minute technology - eco-friendly fridges, free WiFi network around the hotel, lights preset to go off when the guest is not in the room, that kind of thing. Best known for their country house hotels this new city project is a big leap for von Essen but one that promises to add something special to the London hotel scene.
23 December 2010
Pepys Street, City, London, EC3N 2NU
The sister hotel to the Mint Hotel Westminster, the Mint Hotel Tower of London opened at the tail end of 2012 making it the seventh City Inn hotel in the UK with further hotels in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. The latest project, immediately adjacent to Fenchurch Street Railway Station in the heart of the historic City of London, is a new-build 583-room hotel near the Tower of London - an ambitious project costing about £150 million. The purpose-built hotel is firmly aimed at the four-star corporate market so you get high tech gadgets including an iMac multi media entertainment system in each room which enables free video conferencing, as well as VIP private meeting and dining rooms with outdoor terraces. There's a fitness suite, fast check-in kiosks, hot desk areas and several eating and drinking options. These range from the City Cafe restaurant, Trinity Lounge street level lounge bar and the SkyLounge roof top bar complete with barbeque area and offering spectacular views of the Tower Of London, The Gherkin and the River Thames. Built on the site of the mediaeval Crutched Friars Monastery, Samuel Pepys House, and an 18th century Naval College, the Mint Hotel may well be a new build but it occupies a site with a rich history.