With a surge in London hotel openings and renovations over the past 12 months, the arrival of the Corinthia Hotel London may have slipped under your radar. With no grand launch party, it opened its doors on Whitehall Place in April. The closest five-star hotel to Westminster – and perfectly situated next to the river and near Trafalgar Square – the hotel is already a firm favourite with politicians, embassies and visiting delegations.
Dating back to 1885, the grand Victorian building spent 50 years as the prestigious Hôtel Métropole before it was taken over by the government in 1936 and used as Ministry of Defence offices. Since 2008, the building has undergone a meticulous restoration for its re-launch as Corinthia Hotel London – the vast building has 294 rooms, including 43 suites. My Executive Room was as large as a suite in most five-star hotels, with luxurious bathroom facilities and an extraordinarily comfortable bed. Other features included a seating area and desk for those needing to work. The decor was chic and fairly masculine with just the right balance to appeal to traditionalists and admirers of the most contemporary hotels.
The hotel has an excellent restaurant, The Northall, overseen by three times Michelin starred chef Garry Hollihead, and serves delicious modern British food from local suppliers. The David Collins designed bar, Bassoon, is a 1920s-inspired Art Deco music room with a seven metre-long piano forming one of London’s most unusual bar surfaces. Expertly put together, the cocktail menu includes the wonderfully sweet-and-sour Bubblegum Martini (it tastes better than it sounds) and the Oriental Mule, which consists of sake, fresh lemongrass, ginger, lime, and ginger beer, served in an ice-cold pewter mug.
The hotel’s flexible check out time allows guests to really enjoy the impressive facilities. The hotel’s spa – the largest in London – offers a fully integrated wellness approach alongside a luxury experience. Aside from the extensive range of age-defying treatments on offer, it’s a magnificent space, spread over four floors and decorated in Italian marble with champagne and black lacquer panels.
The hotel is worth a trip for the spa alone. But with the hotel’s signature suites – including the Sir Winston Churchill, the Lady Hamilton and the Royal suites – to be completed by the end of the year, it looks like there is still much more to come from the Corinthia.