London remains a hotbed of development, with one of the largest pipelines in Europe with 79 projects and 14,078 rooms, according to Lodging Econometrics’ Q3 2023 results. Further, occupancy hit 83.2 percent in October, according to CoStar, a global provider of real estate data, analytics, and news.
Indeed, several global brands are making their debuts in London. This fall saw the opening of the 1 Hotel Mayfair. The first European property for the nature-inspired brand, it boasts a design by the London office of G.A Group in collaboration with the in-house team at SH Hotels & Resorts.
Also new in town: two venerable brands with their roots in Asia. The 190-room Peninsula London—a palazzo-inspired new build by London-based Hopkins Architects—is situated on a highly desirable corner of Hyde Park and features interiors by Peter Marino Architects, while the long-awaited 120-room Raffles London at the OWO is an adaptive reuse of the historic 19th-century Old War Office building, with interiors by the late Thierry Despont that bring together wood paneling and chandeliers with the rich masculinity of the government building’s bones and Whitehall location.
Additionally, Paris-based Francois-Joseph Graf’s design for the 30-room One Sloane, a Costes brothers conversion of a late 19th-century mansion on the Cadogan estate, nods to the arts and crafts heritage of its Chelsea neighborhood. Not far from the property is the Chelsea Townhouse. Overseen by architect Gary Kellett, the restoration of the former Draycott Hotel is now a 36-room boutique operated by Iconic Luxury Hotels that spans three 19th-century red-brick townhouses with a modern aesthetic.
In Notting Hill, the Ruby Zoe Hotel & Bar opened this summer, a collaboration with Squire & Partners and the brand’s in-house designer Matthew Balon. The second Ruby hotel to open in London, this six-story, 173-room property is resplendent in bright colors, nodding to the area’s history and Caribbean heritage.
Further out, more highly anticipated brands from major brands will be coming online, including the 203-room Park Hyatt London River Thames, part of the One Nine Elms development, and an urban hotel from Six Senses that rehabs the iconic former Whiteley department store by AvroKO into the Whiteley London. The unveiling of the Emory, courtesy of the Maybourne Hotel Group, which owns London’s Claridge’s, Connaught, and Berkeley hotels, will debut next spring. A new-build from the global firm RSHP, the 60-room hotel will feature a design by a roster of top-tier designers, including Alexandra Champalimaud, André Fu, Pierre Yves Rochon, Rémi Tessier, and Patricia Urquiola.
Here’s a closer look at four other projects.
Rochon is also behind a major rehab for the Dorchester that attempts to restore the Hyde Park hotel’s original DNA, which, he says, “had faded to a whisper. The owners wanted to chart a course back to the Dorchester’s roots, but with a compass that pointed to the British style of today.”
At the core of the firm’s revitalization—including a revamp of the iconic Promenade; a restoration of Liberace’s mirrored piano and its setting, the Artists’ Bar; and freshening the 241 rooms—is a “judicious use of color,” Rochon continues. For inspiration, the design team turned to a palette of pale leafy green, rosy pink, and heather blue, pulled from the prototypical English garden. A standout is the marble tile and black and gold pillars of the Promenade that leads to the glowing Lalique crystal bar in the Artists’ Bar. Vesper Bar, by Martin Brudnizki, looks to the Roaring ’20s embodied by a palladium leaf ceiling, sienna marble bar, timber marquetry panels, and a series of Cecil Beaton drawings.
Meanwhile, in the West End, Broadwick Soho represents Brudnizki’s first project in his adopted hometown. To house the 57 guestrooms and the hotel’s F&B venues, London architects ICA Studio preserved the façade of an older building then added an extension. Inspired by the “gritty glamour” of Soho, Brudnizki aimed for a “Studio 54 meets your grandmother’s townhouse vibe,” he says. “To capture an eclectic look across the hotel, we mixed a wide variation of materials, colors, and textures that felt significant to this design theme, our muses, and these chapters in time,” he adds.
Guestrooms are adorned in pastel hues of sky blue and dusty pink, while bathrooms take a moodier approach with navy tiles and chrome fixtures. The public spaces double as an elegant funhouse of ornamentation, offering floral and animal prints mixed with shades of blue, green, and red. Further, the Flute Bar features a mirrored mosaic ceiling with contrasting cork panels on the walls, while the Nook’s coffered tent ceiling is upholstered in a rich, exotic fabric with geometric accents. “The finishes, although very different, complement each other wonderfully and bring the spaces to life,” says Brudnizki.
Another independent hotel, the BoTree in Marylebone, is touted as the first property from eco-conscious Place III Hotels (it has two more London hotels in its pipeline). The 199-key new build from London firm EPR Architects (which also worked on the OWO conversion) opened this fall with interiors by Amsterdam-based Concrete. Natural tones, light oak wood, lush foliage, and green materials—like the vegan leather for headboards and the eucalyptus Tencel for bedding—are used throughout.
“The BoTree is designed to emphasize craftsmanship, consciousness of nature, and the unique floral-infused lifestyle of Marylebone,” says project architect Melanie Knüwer, who singles out the lobby’s handmade terrazzo flooring. “Another favorite feature is the custom headboard in every room,” she adds. “It was inspired by the vibrant flower displays outside Marylebone’s specialty shops, and its intricate floral motifs were created with a weaving jacquard technique that provides a 3D-like effect and a beautiful tactile quality.”
After debuting in Knightsbridge nearly 25 years ago in a 19th-century red brick stunner, Mandarin Oriental is opening its second property this spring. This time, the brand has gone thoroughly modern with architecture from RSHP and guestroom and corridor design by locally based Studio Indigo for its 50-room Hanover Square locale. “We found inspiration from the verticality of the RSHP building’s design,” says creative director Mike Fisher. “We created depth and opulence with materials such as fine timbers, marbles, fabrics, bespoke lighting, and furniture.”
While hotel’s public spaces (including its F&B options and its spa), designed by Tokyo-based Curiosity, favor darker and more mysterious tones and materials such as bronze accents and mesh veiling, other spaces take on a more glamorous tone. “The juxtaposition of veined and colored marble alongside textured burl wood creates a palpable sense of luxury,” Fisher says, “while the handpainted silk de Gournay wallpaper is a true testament to craftsmanship that’s also acts as a beautiful art piece.”