Business Traveller has had a preview look at the Corinthia Hotel London, which is to open on April 16 following a £300 million remodel of a listed Victorian building, formerly the Metropole.
The five-star deluxe property, the Malta-based brand’s first in London, is located on Whitehall Place, close to Embankment tube station and enjoying an enviable position overlooking the city and river.
Built in 1885, the triangular-shaped property was originally a hotel, the Metropole, and then MOD offices, and many of the original features have been restored.
The lobby lounge boasts one of the hotel’s most spectacular features – a domed atrium that floods the area with natural light, from which a huge chandelier made from 1,001 Baccarat crystal baubles hangs. The lounge will serve a light menu and afternoon tea, and is encircled on one side with double-height glass doors that open on to a maple-tree lined courtyard.
The original Metropole hotel housed 600 rooms, but the building has now been redesigned to accommodate 294 rooms on seven floors, including 43 suites. The guestrooms range from 30 sqm to 470 sqm for the Royal Suite and are furnished in a soft, neutral palette, with a choice of king, queen or twin beds.
Key features include free wifi, a media hub with international sockets, a minibar stocked with Harrods products (Harrods’ first-ever hotel shop can be found in the lobby), a safe, Nespresso machine and a Loewe 32-inch flatscreen TV. iPods can also be synched up with the TV via the media hub.
Half the rooms have a walk-in wardrobe and there is a choice of a city view or a Juliet balcony overlooking the inner courtyard. Bathrooms are finished in Italian marble from Carrara and feature a rainshower and separate tub. All but the two entry-level room tiers have Espa bath products and TVs built into the baths.
The upper two floors house the hotel’s most opulent rooms – seven signature suites named after famous figures connected to the area, such as Sir Winston Churchill, Frederick Simms and Lady Hamilton. Each is laid out across two floors, mezzanine-style, with sweeping staircases and terraces. The Royal suite, with a prime position in the building’s turret, offers panoramic views of the river, Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral.
There are several function rooms on the ground floor including the Ballroom, which has its own entrance off Whitehall Place. The largest of the function rooms, it can accommodate 180 for a sit-down meal or up to 400 for a drinks reception. It is the hotel’s most dramatic public space, with high ceilings, huge columns and original cornicing.
There are two restaurants, the Northall serving British cuisine, and the Massimo restaurant and oyster bar. Head chef Garry Hollihead serves locally sourced produce at the Northall, which is split up into a bar, restaurant and private dining area. It leads through to a huge breakfast room and mezzanine where there are a further six private meeting rooms.
The second restaurant is headed up by Italian chef Massimo Riccoli and will specialise in fish, a theme that has infiltrated David Collins’ room design, which features a mosaic floor, white Italian marble and dark oak.
Also designed by Collins is the Bassoon bar, featuring cubist paintings hung on the shagreen and mirror-panelled wall, and a piano built into the glossy black bar.
The hotel will also have a four-floor, 3,300 sqm Espa spa, due to open at the end of May. It will have its own cafe, a nine-metre pool, an all-glass sauna, 17 treatment rooms and a Daniel Galvin hair salon.
Rates start from £400 a night for an entry level room, up to £15,000 a night for the Royal suite.
Corinthia also has properties in St Petersburg, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Malta.
The hotel is one of a raft of properties opening or being refurbished in London ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. W Hotels opened its first London property in Leicester Square on February 14, while the Four Seasons London at Park Lane reopened in January after a two-year refurbishment. The Savoy unveiled its £220 million revamp late last year, and St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster will reopen following renovations in mid-April.
The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London is currently in its soft-opening phase, and the boutique Eccleston Square hotel will follow suit in Pimlico later this year. Bulgari Hotels will also open its first London property in Knightsbridge towards the end of the year.
The Hyatt Regency London – the Churchill is to undergo a “multimillion-pound” refurbishment of all guestrooms over the next few months, and Guoman’s Charing Cross hotel is nearing the completion of its project to add a new Executive Wing.
Visit corinthia.com for more information.
Report by Liat Clark