One of the most eagerly anticipated hotels of modern times finally opened its 34th floor doors in May, in the 72-storey Shard, western Europe's tallest building. Guests take a high-speed lift to the sky lobby, adorned with Asian and British art and surrounding a sweeping grand staircase flanked by double floor-to-ceiling windows. Three river-facing event spaces are all housed on the 'ground floor' - comprising Yi and Li for ten to 35 guests each and the ballroom, Ren, which can take 140, or 200 for a reception when opened out into the public meeting area. The infinity pool area on the 52nd floor can be exclusively hired for 20 people. Dining and drinking takes place in Gong, London's highest bar; signature restaurant Ting; and Lang, a ground-floor artisan deli. Due to the 306m-high Shard's unique twisting form, not one of the 202 rooms or suites are the same as another, but all will offer floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms and the latest technology.
The first Mondrian property outside the US opened to the public in September, taking up residence in Sea Containers House on London's South Bank. Morgans Hotel Group – of Sandersons and St Martins Lane fame – has collaberated with designer Tom Dixon to offer '1920s cruise ship glamour' to guests who have the choice of 359 rooms or suites, many directly overlooking the Thames. Six modern event spaces include a nautical-themed, 56-seat private cinema, four meetings studios and Dandelyan, an opulent cocktail bar with space for 250 reception guests. Mondrian London also offers the riverside Sea Containers restaurant with outdoor seating, Agua spa, 24-hour gym and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the capital.
Ham Yard Hotel
Firmdale Hotels' eighth London property, Ham Yard Hotel, opened on a three quarter-acre site in the heart of Soho in June. The 91-room hotel is set around a tree-filled pedestrian thoroughfare - connecting Great Windmill Street to Denman Street - which is home to 13 specialist stores and a restaurant and bar with outdoor dining and drinking areas. The property features a drawing room, library, orangery, rooftop garden and the Soholistic Spa for incentives, while event spaces include a 190-seat theatre and The Croc, an original 1950s bowling alley.
Mayfair’s hotel stock got a further boost in September with the opening of restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s first hotel, The Beaumont. Promising the elegance and personalised hospitality of pre-war Mayfair, there are 73 rooms, including 23 suites, along with the 100-seat Colony Grill Room, a 16-seat private dining room, two bars, a boardroom, and a gym and spa with a hammam.
Launched in July and permanently moored at the capital’s Royal Victoria Dock – adjacent to partner venue ExCel London – the five-storey, 136-room Sunborn London operates as a luxury hotel. A range of event spaces on board include a conference room for 250 theatre-style, a 50-seat auditorium, a boardroom for 24 and The Wheel House, which can host 14 and also offers an outdoor deck area. The floating hotel features most of the amenities expected from its land-lubbing equivalent, with an 80-seat fine-dining restaurant, two bars, a gym and a spa, along with outdoor deck space boasting views of Canary Wharf and other Docklands sights. Sunborn is just two miles from London City Airport and an anchor’s throw from the DLR and Emirates cable car to the O2.
Dorsett Shepherds Bush
The Asian hotel brand’s first European property opened in a former Grade II-listed cinema in West London in November. Behind the historic façade, design features include a glass roof and Chinese-inspired décor. There are 317 modern rooms and brasserie-style and Chinese fine-dining restaurants. Ideal for meetings and incentives, there is also a spa with four treatment rooms and three meeting rooms for eight, ten and 14 delegates.
Conrad London St James
Located in London's royal and political heartland Conrad's flagship property in the capital offers 256 rooms including the one-bedroom Conrad Suite, which features its own private elevator, a restaurant, two bars and a tea lounge. The hotel also features eight meeting spaces, with a maximum capacity for 300 delegates, theatre style. The 270sqm Whitehall meeting space can be split up into four separate spaces, each hosting group sizes from ten to 75.
Z Hotels’ third central London property opened on Orange Street in Piccadilly Circus in June. Although its premium location means delegates are within walking distance of top London attractions, rooms start at just £85 a night. The hotel’s 112 rooms boast 40in HD TVs, power showers and luxury bed linen. The ground-floor Z Café features freshly made food and delegates can enjoy complimentary wine and cheese every evening.