InterContinental London - The O2
The star attraction of the new 453 room InterContinental, which opened its doors in January, is the 3,100sqm Arora Ballroom - one of the largest pillar-free ballrooms in Europe.
Able to accommodate up to 3,000 guests in a space only slightly smaller than a football pitch, the ballroom has attracted the eye of event planners thanks to its flexibility: it can move between different configurations, with simultaneous events of 1,550-plus people possible under the same roof.
Situated adjacent to the O2 on Greenwich peninsula, an area earmarked for extensive redevelopment over the coming years, the hotel also boasts a further 19 meeting rooms able to accommodate a total of 500 delegates.
Along with 394 standard rooms and 59 luxury rooms including a 183sqm presidential suite, the property’s 18-storey tower houses two restaurants, two bars, a private lounge and a spa. Guests should head to the Eighteen Sky Bar for high-rise views and a sip, or two, of the hotel’s bespoke gin.
The DoubleTree by Hilton London ExCeL
A ride away across the Thames from the O2 on the Emirates Air Line cable car, Hilton has opened a 260 room DoubleTree property featuring 31 deluxe rooms and 35 suites.
Enjoying views of the Royal Victoria Dock, the hotel is conveniently located for business travellers thanks to its proximity to London ExCeL, Canary Wharf and London City Airport.
With that in mind, the hotel has a complimentary 24-hour business centre and two meeting spaces for more than 90 delegates. Other facilities include a fitness centre, lounge bar and 112-seat restaurant.
Canary Riverside Plaza
In nearby Canary Wharf, the Canary Riverside Plaza opened its doors in June after the former Four Seasons Canary Wharf rebranded as an independent five-star property.
A two-storey, 230sqm ballroom features three function rooms for smaller groups, while other facilities include two restaurants, an open-air terrace, a private tennis court and 24-hour in-room dining.
The hotel makes the most of its riverside location: delegates can spend their downtime doing laps in an indoor pool that runs alongside the Thames, while its 142 rooms over eight floors include river view and penthouse suites.
CitizenM Hotel Tower of London
Rooms with a view are a plenty this year. The jewel in the crown of the capital’s new 370 room CitizenM, which opened in July opposite the landmark Tower of London, is the cloudM sky bar and its wraparound balcony offering panoramic views of the city.
The hotel’s eight top floor meeting spaces, kitted out with free wifi, blackboards and whiteboard walls, also come with capital views thanks to private balconies.
Guests staying at the boutique brand’s new flagship hotel in London can use the self check-in terminal typical of CitizenM properties. But all the modern decor has some vintage touches: cricket bats are among the more quirky items adorning communal spaces.
Hyatt Place London Heathrow/Hayes
Not all this year’s launch activity was out east, however. May saw the opening of the first Hyatt Place-branded hotel in the UK, six miles from London’s Heathrow airport.
The 170 room property boasts 192sqm of meeting space across four high-tech function rooms, free wifi, two restaurants, a coffee and cocktail bar and a 24-hour gym.
Last month (November), Hyatt Hotels announced plans to launch a second UK hotel - and second serving Heathrow - under the Hyatt Place brand in 2017. Like its predecessor, the new 350 room property will cater for guests with a 24-hour gym and a coffee and cocktail bar, while seven flexible meeting and function spaces will accommodate up to 100 delegates.
Chewton Glen to open cookery school in March
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