London’s Olympic-size hotel boom has resulted in the opening of approximately 10,000 new rooms in the last 18 months. First came the W, and then the Renaissance and finally The Four Seasons. But as the Games are about to start, we have seen a boom in the smaller-scale and very chi-chi, exclusive hotels. Leading the way is the 85-room Bulgari Hotel. The jewellery brand’s very first hotel in the UK has been designed by Antonio Citterio and has opened on one of Knightsbridge’s most prestigious streets, just along the way from the tourist-attraction that is Harrods. Its rooms are lined in silk, and the underground pool decked out in mosaics. We expect nothing short of swooning till we drop at this one.
The Dorset Square Hotel, based near Marylebone, is somewhat more traditional in its typically English stylings with original sash windows and old-fashioned washstands, whilst the The Ampersand Hotel, in South Kensington, which opens this month, is a perfect fit in terms of both structure and Victorian design with its esteemed neighbour, The Royal Albert Hall.
One of the more quirky hotels to open is the Klasina. A smartly refurbished Dutch barge that floats on the River Thames, guests sleep in what was once the captain’s cabin, and breakfast – a feast of organic kippers and haddock from East London’s famous Billingsgate market – is served in the old wheelhouse. It’s also possible to dine on deck, should the weather enable it, while surveying the superyachts that will no doubt be in town for the Olympics.
Bulgari Hotel, 171 Knightsbridge SW7 1DW, 020 7151 1010, www.bulgarihotels.com
The Dorset Square Hotel, 39-40 Dorset Square, Marylebone, NW1 6QN, 020 7723 7874, www.firmdalehotels.com
The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, SW7 3ER, 020 7589 5895, www.ampersandhotel.com
Klasina, Canary Wharf Docks, 020 7515 1372, www.klasina.com