If you’ve been itching to hop across the pond, now is your chance. The UK has finally eased restrictions for vaccinated U.S. travelers and the late summer-early fall brings some of the best weather conditions to the Big Smoke. Be prepared for an action-packed schedule from the world’s most sought after sporting and cultural events to award winning restaurant and hotel re-openings, there are endless options for planning an upcoming trip to London. Here are over a dozen more reasons to book a flight from the world’s best martinis to a new apartment hotel option with a gin distillery, it’s a great time to be alive and experience this vibrant city.
Above: DUKES Bar with Maurizio Schiavone
Classic with a Twist
Who doesn’t love a picnic in the park? Especially when it’s loaded with Perrier Jouet and delicacies packed by DUKES LONDON. With tourism returning, the iconic St.James/Mayfair area hotel has reinstated “Picnic in the Park” which comes with a plush rug to lay-out your wicker basket of British picnic essentials which will await you in either Green Park or St. James’s Park – used as ‘garden ‘areas’ since they are both a stone’s throw from the hotel.
With a country house esthetic in the heart of the city, DUKES is steeped in Victorian history with elegant antique furnishings, the Great British Restaurant (GBR) and the world-famous martinis and
personalized cart service at DUKES Bar.
Secret Smoking Garden
Overlooking Hyde Park Corner and adjacent to the grounds of Buckingham Palace, The Lanesborough might be one of the city’s most iconic hotels but it also holds an in-the-know Garden Room. This indoor/outdoor heated terrace just launched in summer 2021. This isn’t just a verdant spot to smoke but a refuge where you can delve into monthly scheduled master classes with the in-house team of hotel cigar sommeliers. This includes Cuban and pre-Castro cigars including the Trinidad Vigia, Partagas D No.4, Bolivar Royal Corona and more. The Garden Room also serves cocktails and light supper for those wanting to extend their time at Knightsbridge’s best-kept secret.
Above: The Londoner, The Retreat Pool | Photo by Andrew Beasley
Coming Soon to Leicester Square
Opening in September 2021, The Londoner is the world’s first “super boutique” hotel. Designed by Yabu Pushelberg and leading hotel group Edwardian Hotels London, the property is set for bustling Leicester Square.
The concept is a to keep a boutique vibe amid the staggering ‘urban resort’ spanning across 16 stories, with 350 guest rooms, suites and a tower penthouse with panoramic views. The two private screening rooms are just the tip of the entertainment options there is also a mix of six concept eateries – including bars and a tavern, al fresco dining on the ground floor and a contemporary Japanese lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit. There is also a wellness center and an impressive arts and culture program is in the works.
Above: Pan Pacific London External Plaza | Photo by Millerhare
Bishopsgate Plaza Development
The first European outpost from Pan Pacific Hotels Group, is slated to open in September 2021. The 43-story bronze tower is located in Bishopsgate Plaza opposite Liverpool Street Station and close to the boutiques of Spitalfields and artsy area of Shoreditch. The private Sky Residence apartments are part of the hotel development, along with the 144-year-old Devonshire House featuring designer shops, a destination restaurant and a contemporary cocktail bar designed by Tom Dixon. A landscaped public plaza seamlessly connects these two cultural hubs together, making it a 24-hour destination for meeting, living, working and discovering.
Another stunning design by Yabu Pushelberg features 237 guestrooms including 43 suites. And a floor dedicated to wellness with a large infinity pool, a gong therapy room strategically planted botanicals and a technologically advanced gym.
Above: NoMad London Atrium photo by Simon Upton
Covent Garden Setting
Adjacent to the iconic Royal Opera House, NoMad London debuted in Spring of 2021 in a historical 19th-century building in the Covent Garden neighborhood, marking the brand’s first international foray. The property is a partnership between Sydell Group and investment firm BTC UK, who transformed the former Bow Street Magistrates Court and Police Station into a 91-room hotel by interior design studio Roman and Williams. Drawing on inspiration from the artistic, cultural connection between London and New York, the hotel features the NoMad restaurant, Side Hustle bar, Library, and the brand’s first-ever subterranean craft cocktail bar and lounge, Common Decency that will debut later in the year.
Above: Berkeley Bar London
A Trio of London Legends
No visit to a town where royalty lives would be complete without popping into the Maybourne Hotel Grouptrifecta of 5-star grand London hospitality and lifestyle hotels. And, since they are all in the same Mayfair-Knightsbridge center proximity, you can even do a culinary crawl. Start mid-day with an afternoon high tea at Claridge’s, (that is, if you’re not having a bite at Davies and Brook by awarding-winning Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park), then head for a three-Michelin-star meal at The Chef’s Table by Hélène Darroze at The Connaught(do book the Chef’ Table in front of the kitchen), and end the night with one of the chic Blue Bar at The Berkeley. Of course, you don’t want to miss the Prêt-à-Portea catwalk inspired cakes with Versace to Anna Wintour motifs, so you might need to start at The Berkley and end with a nightcap at the Claridge’s bar with revered mixologist Nathan McCarley-O’Neill shaking up a cocktail or two. You have choices to make but you can’t go wrong either way.
Above: Kingsland Locke | Photo by Ed Dabney
Eclectic Property Meets Distillery
Recently launched in May of 2021, Kingsland Locke houses 124 of Locke’s signature studio apartments, as well as an on-site microbrewery and gin distillery, all-day restaurant, complimentary co-working space, workout studio and coffee shop.
Think of this as a boutique lifestyle hotel with vibrant peachy pinks, set against a distressed backdrop. KRAFT Dalston, a cool new food and drink venture formed between German Kraft Brewery, Jim and Tonic Distillery and Le Bab will house a gin distillery and microbrewery on-site reducing the outlet’s CO2 footprint by 75% by eliminating any unnecessary packaging and deliveries to the site.
Above: STAY Apartments in Camden
Chic Apartment Stays in Camden
If you’re seeking an a more personalized home option, STAY offers design-led and tech-savvy apartments for longer-term guests who want to call Hawley Wharf in Camden home – even temporarily.
When city space is at a premium, the residences are almost double the size of a typical hotel room The 169 apartments have one, two and three-bed options, fully fitted kitchen and living areas. The intelligent and efficient use of space is based on the understanding that the bedroom isn’t just a place of sleep but a space to live, share and connect. Just 15 minutes from Kings Cross, STAY provides a new cultural hub and place to crash for the business and creative communities.
Above: Ormer at Flemings Mayfair
Americans Hopping Across the Pond
London’s Flemings Mayfair luxury boutique hotel has waited for this day for some time – to welcome back their loyal American guests. To that end, they are easing the burden for their guests with a Guaranteed US dollar package that sets the nightly rate in US dollars, as well as provides airport transportation (in a Mercedes E class), daily English breakfast and a $75 property credit to be used at the award-winning Order Mayfair by Sofian Msetfi, who recently took the top toque spot after stints at numerous Michelin-starred kitchens.
Guests of Flemings will notice new additions to the property situated directly across from Green Park including a new world-class skincare clinic, in partnership with renowned practitioner and facialist, Pietro Simone. No better way to get rid of that jet lag than a relaxing and rejuvenating skincare ritual. Furthering the focus on health & wellness, Flemings took the time over quarantine to renovate their fitness center as well.
Above: Richstone Templeton grounds
Historic Residential Rental
One of the most coveted historic private residences available for select private rentals in South West London, Richstone Collection’s Templeton House is just a few minutes’ walk from the famous 2,500-acre Richmond Park. This is a great option if you want to be on the outskirts of central London for a more bucolic vibe yet still very close to some of the top draws in the city. The property will organize entry to London’s most recognized and sought-after events of the year which include Ham Polo Club to Wimbledon and London Fashion Week. The motto here is to celebrate life, reconnect with their friends and families, and experience the vibrant city of London.
British Country Estate
For a truly stunning 15th-century manor house surrounded by a fantasy parkland, Ellenborough Park is Gloucestershire’s only 5-star hotel. The peaceful 90-acred country estate is located just a few miles outside Cheltenham and right on the edge of the Cotswolds. Nina Campbell designed the 61 luxury guest rooms the complement the original stone flags, wooden beams and massive open fireplaces that speak to its rich history. Guests can take afternoon tea in the Great Hall, choose from classic English fare in The Restaurant, or dine alfresco in the Cedar Pavillion Tent and the Horse Box Bistro dining carriages – fittingly reflecting the equestrian influence of neighboring Cheltenham.
The hotel has a small Elemis spa and an outside pool and a Boot Room which guests can borrow a wax coat and a pair of Dubarry’s in order to explore the nearby rolling countryside. Dog-friendly rooms make it the perfect countryside retreat for the entire family.