Earlier this month, VisitBritain held the ExploreGB conference virtually. In general, the outlook for summer and beyond is very optimistic: Suppliers are preparing and eagerly awaiting international tourists and are thrilled about all the interest in England from the hit Netflix series “Bridgerton.” They are also excited about new hotels in London and around the U.K.; to which, more than 30 new properties have opened in 2020 or will open by the end of 2021.
“The U.K. Government has recently published its ‘roadmap’ out of restrictions, setting out the timeframes and process for restarting tourism including international travel and for businesses in England to start planning towards reopening. The vaccination rollout has been very successful and the target for all adults in England to have received a vaccine by the end of July is encouraging for the industry,” said chairman of the British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain) Sir Patrick McLoughlin.
“In the meantime, we have a great deal to work towards,” added VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe. “Our research has shown that there is strong, pent-up demand for international travel. Working with the global travel trade, we are keeping the U.K. front-of-mind as a competitive, leading destination, inspiring future travel and broadening travel itineraries to encourage visitors to explore more and contribute to local economies. As soon as the time is right, we’ll be ready to launch campaigns in our major inbound markets, promoting all the wonderful experiences in Britain and competing for international visitors who are worth billions to our economy.”
As for London, which has suffered the most without the international leisure and business traveler, new openings have happened in fits and starts, but, at the moment hotels in England are slated to reopen on May 17, The Independent reports, which should coincide with the opening of borders to international travel. A few new properties we are excited about:
NoMad London – London, England (May 25, 2021) – With its first presence outside the United States, NoMad has transformed this 19th century building into a 91-bedroom hotel with many of the original architectural features of the former Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station preserved and incorporated into the design. The hotel will open with the first-ever NoMad Lounge, as well as The Side Hustle, a restaurant offering refined pub fare.
The Londoner – London, England (May 28, 2021) – Edwardian Hotels London’s first purpose-built hotel, The Londoner is being billed as “the world’s first super boutique hotel.” The landmark development near Leicester Square embraces the drama and heritage of its West End setting, while offering five-star facilities and a pioneering approach to sustainable luxury design. The ambiance is intended to have a boutique feel, yet the scale is staggering, with 16 stories, 350 guestrooms (including 35 suites and a tower penthouse each with cityscape views), six concept eateries, a state-of-the-art ballroom, and a subterranean gym and spa. The two private screening rooms are an especially nice touch, given the hotel’s theatrical neighborhood
Pan Pacific – London, England (2021) – Pan Pacific Hotels Group will make its first foray into Europe with the new landmark tower at One Bishopsgate Plaza, just across from Liverpool Street train station. The new Pan Pacific London, which we’ve had our eyes on for some time, will have 237 guestrooms and suites designed by Yabu Pushelberg and will also feature the Square Mile’s largest hotel ballroom, an 18-meter infinity pool with cityscape views, and an abundance of landscaped outdoor space.
Outside of London, we are looking forward to the openings of:
The Newt in Somerset – Somerset, England (Spring 2021) – South African mogul Koos Bekker and his interior designer wife Karen Roos opened their second country-luxe hotel, The Newt, in Britain’s bucolic West Country last year and it quickly became a favorite. Like their first location, Babylonstoren in Cape Town, The Newt has an onsite farm. The property is adding 17 guestrooms June 1, 2021.
Graduate Hotels – Cambridge and Oxford (Spring 2021) – Graduate Hotels is set to open its first locations outside of the U.S. and bring a taste of schoolhouse chic to the university cities of Cambridge and Oxford. Inspired by the culture and creativity of Cambridge University, the 148-room Graduate Cambridge will be located on the banks of the tranquil River Cam and will be home to a stylish restaurant in addition to Poindexter, the hotel group’s cozy café and dining chain. The 151-room Graduate Oxford will incorporate bold colors and textures inspired by Oxford’s history and artistry and will provide an ideal base from which to discover the “City of Dreaming Spires.”
THE PIG in the South Downs – West Sussex, England (Summer 2021) – As the seventh property from this luxury hotel group, The PIG will open in South Downs in a lodge outside Madehurst Village. With its 20 acres, the group will continue to source the majority of its livestock and produce from its own farming efforts, with the rest coming from no further than another 25 miles. Tip: The South of England continues to receive praise and accolades for its growing wine region, as the soil is very similar to that of France and perfect for sparkling wine. Cheers to that!
Eden Project Hotel – Cornwall, England (2022) – One of the most highly anticipated hotels will be housed on-site in the world’s largest indoor garden. The hotel will have 109 rooms—all with the highest standards of accessibility, energy-efficiency and sustainability. Note: This hotel's opening will be in 2022.
As for Scotland…
100 Princes Street – Edinburgh, Scotland (2021) – Red Carnation Hotel Group, a beloved London-based boutique hotel group, will bring its first property to Scotland, offering up beautiful and interrupted views of Edinburgh Castle, as well as unparalleled service in its 20 rooms. We can’t wait for this one.
Gleneagles Townhouse – Edinburgh, Scotland (Autumn 2021) – The iconic Gleneagles sporting and country estate will open its first city location in Edinburgh this autumn. Situated in chic St. Andrew Square, Gleneagles Townhouse will feature 33 unique bedrooms, a vibrant all-day restaurant, and two bars including a rooftop terrace offering spectacular views over the city.
W Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland (2022) – Another first! W Edinburgh will mark the brand’s debut in Scotland. The hotel will offer 214 stylish guestrooms, while the rooftop will have a destination bar and outdoor terrace, offering guests and locals panoramic views of the historic skyline. Note: Like Eden Project Hotel, the W Edinburgh will actually open in 2022.