London's luxury hotel scene is doing just fine, with plenty of top-tier new venues set to open in the coming years. Historic buildings are under renovation, and and are adding top elements to attract VIPs who have already been there and tried that. Even cooler? Neighboring buildings are being converted into private suites for maximum privacy. Here are just a few notable hotels to expect soon:
A new hotel in the Shoreditch neighborhood is scheduled to break ground this quarter. Michael Achenbaum, the man behind New York-based Gansevoort Hotel Group, has partnered with Douglaston Development, SUSD and Hondo Enterprises to develop a hotel at 45 Curtain Road that is tentatively set to open in 2015. We hear the $98-million project will have 120 guestrooms, a restaurant, a bi-level bar, rooftop swimming pool and lounge, 24-hour fitness center, more than 6,000 square feet of meeting and event space and a tech incubator. Good to know: Design DMU will handle the interior stylings while Dexter Moren Associates will be behind the architecture.
Another major upcoming opening this year is the Mondrian London (below), which will take over the Sea Containers building on the South Bank of the Thames. The first Mondrian property in Europe, Mondrian London will have 359 guest rooms and suites, many with outdoor space and river views. Other perks will include rooftop lounge and terrace; a signature agua Spa with six treatment suites, relaxation space and a manicure and pedicure room; and a screening room. The hotel will be within walking distance of the Tate Modern, Festival Hall, Borough Market, the National and Globe Theatres, the London Eye, London Aquarium and the London Dungeon.
For a boutique option, there's the upcoming Beaumont in Mayfair (pictured below). We hear the team behind it (Jeremy King and Chris Corbin) is also behind some of the top eateries in town, including The Wolseley. Occupying an Art Deco building overlooking Brown Hart Gardens just a quick walk from Hyde Park, the Beaumont is slated to open this fall. It will have 73 guest rooms (including a terraced Presidential Suite), eight one-bedroom Deluxe Suites, and 13 Junior Suites. Facilities will be comprised of a Corbin & King restaurant, an American-style bar, a 24-hour gym, Turkish hammam and spa rooms, and a boardroom for meetings.
Close to Tower Bridge, The Shard has risen as one of the highest structures in London, with unobstructed views over the city. The 34th to 52nd floors of the building will be home to Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London (below), the brand's first property in the UK. It will have 202 guestrooms and suites, each one unique but all with floor-to-ceiling windows for maximum views. (Anything less would be a wasted opportunity.) Good to know: We hear the 17 suites include personal butler service, and the three Signature Suites—including Suite on 37, Suite on 38 and the Shangri-La Suite—have uninterrupted views across London’s landmarks. Good to know: An infinity pool will be built on the 52nd floor. The hotel is just across the Thames from the Tower of London.
History buffs will want to keep an eye on this hotel as it takes shape: A Grade II-listed Edwardian building will be turned into a new 92,000-square-foot five-star hotel. That's exciting in and of itself, but this isn't just any Edwardian building: This is 3-5 Great Scotland Yard (below), once the location of the original Scotland Yard Police Station and later offices for the Ministry of Defence (not Defense. We're in London, after all!). In a statement, Don O’ Sullivan, managing director of Galliard Group, said that he wants to create a London hotel on par with the Mercer or the Chateau Marmont. We think he'll get his wish: When this new property is complete in June 2016, the £100 million hotel will have 235 bedrooms and suites including a VIP suite in an adjoining Edwardian office building at No. 1 Scotland Yard. (We hear the multi-story suite will have a private entrance.) The hotel will have a winter garden lounge, signature restaurant, cocktail bar, several lounges, a library, a 120-seat conference room/ballroom, meeting rooms and function/private dining rooms.
And finally, London may soon get its largest-ever townhouse hotel suite: The Kensington Hotel (part of the Doyle Collection) will open a new VIP suite this year that can be configured to include as many as three bedrooms. This 1,920-square-foot space will be a top pick not just for families and groups, but for people seeking privacy. It has been developed in a neighboring building that used to be a Barclays Bank. The overall space includes a living room, dressing area and a separate dining room when configured as a three-bedroom suite. The spaces are linked through a series of French doors onto a first-floor balcony. (Bonus perks include a custom-designed cocktail cabinet and a 1930s-style Murano chandelier.)
Keep an eye on LuxuryTravelAdvisor.com for other buzz about London's top hotels—and be sure to look beyond London, too, for some great hidden gems. After all, when Wimbledon champion Andy Murray wanted to open a hotel, he looked to Scotland. Cromlix (below), a renovated Victorian mansion, is due to open in April about three miles from the champ's hometown of Dunblane. A good pick for those seeking their own Downton Abbey (who isn't?), the hotel will have just 10 rooms and five suites, as well as classic drawing rooms, a library and a dedicated whisky room. (Naturally, it will have a tennis court and practice wall for budding players.)