With its stylish interior design, top-notch food and beverage outlets and refined service, The Londoner aims to capture the best elements of the U.K. capital under its roof.
The new-build property is finally spreading its wings, with occupancy climbing from around the 15-20 per cent mark during its pandemic-era launch in September 2021 to over 90 per cent in May 2022, as the U.K. continues to welcome back international visitors in higher numbers.
The Londoner looks to combine the intimate ambiance of a boutique property with an extensive line-up of on-site amenities, as PAX learned during a three-day press trip to the property in June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Dubbed a “super boutique hotel,” the 16-storey property, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, is home to 350 rooms and suites, six restaurants and bars, a spa, as well as three levels of tech-forward meeting and event space.
The Londoner is part of Edwardian Hotels London, one of the U.K.’s largest privately-owned hotel groups, as well as a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, which represents 650 hotels, resorts, residences and hotel groups in 85 countries.
Guests can therefore take advantage of the latter brand’s “I Prefer” hotel rewards program when staying at The Londoner.
“Any hotel opening is challenging, particularly one of The Londoner’s scale and magnitude. Add in a global pandemic and the task becomes almost insurmountable. However, in some ways I think it was a bit of a gift,” said Charles Oak, hotel director for The Londoner.
“It made us really develop a laser focus. We had additional time to home in on the details and to ensure that we had the guest journey clearly mapped out and refined before even one guest had stepped through the doors.”
An urban resort
Set on the southwest corner of Leicester Square, The Londoner is described as an “urban resort.”
The property puts visitors within easy walking distance to the West End’s shopping, dining and theatre, as well as attractions like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, while also managing to feel secluded from the hustle-and-bustle of the city.
Among The Londoner’s most distinctive design features are its six subterranean levels, which house a spa and meeting areas.
At a depth of 30 metres, the underground space is touted as the deepest habitable commercial building in London and features smart lighting systems that create the illusion of natural light.
The hotel’s forward-thinking design extends to its guest rooms, which are laid out to maximize flow and space.
Touches like velvet accent furniture, Dyson hairdryers, Toto washlets and bath products by British perfumer Miller Harris add to the luxe vibe.
A 3D food printer
The hotel’s six dining options span from rooftop izakaya lounge 8 at The Londoner, where sweeping views of the city are paired with sparkling sake; to lobby bar the Stage, where a 3D food printer is used to create delicate desserts.
While most of the hotel’s restaurants are open to the public, the Residence is a trio of interconnected spaces reserved for hotel guests.
With free tea, coffee, soft drinks and antipasti, the Residence’s Drawing Room offers guests an inviting alternative to their own rooms as a space in which to work or relax.
The Whisky Room features an extensive collection of rare whiskies, including one of only 16 remaining bottles in the world of 1938 Macallan.
Next-level meetings & events
The Londoner was built with meetings and events in mind, with Oak describing the property’s showpiece ballroom as the “engine” of the hotel.
The 6,092 square-foot ballroom has already hosted events for top British brands like Vogue U.K., London Fashion Week and the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).
With business travel to the U.K. gradually rebounding, The Londoner is setting its sights on international meeting and event groups.
With space for up to 864 guests, the ballroom features a lengthy list of tech features, including a BOSE Showmax Stage Audio system – the same equipment used in London’s O2 Arena – as well as 4K projections systems and 5.5-metre electric screens.
The ballroom doesn’t sacrifice style in the name of functionality, however, with its tech elements integrated into its design. For example, much of the audiovisual equipment is hidden behind panelled cupboards lining the walls of the room.
“Other than being exquisitely designed, I think it’s The Londoner’s fully adaptable spaces which really sets them apart,” said Oak.
In addition to the ballroom, The Londoner features an open-concept meeting space called the Green Room, which can accommodate up to 150 guests, as well as seven adjoining meeting rooms, known as the Gallery. There are also two theatre-style screening rooms.
The meeting and event spaces embody the hotel’s modern, artistic aesthetic. Subtle references to the nearby theatre district, for example, are weaved through artwork found in the breakout rooms.
In total, the hotel’s three floors of meeting and event space can hold up to 1,560 people.
Each of the three floors has its own bar and kitchen, helping to ensure quick, fresh foodservice for event attendees.
“The Londoner can host grand, large-scale events for hundreds of people with all the technology one could wish for or host intimate and beautifully elegant dinners for small gatherings,” says Oak.
With international travel restrictions to the U.K. lifted in March 2022, recent data from VisitBritain suggests that arrivals from North America to the U.K. reached 78 per cent of 2019 levels in the week of May 15, 2022.
The World Travel and Tourism Council estimated a further two per cent bump in arrivals from Canada during the week of the official Jubilee festivities, which took place from June 2 to 5.
Various Jubilee celebrations and showcases will continue throughout the summer and fall, including the Queen’s Accession exhibition at Buckingham Palace, which runs until October.
The Londoner offered 30 days of Jubilee-themed programming from May 16 to June 12, which included royalty-themed drinks and dishes served at its restaurants, as well as a special Omorovicza Queen's Jubilee Facial available at the spa.
“London has never seen anything like The Londoner,” said Oak. “It is art, theatre, architecture, hospitality and much, much more – all under one roof.”