Once again London is open to all and sundry and while we’ve all been locked down around the world, here in this prestigious city new ventures have been preparing to launch or relaunch with a vengeance and with some staggering results. Adam Jacot de Boinod gets to stay and take a look at the latest luxury hotels to open in the capital.


Once again London is open to all and sundry and while we’ve all been locked down around the world, here in this prestigious city new ventures have been preparing to launch or relaunch with a vengeance and with some staggering results. Adam Jacot de Boinod gets to stay and take a look at the latest luxury hotels to open in the capital.



The Standard is part of an American chain. This London hotel has a young, trendy, hip, creative and metropolitan crowd. It’s in a building that’s truly an explosive mix and contrast of textures and colours. The exterior is imposing and designed with a 70s ‘eggbox-style’ architecture. It is perfectly positioned for those exploring other parts of Europe as it’s bang opposite the cross-channel trains of Eurostar as well as the most idiosyncratic example of Victorian High Gothic grandeur that is the building to the terminus of St. Pancras.

What a place of curiosity and intrigue with a library with modern shelf categories for books such as ‘order’ and ‘chaos’, ‘hope’ and ‘darkness’ next to a sealed room for the disc jockey and nearby the drag bingo evening that’s among the programme of fun events.

Of the 266 rooms on ten floors, there’s a healthy selection ranging from Cosy Core (windowless) rooms to terraced suites with outdoor bathtubs at the top with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. It’s all about layers of differing creations. The décor is a wonderful medley of offerings both modern and retro. No space is left without some creative imput. The elements all come into play: air, fire, earth and water. Maximal not minimal.

I ate at the Double Standard restaurant, spread across two large rooms and three areas of alfresco dining with greenery, pit fires and heaters. It felt full of surprises and totally engaged me. On the tenth and top floor is Decimo, a Spanish-Mexican restaurant offering a fine-dining tapas menu. What a stunning room and lots of ambient jazz music. There’s even a groovy outdoor lift to the roof terrace with its lovely views of the city. It’s fun and funky.



The Guardsman is tucked away down a quiet street and is a treasured little hideaway. It has the unmistakably and quintessentially air of a British private members’ club, being boutique and suggesting exclusivity. Perfect for one-on-one experiences. It’s named after the soldiers who protect the Queen at Buckingham Palace, literally just up the street, with the additional local attractions of The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey all within walking distance and minutes from the connecting train to Gatwick Airport.

Along with its 53 rooms are six residences. Capitalising on the daylight, the rooms have herringbone parquet flooring, there are carefully selected books and modern features – such as the TV converting into a mirror – and very evident is the creative and artistic use of space.

The reception extends into the drawing room and beyond is a ‘gentleman’s’ library. The décor features bespoke furniture with one sofa being an exact reproduction of the one used by Jackie Kennedy in the White House and with reworked Persian rugs.

Downstairs, the dining room has less than a dozen tables. This space is characterised by dark wenge wood and glass, with deep olive green and gold repeated in the plants. A state-of-the-art lit-up circular staircase offsets the linear bronze anodised decorative metal grille that uses randomly patterned bars and is the hotel’s signature icon. The bar is funky with green tiles and a great music selection. It’s smart, glamorous and, in a word, characterful. Refreshingly, there’s no set times for service which is what we all actually want as guests. It’s rich, relaxing and luxurious and a nurturing and fun place to kickback after a day out sightseeing.



A mere stone’s throw from London’s West End, this hotel is all you can want after perhaps an afternoon’s shopping on nearby Oxford Street. For it’s a sanctuary and ‘a place where East and West exist in perfect harmony’ as the hotel declares. Indeed, as I walked in I felt an immediate and huge sense of calm. A stillness that comes from the careful planning of light and space; those zen proportions within its minimal setting.

The name Akatoki means sunrise and references the sense of awakening, of relaxation and of rejuvenation. All 82 rooms and suites have beds that are plush, and luxurious rain showers. Throughout are oversized wicker lanterns, ‘fusuma’ sliding doors with dark wenge wood and screened wardrobes.

The Malt lounge and bar offers Japanese whiskies and homegrown sake where I felt an overall sense of sunset, of a cabin-like den in which night-time overrides the day. Next door the Tokii restaurant is a delightfully long room with a centrepiece of flowers. It has an open kitchen and sushi bar with slate-coloured seats and tiles. There’s deliberately no artwork in order to draw attention to the activity of eating from the irregular organic-shaped glaze-finished plates and dishes. The precision in presentation is exquisite and the service telepathic.

And the food is fabulous. It has a fusion cuisine and I thoroughly enjoyed lotus root crisps, edamame, miso soup, shrimp tempura, kinoko mushrooms and a great variety of sashimi. The hot stone wagyu beef is totally fat-free and the yuzu and raspberry posset with pistachio shortbread was the perfect end to a perfect evening. For everything is exquisite down to the most minimal of details.



Less intimate than The Guardsman and contrastingly vast in its foyer and in a buzzing district is Middle Eight. Unimposing down the street but face on it has an impressive grandeur of its own that sets the tone for the treasure that’s inside. It’s bang in the middle of London’s West End, on the edge of Covent Garden, the heart of the city’s Theatreland and a perfect base from which to catch a show or two.

As I entered the golden entrance of the lofty lobby I sensed a welcoming warmth for along a curvaceous wall, there was a wonderful line of lit-up fires like beckoning beacons. Here it’s all buttons, knobs and swipe cards. Indeed everything is literally at one’s fingertips. But of all the electronic state-of-the-art gadgets and gizmos it’s the lighting that’s the icing on the cake, the highlight if you like. A stunning lit-up staircase of glinting and gleaming golden rails and wooden steps took me down to QT, a speakeasy on the lower ground floor that from this autumn will be offering jazz, open-mike sessions and theatre. It has an uber-cool ambiance with an industrial chic mixture of terracotta and aqua set among concrete structures and marble tables.

Some of the rooms and suites have names that jump out at you like Radar and Downtown. All in keeping with the trendy vibe. My suite was slick and tasteful with a stand-alone bath and decked in wenge wood with live walls of plants vividly suggesting an indoors/outdoors feel. It was all thoroughly thought through. I enjoyed Sycamore, the open-planned Italian restaurant where I ate extremely well, sitting in my teal seat amid the spacious setting of marble tables. Middle Eight is both eclectic and funky.



Managed by Hilton and one of four of their luxury brand ‘LXR’, The Biltmore is located in London’s prestigious Grosvenor Square, which has strong connections with America, being home to her former embassy and the Square’s gardens host statues of both Franklin D Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. The area is called Mayfair and it’s the most expensive on the English version of the Monopoly game, consisting of lovely Georgian architecture and a short walk to the shops of Oxford Street, Regent Street and fashionable Bond Street next to which is Savile Row where the English gentlemen have their suits made.
The hotel entrance has a floral display with an abundant amount of flowers as its centrepiece emphatically letting me know what I was in store for.

Out of the 300+ rooms and suites, mine had floral panelling, a large Chinoiserie mirror, wenge wood and curvaceous furnishings topped by a gorgeous emerald-green velvet sofa. I luxuriated in the Italian marble bathroom with its freestanding, egg-shaped bath and Toto loo.

I ate well from the confidently small menu of modern European cuisine at Café Biltmore Restaurant and Terrace. Sitting outside, beneath powerful heaters in this cool and glamorous restaurant, I watched cloches, crumbers and piping-hot bread be served with a decided theatricality. It’s opposite the ballroom. Where else in Mayfair can you be surrounded by plants and unaffected by defiling pigeons or noisy traffic? As Samuel Johnson, the famous lexicographer and man-about-town, was famed for declaring: “So, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford.” And I can vouch for that staying here in London, in Mayfair and at The Biltmore.



How many hotels can you name with the reception on the 15th floor? Treehouse is the latest brand from SH Hotels, the group behind 1 Hotels in the US, a brand with an eco message of sustainability with double-filtered water refill stations on every floor and woodland themes with birds and trees to give it a treehouse feel. Bang opposite the newly modernised BBC, it’s perfectly located for shopping (with Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets nearby being the heart of London’s top department stores which include Liberty and Selfridges). The 95 rooms across six floors have enormous windows beneath bare concrete plastered ceilings. There are ornaments such as a piggy bank, cuckoo clock, Magic-8 ball, gas lamp and Paddington Bear. I recommend a south- or east-facing room for the best views of London.

Just opening on the ground floor is the Pizzeria Mozza introduced by Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton of Netflix Chef’s Table fame while upstairs you’re in for a treat at its Mexican restaurant called Madera. The food comes on wooden plates and metal slates; rocks being the signature dish served over hot lava stones. Here the stunning décor allows for golden sunsets and reflecting shadows over the industrial ceilings and wooden bark pillars, while foliage drapes down and wicker lanterns illuminate, the bar. The music is cool and ambient. The tone is one of golden and copper autumn leaf colours set against real and lushous foliage full of vitality. The silver birch tree wallpaper is classy and effective on the accent wall. The Nest is a rooftop bar with its stunning panoramic views across the city. It’s uber-cool and funky with outdoors on either side and is deeply atmospheric and perfect for sundowners. Treehouse is playful and fun with a trendy and youthful vibe.



Representing Pan Pacific’s first hotel in Europe, it just opened this September in the heart of London’s Financial District, bang opposite Liverpool Street station and near the trendy neighbourhood of Shoreditch and the major tourist attractions of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.

The foyer is imposing and stylish with its organic-shaped staircase looping its way up to the restaurant on the second floor. It leads onto the Orchid Lounge which makes great use of its lights offset by banana leaves. In this ambiance, I felt far removed from the hurly-burly of London’s busy business life. The lounge led seamlessly onto the Ginger Lily Bar, an exclusive nook darkened both in daytime and at night and offset only by its outdoor terrace. My room was decked out in beige colours with wooden veneer panelling and was equipped with all that’s necessary as well as luxurious, calmed by the harmonious and timeless tones of this light, airy spacious domain. Everything came, like presents, in smart wooden boxes: silk eye blinds, chocolates and even the TV remote control, and the bathroom sported excellent Diptique products.

Dining at the Straits Kitchen restaurant is a restful experience. Here I picked from a charming and well-illustrated menu showcasing the melting pot of cuisines represented in multicultural Singapore. As for the breakfast, I was spoilt for choice from a buffet that rivals the finest of patisseries. I went for a swim in the wonderful long infinity pool overlooking the stunning Classical façade of the St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church. For on this 4th floor, devoted entirely to wellness with its treatment rooms and relaxation pods, there’s everything a travelling business person needs to relax. And thanks too must go to the ever-attentive and obliging staff who offer their sincere Singaporean hospitality within this brand-new contemporary London design.