First opening its gleaming doors in September 2021, The Londoner launched to much fanfare. Self-styled as "the world's first super boutique hotel", it featured a clutch of flashy trappings and five-star amenities designed to put The Londoner on the map as a new hospitality hotspot. The herculean, £500m efforts involved in transforming its hefty square footage over some 14 years had caught the attention of much of the capital's luxury set. Moreover, its bold choice of location also raised a few eyebrows - the hotel is positioned on none other than the Leicester Square. One year on, has this behemoth of a building stood up to the hype?
A Capital Stay at The Londoner
4th October 2022
Lauded as "the world's first super boutique hotel", we review one of the latest additions to the five-star luxury hospitality scene in the heart of Leicester Square
Determined to find out, my husband and I check in to The Londoner one Sunday afternoon in October. We are slightly dazed from the exertions of our wedding the day before, so having battled through the tourist hoards of Leicester Square, the perfumed enclave of the lobby comes as a welcome relief. Clusters of guests sit around small tables at The Stage bar, sipping glasses of champagne and listening to a pianist tinkling away in the corner, whilst a grand glass-enclosed fire flickers merrily.
Part of the Preferred Hotels group, the hotel offers 350 rooms and suites spread over 16 storeys. We are shown to a Junior Suite (from £931 per night) on the fifth floor. Though slightly on the bijou size for a suite, it is perfectly comfortable, and the view over London from floor-to-ceiling windows - best enjoyed through the set of opera glasses placed thoughtfully on the table - takes some beating.
The contemporary yet welcoming design - by design studio Yabu Pushelberg - comes together with marble accents, velveteen seating and wood panelled walls. The blissful king-sized bed comes with a handcrafted mattress and 400 thread-count linen, whilst the well-stocked mini bar includes conveniently pre-mixed cocktails from the Avante Garde spirits company. The bathroom is charming, all midnight-blue tiles and movie-star vanity mirror, complete with toiletries courtesy of Miller Harris.
However, it's not long before we don our robes and slippers and make our way down to The Retreat, The Londoner's subterranean wellness offering. Alongside a gym and his 'n' hers salon, there is a sleek spa space that ranks amongst some of the best on Central London's hotel scene. A swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room all feature, but the cabanas make the experience all the more luxurious - if staying over the weekend, be sure to reserve one through reception to avoid disappointment.
Those fresh from a treatment may wish to sample a vitality shot or beauty juice from the Refuel Clinic, located next to the spa. Each item on its superfood and drinks offering is infused with scientifically analysed supplements designed to harmonise the body inside and out.
However, this all sounds far too healthy for a weekend evening, so we dry off and head upstairs in search of a cocktail. The hotel has several bars to choose from, including izakaya rooftop offering 8 at The Londoner, and chi-chi pub Joshua's Tavern. As we're still in a celebratory mood, we settle for the glitz and glamour of The Stage.
The joys of champagne are indulged all day long here, from fizz-focused breakfasts to elevated afternoon teas. I'm not normally one for a champagne cocktail, finding them too sweet, but here they are done exceptionally well. Served alongside a gold-leaf-topped nibble of cherry jelly, the Bordeaux Manhattan is concocted with bourbon, Earl Grey tea, champagne syrup and notes of chocolate and cherry - what's not to like?
Next, to supper. As the Londoner's all-day restaurant, Whitcomb's offers refined French Mediterranean-inspired fare in smart yet relaxed surroundings. We tuck into tuna tartare, baked fromage, and a very good rib-eye. The Lobster Thermidor is also exceedingly indulgent, served with Cognac, Dijon mustard and black truffle. Even if you don't think you have room for pud, you'll regret not ordering the warm, sugary beignets accompanied by a trio of sauces.
Rather than enjoying a nightcap at Whitcomb's, head back through the lobby and up the stairs to The Residence, the hotel's slickly appointed, guests-only co-working space. From there, a tiny, hidden whisky bar can be accessed through a green door. Here you can sample wide array of premium drams, in a plush, undeniably exclusive pocket of the building.
For all its glitter and scale, it is this kind of attention to small detail that The Londoner pulls off so well.
A stay at The Londoner starts at £400 per night. For more details, visit thelondoner.com