The Londoner is a hotel that has been under construction for over a decade. Finally opened in September 2021 in the heart of London’s upscale Soho district, the property has 350 rooms and six dining options. It advertises itself as a ‘super boutique hotel’, which at first looks like a marketing gimmick, but in practice it actually fits. It feels somehow intimate and comfortable despite its rather oversized footprint.
As I walked up to the main entrance – supervised by two quintessential British-looking doormen in purple polka-dot coats with matching top hats – I was immediately struck by the understated grandeur of the lobby. High ceilings with metal and wood construction above combine with gold trim and velvet furniture below to imbue the place with the overall feeling that many important and notable people will walk through these doors at some point. . The walls and floors are decorated with artwork and knickknacks, but nothing is too cluttered, a portrayal of tasteful modern luxury.
Check-in ended in the comfort of an easy chair as I sipped tea like a good British boy. The person who greeted me laughed and said ‘Let me tell you we absolutely love your last name here’ to which I replied that I had never been to London. Looking around, I was struck by the interest of all the guests. Not necessarily hot or cool or influential, just interesting. A wonderful amalgamation of people from various backgrounds who all seemed to fit into this beautiful space.
Design director Krishma Singh told me the lobby had “a nod to the West End theater district,” which makes sense given the number of theaters spitting out within a distance of the hotel. She added that “the rolling curtains and the lobby bar are meant to resemble the stage, and the concealed front desk and concierge are meant to feel like backstage.”
Located in Leicester Square, the hotel is about as central as it gets, with easy access to many other desirable areas of London. I have done a lot of the tube and have also walked to the landmarks that everyone will want to see if this is their first time in the city: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Hyde Park. The National Gallery is literally next door.
But other than what to do outside the hotel, there is just as much to do inside.
The Londoner offers eight different room classes (five suites, including the two-story Tower Penthouse, and three king room styles). I stayed in a Capital Suite, which included a long dining table, comfortable sofa, and a well-appointed bar cart. I even had a second bathroom that overlooked a good part of the city, including The Eye and the Palace of Westminster. I have a selfie with the view, but I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate to share in this room. Staff frequently left snacks in the room, and the plush king-size bed was positively Goldilocksian, with soft linens and puffy pillows. I got into the habit of unpacking my luggage when staying somewhere for more than a few days – very mature – and the closets did the job. One touch I found particularly charming was that they provided canned rather than bottled water, as aluminum is endlessly (or almost) recyclable, while plastic is not. .
The gem of the room was the master bathroom with beautiful enameled sinks for him and her. A whirlpool tub and large walk-in shower provide varied bathing options, and a state-of-the-art Toto heated toilet warms your buns while you do your business. I’m not a very particular groomer, but even I found myself wanting to spend more time in the bathroom than usual.
The dining room
While London’s food scene is diverse and endless and you should explore it while you’re in the city, you won’t get bored with the dining options on site either. In total, there are six places – very distinctive – to eat and drink at will within the hotel grounds.
by Whitcomb, a French version of Mediterranean cuisine, is the property’s main restaurant. It’s a low-key, upbeat restaurant with a fairly large menu. Snails are a staple, even if, like me, you don’t like snails. They’re soaked in butter and garlic so much that you won’t realize you’re eating a slimy land mollusc. For a starter, I had the sole, which was crispy and flaky, and one of my favorite things I’ve eaten in London. You will also have breakfast there (included) and the dish is plentiful and impressive.
On the roof is the Japanese lounge Izakaya, 8 at the Londoner, which takes its name from the fact that it is on the eighth and top floor of the hotel. The menu consists of decadent Japanese dishes like Wagyu in a truffle ponzu sauce and lobster tempura. You’ll also find a robust cocktail menu and plenty of sake options. 8 at The Londoner has three different dining areas: a more traditional restaurant, a dark, low lounge with a terrace offering panoramic views of the city, and the open-air Shima Garden, which offers a unique cocktail program and small bites under the London sky. .
The Londoner is also home to Joshua’s Tavern, a cozy British pub with snacks, draft beers and 58 different kinds of gin. They really go wild on G&T options, with innovative combinations that cover a variety of flavor profiles. Hotel manager Charles Oak tells me the tavern is the cheapest place to grab a pint in all of Leicester Square because they wanted to “make the pub affordable for locals and guests alike.” You can’t be a neighborhood destination if you price people. Two other sites include Refuel at the spa, where you can get juices and healthy snacks, and The scene, located in the lobby and offering a bar, snacks and a traditional afternoon tea menu. As the name suggests, they also frequently have artists performing in the area.
Finally there is what we call The House, a floor of the hotel reserved for guests 24 hours a day. And when I say client only, I mean client only: even if you are staying there, you cannot bring a friend who is not also staying at the hotel. This floor is made up of three distinct areas: a Y-shaped bar, a lounge / diner with sumptuous furnishings designed to resemble a modern English living room, and a clandestine bar-style whiskey room with over 50 rare bottles and different exotic. In the residence you will get free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks as well as menus of drinks and meals to purchase. The Whiskey Room is really the highlight here – it’s just a few tables and is accompanied by a whiskey expert to guide you through the experience you want, whether it’s just advice. over a drink or a full flight tasting experience. We did the latter and were pretty shocked at the ending, so to speak.
The hotel spa has a large white marble swimming pool that will make you think you are in a high end Turkish bath. Lounge chairs and cabanas surround the pool, and a soft UV light warms the space, making you forget you’re several stories underground. The spa itself offers a robust menu of possible treatments, all administered by highly knowledgeable practitioners. There is also an on-site barber shop run by Joe Vipond and a barber shop run by Hiro Miyoshi, both well-known and award-winning professionals in their fields.
Also, we have to talk about the gym here. I’m not the type to train on vacation. Mainly because I’m lazy and always looking for an excuse not to train. I need to change that, obviously, and I was quite tempted to start this change while I was at the Londoner (I still haven’t, don’t worry). The gym has an absurd array of cutting-edge machines, from Peloton to Technogym, and is also comically large for a fitness center, bigger than some gyms I’ve been to. New York. There is also a private studio room for lessons and solo workouts when lessons are not in progress. Personal trainers are also available to clients.
The Londoner is not a cheap stay. It’s not too expensive for the heart of London either. Basic King Rooms will set you back around $ 500 a night, depending on the day of the week and time of year you stay. The suites are a bit more expensive than that. But if you are coming to stay in Soho, you need to know what to expect.
One of the other downsides (depending on what you like) is that you are right in the middle of Leicester Square which is incredibly crowded and touristy. The hotel’s immediate neighborhood is not the quaint, cobbled London of Dickens and Austen. It’s lively and commercial. But again, it is very central and there is a lot to see and do within walking distance.
The Londoner offers a truly satisfying top-to-bottom hospitality experience. It has all the bells and whistles you want when you’re really trying to indulge yourself without any of the pretentious vibes you often get from traditional high-end brands. It embraces modernism in the right places while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere without ever being too hip or too stuffy. The staff are attentive and attentive, the food is varied and delicious, the drinks are plentiful and expertly prepared, and the rooms are comfortable and thoughtfully designed. If you’re willing to pay the price, The Londoner is worth every penny.
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