London’s new luxury hotels

London's new luxury hotels

Barely a week goes past in the capital these days without a fabulous new hotel opening up. Construction is at full tilt as London’s year in the spotlight gets underway; and opening this season, in time for the Olympics, are three fabulous new hotels.

First up is Belgraves, which opens in February in one of the world’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. It’s the first Thompson property in the country that, ironically, inspired the group’s original New York venture.

‘Our first hotel, 60 Thompson, was based on the intimacy of British hotels,’ said Jason Pomeranc, co-owner of Thompson Hotels, who describes Belgraves as ‘blending traditional British hospitality with an American bohemian attitude’.

EPR Architects have overhauled the former Sheraton Belgravia, given it a facelift and added living walls to its exterior. Inside, Tara Bernerd’s decoration is bold, with rich colours and eclectic furniture and art. There are 85 rooms, a library bar and, best of all, Mark Hix’s 80-seater restaurant and Mark’s Bar.

In neighbouring South Kensington – and conveniently placed just around the corner from Boujis – The Ampersand Hotel has reinvented its 1888 self. Going for a vintage, boutique look, it has 110 bedrooms, a new patisserie, an in-house gym and the Bellini cocktail bar; the bird-themed lobby/lounge displays a mix of modern art and vintage ornaments.

Over on the Strand, the Savoy and Somerset House have a cool new five-star neighbour. ME by Meliá will open in Marconi House, the Grade II-listed building where the first BBC broadcast took place in 1922. Foster + Partners has added a contemporary Portland stone and glass extension and designed the interiors, which include 157 rooms and suites, two restaurants (including the first British outpost of American steakhouse STK) and a rooftop bar (pictured). The view from the bar stretches along the Thames in both directions, all the way from the Houses of Parliament in the west to Canary Wharf in the east. There’s also a two-storey suite with a private terrace at the top of the building’s glass turret that has a 360-degree view.

Rather than a concierge, an ‘Aura Manager’ can fix everything from providing insider information for the design-savvy and booking tables at underground restaurants to offering guests styling tips. If ME London is half as cool as its sister hotel in Barcelona, then you can expect to see a host of beautiful people partying here.

Belgraves, A Thompson Hotel, 20 Chesham Place, London SW1 ( Doubles from £336

The Ampersand Hotel, 10 Harrington Road, London SW7 (

ME London, 336-337 Strand, London WC2 (0808 234 1953; Doubles from £340