With so many luxury hotels opening in London this year, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about the fallout of Brexit, news of inflation, and the myriad other problems supposedly plaguing the capital of Britain. But if you pull back, all these high-end retreats arriving to the Big Smoke actually make sense. London is, after all, the most connected city in all of Europe, with six international airports and a train system Americans could only dream of. The Elizabeth Line, for one, costs about $13 and takes only 30 minutes to get from Heathrow to the city center. Add in the nearly historic high of the dollar against the pound, and it’s no wonder that Americans coming to London this past year have outpaced the record-high of the same group in 2019.
Of them all, the most anticipated opening is the Raffles London at the OWO, which opens on September 29 as the first British hotel by the family-owned Hinduja Group (in partnership with multinational hotel group Accor). Never mind that rooms at the Grade II*-listed historical building start at about $1,500 per night; the chance to roam the corridors where boys on bicycles delivered urgent messages to Winston Churchill and on the grounds where King Henry VIII inhaled his last breath are worth the price of admission.
It’ll be hard to decide where to spend the night when there are so many incredible retreats in London to choose from, including the still-being-renovated Dorchester London and the newly expanded Beaumont. But here are six brand-new hotel debuts that we’re psyched to spend our strong dollars on this fall.
Raffles London at the OWO
- Neighborhood: Whitehall
- Why we love it: Winston Churchill’s Old War Offices, transformed into a luxury retreat unprecedented in London
- Loyalty program: Accor Live Limitless
- Book now
That sweeping double staircase. That chandelier, hung by the same company that inserts precision nuclear rods. Architect Thierry Despont’s not-so-subtle nod to the Horse Guard, just across the street (note the brass tacks on the curtains’ leather fringe). Tucked among a painstakingly restored 1906 Georgian masterpiece, which is, for the first time, open to the public, Raffles London at the OWO offers 120 guest rooms, 85 residences, nine restaurants, three bars, and one stunning subterranean Guerlain spa and fitness center.
The Old War Offices, where Churchill administered Britain’s participation in World War II, has re-emerged as a showcase of British heritage and artisanship, down to the translucent alabaster balusters and the 37 historic fireplaces throughout the hotel. If the $1,500-a-night starting room rate is too dear, at least attempt to get a seat at the intimate Spy Bar or takeaway breakfast from the Pillar Kitchen, a plant-forward restaurant where carryout boxes are made from seaweed—surely nothing previous tenants of this Portland-stone pile could ever have envisioned. From $1,500
- Neighborhood: Belgravia
- Why we love it: An opulent yet understated neighborhood haunt
- Book Now
You can’t beat the entry at the new Peninsula London: through an off-street courtyard draped in wisteria and jasmine and a cobblestoned path, just like the royals’ residences. And the hotel offers transportation to match: a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, a hybrid Bentley Bentayga, an electrified 1960 vintage Austin taxi, or a restored 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom Sedanca de Ville are all available free to guests for around-town transport.
Upstairs in the 190 understated Peter Marino–designed guest rooms (some of the largest in London, starting at 538 square feet), you’ll unearth everything the Hong Kong–based Peninsula hotel group is known for, and more, from the onyx-clad bathrooms to the mahogany-paneled dressing rooms and the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Wellington Arch. Check out the chic staff uniforms by British designer Jenny Packham, in her first hotel partnership, as well as the ground-floor Canton Blue, a multi-story celebration of trade between Asia and Britain, with a design influenced by a 19th-century junk and exceptional dim sum. From $1,590, including breakfast for two
1 Hotel Mayfair
- Neighborhood: Mayfair
- Why we love it: Sustainability meets luxury
- Loyalty program: Mission by 1 Hotels
- Book Now
Grand dames like the Ritz London and the Wolseley stand across the street from this nine-story newcomer, but they’ll have a hard time keeping up with the eco bona fides of the 1 Hotel Mayfair that a younger generation of travelers has come to expect. For starters, hundreds of plants in dozens of species pepper the 181-room sanctuary, which includes hundreds of square feet of living walls (some in guest quarters).
Rooms come in shades of earth, with natural materials (moss, slate, oak, rope, wool) to further hit home the commitment to sustainability, though you might not notice the in-room filtration systems (no single-use plastic here!) or the recycled clothing hangers. Not convinced an urban hotel can be eco-friendly? Book an Audi through the hotel’s partnership to zip you around Jermyn Street or Saville Row in a stylish e-tron, or slather yourself in natural toiletries by Bamford. Downstairs, make reservations early for Dovetale, chef Tom Sellers’ organic European restaurant. (Sellers trained at Noma and Per Se.) Standout dishes include Susan’s Leek Vinaigrette or the Steamed Dover Sole “Veronique.” From $590
Mandarin Oriental Mayfair
- Neighborhood: Mayfair
- Why we love it: A big-name hotel (with big-name partners) creates a boîte of a retreat
- Loyalty program: Fans of M.O.
- Book Now
It’s not opening until December, but Mandarin Oriental’s second London property (the first is on Hyde Park) is already seeing its rooms book up—perhaps because it only has 50, or perhaps because the property offers a who’s-who of collaborators. The late Richard Rogers’ firm (the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the so-called Cheesegrater in London) designed the building using red brick “baguettes” inlaid into panels to weave into Hanover Square’s sophisticated fabric.
Inside, truly transporting guest rooms by Studio Indigo are inspired by haute couture fashions, each designed like a red-carpet gown, complete with House of de Gournay hand-painted silk wallpaper that’s mirrored by the magnolia carpeting. The common spaces, by Tokyo-based design firm Curiosity, include celebrated Korea-born chef Akira Back’s first namesake restaurant in the United Kingdom, all swooping wood planes and intimate tables, plus his ABar Lounge for bar bites and killer cocktails. At the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, the indoor 82-foot-long swimming pool illuminates every guest in golden hues—the ultimate selfie spot. From $1,130
- Neighborhood: Knightsbridge
- Why we love it: Access to the rooftop “sails” and their glorious 360-degree views
- Book Now
Opening before the end of the year, the highly-anticipated Emory is the first hotel in London in 50 years from the iconic Maybourne Group (Claridge’s, Connaught, the Berkeley). The 60-suite Richard Rogers–designed hotel has partnered with a different interior designer for each of its nine floors, which means every time you spend the night, you can choose from an Alexandra Champalimaud or a Patricia Urquiola or a Pierre-Yves Rochon-designed suite. Meanwhile, peripatetic chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will bring his ABC concept to London for the first time, not only downstairs, but also to the guests-only rooftop, whose architectural triangles soar like sails above Hyde Park. Room rates TBA
- Neighborhood: Marylebone
- Why we love it: An eco-conscious luxury retreat with a party vibe
- Loyalty program: I Prefer Hotel Rewards
- Book Now
Set in the heart of the West End, where Marylebone, Mayfair, and Soho intersect, the BoTree is a “conscious luxury” escape (according to owner Rishi Sachdev) that welcomes visitors with a vibrant downstairs scene and a surprisingly irreverent take on the high-end hotel room. Thanks to F&B overseen by Tao Group Hospitality, the ground floor’s Italian restaurant, Lavo, is always thumping with stylishly dressed young people, while its sister, the BoTree Bar, is aflutter with Londoners getting their flirt on.
Upstairs (past a tree trunk made out of 3D-printed trunks) and a gaggle of floral arrangements, 199 guest rooms radiate an eco-friendly vibe with some bold moves (note the massive floral prints behind each fluffy bed). The BoTree charges a steep price for such a cool-kid hangout, but the service and the people-watching make a trip to this epic corner of London worth the price of entry. (Plus, you can always just come for a Negroni.) From $800