International travel remains largely off the table for the short term, and the staycation boom of last year could also well continue into this year – with this in mind, we take a sweep around some of the stylish new hotels to have on your radar across the UK
To London first, where there’s a host of new hotels coming up for those who want either a quiet bolthole to hide away in, or a more buzzing place to hang out. But before diving into the total newcomers in the capital, first a nod to the return of a classic, The Carlton Tower.
With design by 1508 London, Jumeirah’s European flagship has had a multi-million refurb befitting a hotel of such stature. The Knightsbridge hotel was due to take the dust covers off in December, but the big reveal must now wait due to understandable delays, and the hotel is now hoping for a “first half of 2021” opening. The renovation is the most extensive in the hotel’s history, and it will reopen with fewer but larger rooms – 186 keys – with many of the newly-created signature and junior suites enjoying balconies with spectacular views; guests also have access to Cadogan Gardens, a private garden square and tennis courts, while the hotel’s health club The Peak has a new Talise Spa.
Pan Pacific Hotels Group will plant its first flag in Europe this spring in the shape of Pan Pacific London, spreading its Asian influence to a property just across from Liverpool Street Station, an area which previously had little to shout about in the form of luxury hotels, save for the Andaz.
The 237-room and suite hotel within One Bishopsgate Plaza, a new landmark tower for the capital, is the result of work by visionary design firm Yabu Pushelberg. There’s an entire floor dedicated to well-being incorporating an 18-metre infinity pool with views over the plaza and lots of landscaped outdoor space, with gardens integrated into the design of the restaurants and recreational facilities.
Staying in the east of London, Mondrian has taken over The Curtain, which sadly had its final curtain as a result of Covid last year. Mondrian Shoreditch London makes its debut in Spring, and will feature a culinary experience by world-famous chef Dani Garcia, his first time in the Capital. The lifestyle brand – now part of Accor – had a previous life in London when Sea Containers first opened, but its return to the capital will see it flag this “extensively updated” and re-styled 120-room property in east London. Mondrian Shoreditch London will also bring an exciting mixology concept to its rooftop bar and The Curtain Members Club will continue to operate at the property under its current name.
Also coming in Shoreditch is another rework – Montcalm East, now an Autograph Collection Hotel and a stylish re-make of the former M By Montcalm in a striking corner skyscraper on City Road. The 288-room hotel has been given a fresh look by Blacksheep and has also worked with art curators Culture A to commission a thought-provoking artwork, with a focus on east London and emerging talent.
A partnership with Pop Art specialists Proud Galleries will also see the hotel’s mezzanine level adorned with works by legendary photographers. Guests will also be entertained by a series of cultural events and partnerships, including one with Photoworks, an organisation championing photography for all; the hotel’s Mark experience, a signature of all Autograph Collection Hotels, will guide guests on film photography classes, including developing the work in the hotel’s own PhotoLab.
Over in the West End, the big news will be finally getting to see Edwardian Hotels’ The Londoner take to the main stage this spring. Also designed by Yabu Pushelberg, the £300-million project will become as known for what’s above ground as there is below – with several new subterranean levels making it “one of the deepest hotels in the world”.
Smack-bang on Leicester Square, there will be 350 guest rooms and suites, two private screening rooms, six restaurants and bars (including one on the rooftop), a spa and a variety of meeting spaces. The Londoner has also sought to take a lead on sustainable luxury, securing a £175 million Green Loan from HSBC UK, a first for the hospitality sector, with funding used to ensure the hotel exceeds the BREEAM Excellent category in building environmental and sustainable performance. The Londoner is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Legend Collection and reservations can now be made for stays from 22 March.
The new NoMad hotel was planning on opening its doors in February but will clearly now hold off until once this lockdown is over – after all, following the rules could be in its DNA, given it’s sitting inside what was formerly the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, a 19th century police station in Covent Garden.
NoMad London is opposite the Royal Opera House and has 91 rooms designed in collaboration with New-York based Roman and Williams, known for their fabulous set designs, and who also oversaw the design of the new British Galleries at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; NoMad London will house an impressive art programme of its own.
There will be several F&B options spearheaded by executive chef Ian Coogan, one of which will be beneath a dramatic atrium, but we can’t wait for the day when we can pop to The Side Hustle, the hotel’s take on a local pub that will sit on the corner where the entrance to the police station once stood. The hotel is by New York-based hospitality company, Sydell Group, founded by Andrew Zobler who opened The Ned in partnership with Ron Burkle and Soho House a few years back – given that project’s success, this is bound to become the hotspot of Covent Garden.
Hard to believe it hasn’t happened before, but the brilliant Martin Brudnizki is designing his first top-to-toe hotel in London, The Broadwick, bringing some fresh life to the Soho hotel scene. We know and love his restaurant designs of course (Annabel’s, The Coral Room at The Bloomsbury and Sexy Fish in London), and enjoyed getting to know his work at The University Arms in Cambridge, but this first capital addition to his hotel CV is being described as “your eccentric godmother’s Soho townhouse”.
Opening in September, the 57 guest rooms include a penthouse and nine suites, while food and beverage will be operated in partnership with Soho stalwarts, Jamie Poulton and chef Ed Baines, founders of Randall and Aubin. There will be an Italian restaurant with a street terrace and on the upper floor, a cocktail bar wrapping around the rooftop.
Having quickly established a great reputation on the hospitality scene, Beaverbook, a country house hotel in Surrey, will be expanding with a London pied a terre this summer. Sitting on Chelsea’s famous Sloane Street, the Beaverbrook Town House is being developed in partnership with the Cadogan estate, and includes an extensive £25 million restoration of two Georgian townhouses opposite Cadogan Place Gardens, with 14 suites styled and named after celebrated London theatres. There will also be a contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar open to the public, with interior designer Nicola Harding, known for her work on the Garden House at Beaverbrook, The Rose in Deal and recently The Mitre in Hampton Court, leading this stylish project.
Two other townhouse projects that just about managed to cut the ribbon on their openings in 2020 were Mayfair Townhouse, which is a combination of 15 townhouses on Half Moon Street, and Henry’s Townhouse (pictured above), a restoration of a beautiful Grade II-listed building on Upper Berkeley Street.
Once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, Henry, it’s a brilliant design collaboration between owners Jane and Steven Collins and the award-winning Russell Sage Studio and would be a perfect exclusive-use option for those longed-for family-and-friends get togethers, small corporate gatherings when we’re all allowed to do so, or anyone hankering for a Bridgerton-esque place to stay!
Moving further afield, keep an eye on the brand Graduate Hotels, which already has a foothold in the US and has now, err, graduated to opening hotels over in the UK. The plan is to debut its first cool European properties in both Cambridge and Oxford in the spring. The strategy in the US thus far is built around a collection of handcrafted hotels in “dynamic university-anchored cities”, with design that embraces nostalgia in fine locations.
Positioned along the banks of the River Cam, the 148-key Graduate Cambridge will be surrounded by the University of Cambridge, within walking distance of several colleges, and is a re-make of an old Doubletree by Hilton property. Equally, the 151-room Graduate Oxford – previously the Macdonald Randolph Hotel – is located at the heart of the sprawl of University of Oxford and its iconic colleges, and takes its new designs from the university’s history, paying homage to its storied innovators and alumni. The Graduate team seem ahead of the game too, as – according to a new Deloitte study - Cambridge is looking like the most attractive UK city for hotel investment in 2021, with Oxford and Edinburgh ranking second and third, respectively.
The same owning company – AJ and Partners – is also striking out with a new brand entirely for its takeover of three Scottish golf hotels, under the Marine & Lawn Collection. Marine North Berwick (pictured) opens this spring and was previously the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa; its 83 rooms and public areas are now undergoing extensive renovations and the reimagined hotel overlooks the 16th hole of the historic West Links course at North Berwick Golf Club and is minutes from Muirfield golf club.
Marine Troon will open in the summer after a similarly impressive transformation of an old hotel (The Marine Hotel), giving golfers along the Ayrshire Coast a refreshed option, and finally, Rusacks St Andrews will debut with 114 rooms, a rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course at St Andrews, the “home of golf”.
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is also expanding into Scotland for the first time – and with a bold claim: to make 100 Princes Street the number one hotel in Edinburgh. The group is renovating an historic hotel on Edinburgh’s most famous street, following its acquisition of the building from Royal Over-Seas League. The boutique hotel is now heading towards an opening date in September, when it will become the group’s 19th property worldwide. There will be 30 guest rooms and an executive lounge overlooking the famed castle.
Another new arrival to Edinburgh – but not to Scotland – will be the Gleneagles Townhouse, which will bring 33 new luxury rooms to the city this autumn. An urban sister to the storied Gleneagles estate, the city slicker will be on St Andrews Square, inside the former Bank of Scotland headquarters of 200 years. Uniquely designed guest rooms will give an appreciative nod to the heritage of the building, and there will be all-day restaurant, gym, rooftop terrace and members club.
If the lure of the coast is what clients are after, then consider the project of Audley Travel founder, Craig Burkinshaw. He and partner Joanne Le Bon have used the global pause of last year to plough efforts into completing Three Mile Beach in Cornwall, and they’ll be revved up ready for Easter bookings. The 15 beach houses on the north Cornwall coast are four miles from St. Ives and are designed to “evoke the carefree fun and nostalgia of childhood seaside holidays”, while also providing a home for eclectic artworks sourced from Craig and Jo’s travels around the globe. These three and four-bedroom self-catering cottages will be great for couples, families and groups looking for laid-back luxury, with open-plan kitchen-lounge-diners, log burners, wrap-around terraces with sunken cedar hot tubs, barrel saunas, and barbecues. For those who don’t fancy cooking, there will be private chefs available, as well as the Three Mile Beach street food truck.
Next door in Devon, there’s a new watersports hotspot to check out in Exmouth. Activities available from the new Sideshore project will include kitesurfing, power kiting, stand-up paddleboarding, beach yoga and ocean swimming of course, all aimed at promoting wellness and good health: perfect for Covid times. And not only will Sideshore be home to Edge Watersports, local celebrity chef and Devon lad Michael Caines will be opening Mickey’s Beach in March, including bar with resident weekend DJs, a destination restaurant with a glasshouse and outdoor terraces and neighbouring Cafe Patisserie Glacerie. Even better, clients can stay at his beautiful hotel nearby Lympstone Manor, which also has adorable shepherd’s huts and a vineyard.
Moving across England, there will be even more reasons to visit The Newt this year. This already wildly successful project in Somerset is about to open a second hotel option over the other side of the vast estate, so, dig out your contacts and secure a hospitality hotline to ensure you can get what you need when clients come calling for some domestic bliss.
The Farmyard is tucked away in a secluded corner of the estate, accessed through traditional cyder orchards. There will be just 17 rooms and suites at this hotel expansion, all housed within historic buildings such as a Farm House, Cyder Mill, Apple Loft and Cheese Barns, and owner Karen Roos is giving them her usual magic design touch. There is already a spa at the original hotel, but The Farmyard also includes an indoor pool, as well as a bar, games room and farm-to-table culinary experience. Of course, there’s also full access to the wider estate – including the main restaurant, spa, acres of gardens, Cyder Cellar and The Story of Gardening experience centre.
Moving along the country to East Sussex, mother and daughter Olga and Alex Polizzi will finally get to open their first full hotel project together – The Star, Alfriston. Prior to this current lockdown, it was aiming for a March debut as part of The Polizzi Collection, but it still had some work to be done as a phased project; the duo decided to use this time to go all out and plough through all their planned works instead. “We will now be knocking 12 of our smallest bedrooms and bathrooms together, to make eight larger brighter rooms,” says Olga Polizzi, who is also director of design and deputy chair of Rocco Forte Hotels, a company she helped her brother Rocco Forte create. She also owns Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall and Hotel Endsleigh in Devon, which make up The Polizzi Collection.
Daughter Alex Polizzi, businesswoman and presenter of Channel 5 television show, The Hotel Inspector, has teamed up with her for their first official joint venture, with The Star having 30 rooms within a Grade II 15th-century building in the medieval village of Alfriston. It's near the South Downs national park, close to the historic town of Lewes and to both Glyndebourne Opera House and Charleston.
Accor will finally get to reveal its big UK luxury project, Fairmont Windsor Park, a country estate hotel that had been scheduled for debut in 2020. Set in glorious landscaped gardens, adjacent to Windsor Great Park and Savill Gardens, the hotel will have 200 opulent guest rooms and a 2,500 square-metre spa and wellness area including eight treatment rooms, four wellness rooms, hammam, salt room and 15-metre indoor pool as well as a wellness cafe. For something more hedonistic, there will be a champagne bar featuring both local and international champagnes and wines. Meetings and events will also be a big focus, with a dedicated wing with 15 meeting rooms.
The Relais Henley, which has an enviable location on the river in this famous Thames-side town, will be another one to watch out for this year. The project is a conversion of the old Red Lion, driven by international hotel entrepreneur, designer and consultant Grace Leo. The Relais will bring a huge dose of style to the town, and hopes to be open in time for the famous regatta this summer.
And finally, we head up north to Buxton, where a new hotel could make the spa town a new luxury hit. Buxton Crescent Hotel & Spa managed to scrape in a soft, whispering opening before Lockdown 2:0 then had to hibernate again – it will be back in 2021 and bursting with style and wellbeing goodness.
The hotel has had a multi-million pound renovation and hopes to help guests discover the therapeutic mineral waters for which the town is famed – it’s also high up on the edge of the Peak District national park, so they will have access to an area of outstanding natural beauty, forests and deep valleys with high stony plateaus. Buxton Crescent is the first UK property from the Ensana Hotels brand, which already has a host of European thermal spa projects in its pocket. The 81-room hotel is home to three pools – the Thermal Pool which is a fully refurbished Victorian pool boasting the unique feature of having Buxton mineral-rich water flowing into it; a relaxation pool; and an impressive indoor-outdoor rooftop pool.
And finally, not a million miles away is Callow Hall (pictured above) in Mappleton, Derbyshire, bringing another charming new project to the Peak District when it opens in June.
A £3.5 million makeover of a very traditional-style Victorian country house hotel, Callow Hall is having a transformation that will significantly increase its capacity, make the most of its 35 acres of grounds and giving it a modern reboot.
There will be 15 rooms in the main house (Callow Hall itself), plus a conversion of a coach house into self-contained suites along with 11 deluxe “cabins” sprinkled in the woodland. The designer is Isabella Worsley, previously a designer for Kit Kemp at Firmdale Hotels who now runs her own studio. There will also be two treehouses in the grounds, created by the same designer as those at Chewton Glen, and a “spa shack” offering organic treatments and thermal experiences. Callow Hall is also set to be the first of several hotels within a new brand, The Wildhive Collection.