Fuelled by Olympic Games buzz, London's hotel scene is getting a glamorous style injection. America's hip Thompson group started the ball rolling back in February with the opening of Belgraves (20 Chesham Place; thompsonhotels.com), an 85-room boutique with 'rough luxe' interiors in leafy Belgravia complete with bar
and restaurant by British chef Mark Hix.
Also aimed squarely at affluent globetrotters is the about-to-open Bulgari London (171 Knightsbridge; bulgarihotels.com), an exclusive smart pad in a modern building overlooking Hyde Park, with 85 sleek rooms featuring bespoke elements that reflect the Italian
brand's jewelling heritage — think sumptuous patterned silks and custom-made chandeliers.
A couple of Tube stops east, the finishing touches are being added to Café Royal, opening in time for the Games, a design-heavy renovation of a Grade II-listed building just off Piccadilly Circus. David Chipperfield, the man behind Berlin's Neues museum rebuild, will juxtapose his vision for 160 guest rooms, spa
and soon-to-buzz again Grill Room restaurant against the building's historical architecture.
A period-modern vibe is also being channelled at the Dorset Square Hotel (39-40 Dorset Square; firmdalehotels.com), a 38-room Marylebone townhouse being made over by London's Firmdale group, due to open in May. It's thoroughly English, in contrast to new properties from two successful international hospitality players.
ME by Melia (336-337 the Strand; me-by-melia.com) is a five-star affair from Spain's most luxe hotel chain. When it opens in June, the brand's first London property, on the fringes of Covent Garden, will have 157 hi-tech rooms and a bar/club on the roof with 180° views, while cool Dutch chain Citizen M (20 Lavington Street; citizenm.com) brings a budget option with its slick, Vitra-furnished property not far from Tate Modern in July, just in time for the Games to begin.
Read more: ten very different London hotels.