Get the best of CF straight to your inbox.

Subscribe, sit back, and let your mind travel.

Inspire Me

Checking In: The Londoner, London

The Londoner is one of the city’s newest and most ambitious hotel projects with 350 guest rooms, six eateries, two private screening rooms, and a subterranean spa spread across 16 storeys in the heart of London’s West End. More impressive than the scale, however, is the feeling of intimacy and seclusion.

Stepping into the sultry, low-lit lobby, you feel instantly miles away from the noise and bright lights of Leicester Square. Each space has been designed by Yabu Pushelberg – of The Four Seasons hotel in New York – to have its own distinct ambience, alternating between sophisticated, sexy, calm, and eccentric. There are a series of ‘hidden’ rooms – such as the whisky room where returning guests can store their casks in a secure glass cabinet – and in the lifts, peep holes offer glimpses of miniature artworks embedded into the walls.

The staff uniform is somewhere between a high-powered business person and an elegant socialite. Think tight-fitting dresses and high heels, with scraped back ponytails and red lipstick. It’s a strong look, but everyone we spoke to was warm and friendly. Almost every corner you turn, there’s someone there to greet you by name, offer you a drink, help with reservations, or tell you how to get to where (the hotel, at least on a first visit, is a bit of a labyrinth).


The Vibe

Sleek, sultry, exclusive. The Londoner feels like a member’s club for the young, rich, and fashionable. On check-in guests are served a glass of Ruinart champagne – wheeled across on a gold trolley and poured slowly, from a height – to sip in leopard-print armchairs beneath a giant golden sun (a silver moon hangs by the lobby desk). There isn’t a dress code, but people seem to dress up for the occasion. Needless to say, there’s a separate lift for guests zipping down to the spa in their robes and slippers.


The Rooms

Credit Andrew Beasley

Credit Andrew Beasley

Compared to the dramatic, alluring aesthetic of the shared spaces, the bedrooms feel slightly underwhelming, decorated in pastel shades with sparse furnishings. Some of the rooms are wooden-clad (ours was partially), but generally, they could do with a little more warmth.  The views, however, from the floor-to-ceiling windows are spectacular, especially at night when the city glitters with lights, and we loved the dark blue tiled bathroom of our junior suite with a bathtub, shower, and Miller Harris amenities. The mini bar featured a range of pre-mixed cocktails by Avantgarde, a vast range of teas, and the most delicious complimentary marmalade biscuits.

Credit Andrew Beasley

Credit Andrew Beasley


The Little Extras 

It feels a little unfair to call The Retreat – the hotel’s subterranean wellness centre – an extra. With an expansive gym, spa, beauty salon, barbershop, and ‘refuel’ bar, it’s very much a destination in its own right. We spent a blissful afternoon lounging in a poolside cabana, padding between the sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi. Sadly, the spa was fully booked during our stay (make note to reserve any treatments well in advance) but we were particularly tempted by the Hydralifiting Facial and ‘Harmony’, a 60-minute treatment encompassing a full body massage, Tibetan cupping, acupressure, and warm herbal poultices.

Credit Andrew Beasley

Credit Andrew Beasley

While the restaurants and some of the other public spaces are open to the public, hotel guests get exclusive access to ‘The Residence’. Here you’ll find an intimate bar, lounge area with a hand-painted mural, and tucked away, down a small set of stairs, the whisky room. Throughout the day there’s an assortment of nibbles for guests to help themselves to, and soft drinks are complimentary.

Credit Andrew Beasley

Credit Andrew Beasley

Need somewhere private to make a call? There are seven meeting rooms, each named after a famous London gallery, including Somerset House and The Royal Academy.


The Food + Drink

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to wining and dining at the Londoner. The hotel’s six restaurants and bars are all overseen by Nobu alum Amir Jati and offer distinct experiences. The Stage, located in the lobby, pays homage to the West End’s theatrical roots with opulent design and a menu centring around champagne. It serves an all-day menu, but the afternoon tea (served from 2 until 4pm) is the real highlight, featuring a decadent assortment of pastries, cakes, and sandwiches.

Credit Andrew Beasley

Credit Andrew Beasley

We ate dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Whitcomb’s (also located on the ground floor) where the menu is French-inspired with a medley of small sharing plates to start and mains created by Executive Head Chef Shailesh Deshmukh. Amongst our favourites were the tuna tartare, calamari with sea salt and chilli, and the sea bass with white wine, parsley, shallots, and lemon. Make sure you leave enough for sides: the frites and haricots verts are divine.

Credit Andrew Beasley

Credit Andrew Beasley

For a more glamorous affair, 8 at The Londoner, the hotel’s rooftop izakaya lounge, serves Japanese cuisine, cocktails, and sake in a seductive setting. The Shima Garden (the restaurant’s drinks terrace) hangs suspended over the hotel’s courtyard with an open fire and sofa seating. There’s also Joshua’s Tavern, named after the 18th-century artist and former Leicester Square resident Joshua Reynolds, which serves small bites and an eclectic selection of gin-based drinks alongside draught beer.


The To-Do List

Despite the patchy weather, February is one of the most vibrant times to be in central London. The world’s leading and most cutting-edge fashion designers flock to the city to showcase their collections during fashion week (18 to 22 February) and even if you can’t bag tickets to the main event, there’s always plenty to see and do. This year, make sure to drop by the Local Goes Global pop-up store, which is spotlighting Portuguese craftsmanship and sustainable brands from the region.

The hotel is a stone’s throw away from so many of London’s most famous landmarks: Buckingham Palace, The National Portrait Gallery, and Trafalgar Square. It’s a short stroll to the buzzy restaurants and bars of Soho and the shops along Oxford Street and Regents Street, or head in the other direction towards Covent Garden where you can find quirky boutiques and an offshoot of Richmond’s famed restaurant Petersham Nurseries. If you have time, book tickets to a show in one of London’s historic West End theatres, many of which are worth visiting for the architecture alone.

What to Pack

You May Also Like

Any Questions or Tips to add?

Share
What to Pack?