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The $1,600-a-night luxury hotel that was 30 years in the making

It turns out that luxury London hotels are like buses. You wait ages for one to open, and then two, or in this case several, come at once.

After being beset by delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 Hotel Mayfair, the first London location for the 1 Hotels brand opened its doors in July, the new Mandarin Oriental Mayfair is scheduled to open later this year, while Raffles Hotels and Resorts is launching Raffles London at The OWO in the coming weeks.

And this month, the UK capital is welcoming another of Asia’s most renowned hotel groups this month, as The Peninsula finally arrives in the city, over 30 years after beginning its search for a London location.

Grand opening

On September 12, the red blindfolds covering the eyes of the Chinese stone lions at the main entrance of the Peninsula London, which overlooks popular landmark Wellington Arch, were due to be removed in a special ceremony.

And the hotel’s uniformed pages, another iconic characteristic of the Peninsula brand, will be on hand to welcome its first guests.

With 190 rooms and suites, 25 luxury residences, a rooftop restaurant, and a spa with a 25-meter indoor swimming pool, The Peninsula London is undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated properties in the UK capital, with rates per night beginning at £1,300 (around $1,621).

While it may be one of many hotels opening in London this year, the launch of a purpose-built five-star hotel in the city is almost unheard of these days, with many other brands opting to convert existing buildings instead.

“We’re proud to be coming to London, to work alongside our illustrious neighbors. It’s a very exciting time for the capital.”

Picturesque location

Situated close to Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Corner, the hotel has been designed to “gracefully harmonize with the heritage buildings of Belgravia,” which is known for its Georgian and Regency architecture.

The huge building holds an internal courtyard where those arriving by car can enter discreetly. Designed by landscape architect Enzo Enea, the cobblestone courtyard features wisteria vines and two 120-year-old Japanese maples.

As is typical with Peninsula hotels, the London offshoot will provide guests with a luxury fleet of cars, including a vintage Rolls-Royce Sedanca de Ville from 1935, a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, a Bentley Bentayga and an electrified Austin Healy taxi.

However, it’s also among the few Peninsula properties without one of the helipads the brand has become synonymous with, apparently due to its proximity to Buckingham Palace.

Luxurious rooms

The hotel’s rooms and suites, which range from 51 to 59 square meters to 549 to 635 square feet in size, all feature original artwork with a Royal gardens theme, luxurious bathrooms and dressing rooms with built-in wardrobes, raised luggage racks, and a nail dryer.

Each has a special valet box near the door, where guests can leave laundry, or anything they want removed from their room, and staff can fill with newspapers or room service items without disturbing them.

Some of the rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, showcasing impressive views of Wellington Arch and Hyde Park, while others look out onto the courtyard.

PenChat, a 24-hour private e-concierge service, is also available to guests. The bespoke staff uniforms are the work of British designer Jenny Packham.

The hotel has been designed to “service both visitors and local residents,” with a coffee shop, apparently one of the requirements negotiated during the sale, and a retail arcade, located on the premises.

“We believe that the investment we have made into this project, the dedication of our people and the project teams we have worked with, and the quality and the attention to detail that we have strived for, will make this a unique hotel that we believe will stand out not only in London but globally, and will be one of the most important hotels in our group for generations to come,” Clement Kwok, managing director and CEO of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, owner and operator of The Peninsula, said in a statement.

Dining destination

Inspired by British aviation and motorsport, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant Brooklands get its name from the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, and is among its stand out additions.

Led by renowned chef Claude Bosi, Brooklands, which opens in late September, features an automotive-themed bar, airplane style doors, and an overhead model of the Concorde.

Ground-floor establishment Canton Blue is themed on the story of the Keying, a Chinese trading junk ship which sailed between China and Britain during the 1800s, and honors the “spice-trade union of Asian and British cultures.”

The intimate restaurant has an upper deck area, along with a downstairs cocktail bar that serves up sophisticated cocktails and artisanal teas.

Meanwhile, afternoon tea is served, alongside live music, in the stunning lobby restaurant, The Lobby, which features high ceilings, hand painted murals and crystal chandeliers.

“At The Peninsula London we wanted to create a new dining destination for Londoners and locals,” adds Vodusek, before explaining that both establishments have “their own unique design concepts, their own chefs, their own bars and completely different menu and atmosphere.”

The hotel’s spa, which offers various treatments, workshops and exercise classes, and holds a 25-meter indoor swimming pool will open later this year, along with a huge ballroom with capacity for up to 450 people and two elevators large enough to hold motorcars.

The Peninsula London is open for bookings from September 12.

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