When The Londoner broke ground in 2013, Brexit wasn’t part of the vernacular and Covid wasn’t tearing across the globe, bringing travel to a screeching halt.
Construction of the “super boutique” luxury property on London’s Leicester Square continued throughout the pandemic, with a scaled-down crew. Its debut was planned for spring 2020, but owner Edwardian Hotels pushed it back to September 2021. That extra time helped shape the final product.
“Delaying the launch created valuable time and space to reflect on evolving guest expectations and the real-time changes happening across the industry,” says Charles Oak, hotel director of The Londoner. The hotel doubled down on housekeeping protocols, for example, and developed programming and experiences that complemented the hotel’s design and amenities.
Guests at The Londoner can choose from a variety of experiences, ranging from an elegant French-Mediterranean restaurant to gastro tavern to rooftop Japanese izakaya lounge to lobby tea service, as well as several guests-only amenities, including a snazzy bar, whisky-tasting room, and hidden meditation courtyard. A full-service spa, well-outfitted fitness center, and pool command the wellness floor.
The Londoner is an engineering marvel, with six of its sixteen floors situated below grade. The ten above-ground stories hold 350 guest rooms and suites, while three of the below-ground floors contain a 6,093-square-foot ballroom, reception area, and smaller meeting spaces, all connected by a central staircase and elevators.
The ballroom (left), outfitted with the latest audiovisual technology and two kitchens, can accommodate up to 600 guests for dinner, 850 for receptions, and 720 theatre style. The space can be divided in half. The Green Room, a gathering area, is designed for receptions of up to 150 people or meetings up to 76. The Gallery is a collection of seven smaller meeting rooms linked to a central foyer.
Despite being underground, the meeting spaces are intentionally bright, well-ventilated, and as visually appealing as the upper floors. A screening room is also on site, with two separate Odeon Luxe movie screens that can be reserved for conference events and private screenings.
While indulgent, The Londoner is also eco-conscious. Public spaces and guest rooms reflect the latest sustainability standards, but Yabu Pushelberg’s thoughtful design is also aesthetically pleasing and elegant. Guest rooms have huge guest room baths (not just by London standards) that are nicely appointed with heated bidet commode seats, rain shower heads, soaking tubs, vanities with theatre-style lighting, Dyson hair dryers, and Miller Harris amenities. An extensive collection of bespoke artwork celebrating the neighborhood’s past and present lines the halls and public areas.
The hotel is also ideally situated in the heart of the West End theatre district and steps away from the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, and other iconic London landmarks.
Opening amid the uncertainty of a pandemic wouldn’t be anyone’s preference, but The Londoner’s Charles Oak has been noticing signs of recovery in the London travel business, especially now that the U.S. has dropped its Covid testing requirement for inbound airline passengers. “I think leisure travel into the city is set to skyrocket,” he predicts. “Fundamentally, we are social creatures with a basic human need to connect, and London will always be one of the world’s most visited cities thanks to the history, culture, and experiences rooted in the city’s landscapes and its communities.”