Story and photos by Melanie Votaw
Additional photography by Manos Angelakis

Corinthia Façade by Melanie

Corinthia Hotel London
Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD
United Kingdom
www.corinthia.com

The Corinthia Hotel is a stunning 5-star property right across the street  from the River Thames, Whitehall Gardens, and the West End’s Playhouse  Theatre. The Victorian building, which was modeled after Parisian  architecture, dates back to 1885 and began as the Hotel Metropole. Then, the government took over the building and used it for Ministry of  Defense offices. The original Hotel Metropole played a large role in  London’s debutante season, and during the building’s government office  days, rumor has it that room 801 held the government’s records of UFO  sightings.

Corinthia London Baccarat Chandelier

The building has been the Corinthia since 2011, when it was restored and  renovated. Besides the exterior, the renovations preserved the window  frames, columns, ceiling decoration, and stair banisters. To call the  hotel “grand” is an understatement. When you walk in, the Lobby Lounge  and inner foyer areas are vast. The chandelier, created by Parisian  designer Chafik Gasmi, was produced by Baccarat with 1,001 crystals. The Lobby Lounge serves afternoon tea, which includes bespoke blends of  teas created especially for the Corinthia.

There is an in-house florist that supplies fresh flowers throughout the  property, and there are two restaurants, a spa, and a musically inspired cocktail bar called Bassoon, which has a 7-meter-long piano that forms  the top of the bar. Bassoon’s décor is inspired by a 1920s art deco  music room.

Corinthia London Room by Melanie

While Hotel Metropole contained 600 rooms, Corinthia contains just 294, all  of which are spacious. Today’s travelers expect larger accommodations  than in years past, so 40 of the 294 are suites and 7 are penthouses.  Some of these have two stories, private elevators and terraces,  fireplaces, and historic turrets. The hotel’s website includes  convenient videos of the different room types to help you decide which  one you prefer.

I had a Deluxe Junior Suite, which -- at 700 square feet -- was larger than many New York apartments. I had a chaise, couch, table and chairs, and a Nespresso machine in the bedroom. There was also a Juliette balcony  that offered a view of the Courtyard. Of course, the suite included a  safe, minibar, and media hub, and the TV had 75 international channels.  WiFi was complimentary. There were bedside buttons to control the  lights, which included options for a reading light, night light, or mood lighting.

Corinthia London Closet

Opposite the king bed (with a Hypnos mattress) was the television. To its right, a foyer at the entrance door led to a walk-in closet that contained  motion sensor lighting and enough storage space for practically my  entire wardrobe from home.

Corinthia London bath2

To the left of the TV was the entrance to the bath with two sinks, a  heated floor, a large tub with another TV screen in the wall, and a  separate shower. The shower had the largest rainshower head I’ve ever  seen. It really did almost feel like standing outside in the rain.

If you want the full lavish treatment, you can opt for the hotel’s “Suite  Life” package that includes a bottle of champagne, butler service,  airport transport, use of the hotel car, a tour of the Burlington Arcade with a traditional Beadle Guard, and more.

Corinthia London ESPA Large

The Corinthia spa uses ESPA products, a very popular company in England.  It’s an unusually large facility that spans four floors and has 17  treatment rooms. There’s an indoor pool, vitality pool, sauna, ice  fountain, heated beds, private suite and sleep pods, a hair salon, and a gym. They even offer a medical massage. I experienced a wonderful foot  reflexology treatment in the relaxing atmosphere that includes curved  walls, ambient fireplaces, leather furniture, and black marble and  lacquer.

There are two particularly unusual features at the Corinthia. One is its  commissioning of 250 unique artworks that are displayed throughout the  property. American Minda Cowling serves as Art Consultant, but the  collection celebrates contemporary British artists. The second  surprising feature is its own Cigar Sommelier, Manu Harit, who is the  youngest in the industry to have received The Higher Certificate. The  hotel’s Garden Lounge is its cigar lounge, overseen by Harit.

Of course, Corinthia is also frequently used for weddings, conferences,  and other events. The “Courtroom”€ is a space shaped like a crescent that opens onto a sheltered colonnade and The Courtyard for open air events.

 

The Corinthia has two restaurants The Northall and Massimo. Massimo  serves Italian cuisine, while The Northall serves quintessentially  British dishes. I had a meal at The Northall, which is helmed by Executive Chef Garry Hollihead, who has won Michelin stars at three different establishments including L’Escargot. The  restaurant has picture windows that provide views of Whitehall Gardens  and the Thames, and it has two private dining rooms available for  events. The décor includes mirrored panels and burnt orange leather  seating.

Corinthia London Kitchen

If you had the idea that the British don’t know how to cook or to eat,  you’re mistaken. Using wholly British suppliers, the restaurant focuses  on a mix of traditional dishes with contemporary twists. Beef is sourced from The Lake District Farm, fish is brought in from Cornwall, and  cheeses are from La Cave. The menu is seasonal, but I had a scrumptious  lamb dish, while my dinner companion had the suckling pig. For dessert, I had sorbets and cookies. Steaks can be ordered with a variety of sauces like blue cheese, port and shallot, or truffle hollandaise. If you want a quintessential British dining experience that’s upscale and  well-done, The Northall is the place to go.

Corinthia Hotel London received the AA Hotel of the Year London for 2015-2016,  and it was easy for me to see why. I recommend it wholeheartedly when  you travel to London.

 

 

 

© July 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.

 

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