Hotels have become the newest and most luxurious of flaunt-able accessories.
Fashion houses, celebrities and the anonymous super rich want to own them and the rest of us just want to say we’ve stayed there.
London’s newest and most fashionable hotel bling is Whitehall’s Corinthia Hotel: a shiny new bauble of a five star property ensconced in a hallowed vintage building that once housed the UFO wing of MI6 (it’s true, I heard it from the hotel’s concierge). The heart of the hotel is the dome-covered lobby lounge, dressed to the 9′s with a “Full Moon” chandelier by Parisian designer Chafik Gasmi. You want to talk bling; this baby has over 1,001 twinkling crystals winking seductively as government officials, embassy big wigs and arm candy girlfriends sip gin and tonics or take afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches below.
Upstairs the rooms are lush, Frette linen-wrapped and full of fab extras like Hi Definition TV in the marble bathroom, super sleek electronic hook ups and my favorite: ESPA soaps, scrubs and shampoos in the walk in shower. ESPA fans will want to make a pilgrimage to the hotel just for the new ESPA Life SPA that covers four floors and includes an indoor pool, a vitality pool and–wait for it–an ice fountain.
Downstairs, the hotel’s two restaurants: Northhall and Massimo and the Bassoon Bar are abuzz with London’s Yummy Mummies, MP’s who work nearby and “Dragon’s Den”-like entrepreneurs who clearly feel the Corinthia is the fashion accessory of the moment. Dinining in Northhall is like a trip back in time to the glory days of the Empire with dishes on hand like Goosnargh Duck with Dauphinoise and Buttered Beans and St. Ives Seamed Lemon Sole with Cockles and Clams.
Notwithstanding all the shiny toys to play with, the Corinthia is grounded in luxe hotel 101: spot on service, quality product and a graciousness that reminds one of the old saying attributed to old school Ritz-Carlton staff: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”