London is home to some of the most well-known hotels in the world: The Ritz, Claridge's and The Savoy are just some of the names that spring to mind. These hotels offer luxury accommodation in the West End. However, there has been a move in recent years towards high-end hotels setting their sights on areas of the city not typically associated with luxury in order to create new, experience-driven offerings for guests and local residents alike.
The shift in focus away from the West End is being driven by a number of factors. The blurring between business and leisure travel has seen corporate travellers seek hotels in central locations that have easy access to desirable areas such as Shoreditch and Southwark which have more of a buzz in the evenings.
The edge of the City has benefitted from this with Aldgate and Hoxton, for example, experiencing a rise in new hotel openings, which include new spaces not normally associated with hotels such as more diverse food & beverage offerings and open plan work spaces. South Place Hotel in Moorgate, for instance, which opened in 2012 and is operated by restaurateurs D&D London, houses six bars and restaurants, making it a destination for both guests, residents of the area and those who work nearby.
There has also been a recent trend towards private members’ clubs blurring the lines between the traditional club model and hotels. Many have long provided their membership base with accommodation – Home House, The RAC and the Hospital Club all spring to mind – but the recent opening of Soho House’s The Ned, a hotel and private members’ club in the City, is blurring these lines even further. What we’re seeing now is a move away from the traditional West End clustering of exclusive members’ clubs, typically in close to proximity to restaurants and bars, to properties which provide everything under one roof, including places to eat, drink, sleep and work and where membership is often not a requirement.
The impending opening of the Curtain Hotel and Members' Club in Shoreditch, for instance, will bring with it the first outpost of New York’s Red Rooster Harlem restaurant, and will include a members-only space to host gigs, secret events and BOOMCYCLE spinning classes.
The London hotel market continues to thrive, driven by high levels of overseas tourism, particularly from the United States which was recently reported as showing an 80 per cent year-on-year increase, driven by the historically low value of the pound against the dollar. As hotels continue to diversify, and provide multiple food & beverage experiences and more dynamic public spaces, they will also attract the patronage of local residents and those working nearby. As a result, locations with strong catchments of both, such as Aldgate and Shoreditch, will continue to attract this new wave of experience-driven clubs and hotels.