New Britannia: London’s Boomlet of Modernist Hotels

London has long drawn visitors to its traditional Tudors, Edwardians, and Vics, architectural styles by turns traditionalist and stuffy and often reflected in its hotel décor. But as the city readied itself for two epic events—the Queen’s Jubilee and the 2012 Summer Olympics—its hotel sector started adopting more modernist and contemporary styles. And this has been a boon to more modern-minded travelers. Here’s a look at ten newly opened London hotels that are taking hospitality design to new heights and reinterpreting British style and comfort.

The generation of hotels began opening in 2011 and includes the work of Renzo Piano, David Chipperfield, and Sir Norman Foster, while big name designers, chefs and hoteliers, like Tara Bernerd, Anouska Hempel, David Collins, Nobu Matsuhisa and Ian Schrager have jumped on the London hospitality bandwagon too.

“We knew we had to create an exceptional experience for guests that would make the hotel stand out in an increasingly competitive design-led market,” says Giles Robinson, Partner, Foster + Partners of the new ME by Melia property in Covent Garden. “Every material we used has been carefully selected and items of furniture are bespoke, developed by our product design team and the rooms were extensively prototyped and tested to ensure every aspect of a visitors experience had been fully considered.”

Not only has this raised the bar for hotel design, but it’s kick-started a hotel migration away from the traditional luxury areas of Mayfair and Knightsbridge, allowing for fresher perspectives and a freeing of the tethered styles that accompanied the ideas of luxury design in Great Britain—often floral wingbacks, worn leather chesterfields, and dark oak paneling.

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