Getting dropped off at Corinthia Hotel London in a Rolls Royce Ghost while wearing my best suit and panama hat could have been the smuggest moment of my life so far. On second thought, valet parking an Aston Martin Vanquish out the front a day later might actually top the Rolls Royce moment.
Conveniently located at Whitehall Place, a stones throw from the River Thames and some of London’s most impressive landmarks, Corinthia is a hotel that truly has it all. The reception area and lobby are palatial and extremely impressive, as is the ‘Full Moon’ chandelier that hangs from the lobby roof. There’s a great energy about Corinthia with the Lobby Lounge and interior courtyard catering to business meetings and hotel guests enjoying afternoon tea and smoking cigars. The grand 125 year old Victorian building has been fully reconstructed with 294 contemporary rooms including 45 luxurious suites and the largest two bedroom suite in London. Outside of accommodation the hotel also features two restaurants, a four level Spa, two bars, a Harrods department store and a sprawling lobby lounge catering for afternoon tea and evening drinks.
Following a seamless check-in I was escorted to my room on the third floor where my luggage was waiting for me in the walk in wardrobe. The room was huge, even larger than my suite at the previous hotel. The hotel’s 294 rooms average 45m in size and are amongst the largest in their category in the cities’ luxury hotel market. The rooms are elegant and contemporary with multiple sitting areas including a desk and day bed. Like the room itself, the bathroom was colossal featuring a separate bath and shower and double vanity.
Shortly after checking in I headed to the hotel’s spa, ESPA Life for one of the most fantastic massages I’ve ever had followed by a couple of hours in the thermal pools and steam room. Split of four floors with multiple relaxation areas, saunas/steam rooms, treatment rooms, a gym, and thermal pools ESPA Life spa is certainly a place you can get lost in, both physically and psychologically. Pulling yourself out of the heated lounge chair is only made easier by the temptation of delicious cocktails at the Bassoon Bar upstairs, where I spent the next 3 hours.
The Bassoon Bar is a 1920’s Art Deco music room with smoky glass doors, sound waves on the ceiling and jazz-inspired art adorning the walls. It is everything you want a cocktail bar to be, intimate, luxurious and discreet. Cocktails are prepared behind Bassoon’s unique bar – a seven metre long piano and they are excellent. Nuts, Olives and Wasabi peas are served on the house for the entirety of your sitting and replenished constantly. It’s a clever ploy to keep you ordering drinks. The Smoked Margarita was my pick of the evening served with a Cohiba Siglo leaf and smoked salt rim.
Feeling rather chirpy we left Bassoon and headed to the palatial North Hall restaurant to sample their locally sourced British menu. The North Hall bar and the restaurant that runs off are as grand as the word grand gets. Guests can start their North Hall experience in the bar with a flight of champagne and then move into the impressive restaurant to join up to 185 guests and a view of the Thames.
The staff across the entire hotel, particularly the dining and bar areas are second to none, our restaurant service was perfect, attentive without being overbearing. The food was spectacular, I started with a terrine and moved onto a Cumbrian Beef fillet while indulging in a number of side dishes including a tasty buttered Kale. My orange infused Creme Brule was complimented by a delicious Austrian ice wine rounding out an impeccable dining experience. I spent the rest of my time in London recommending the Bassoon Bar/North Hall combo to everyone I met.
When I woke up the following day I headed straight to the steam room to excreate what was left of the alcohol from the night before. Once I left the hotel en route to the Aston Martin factory I realised I’d been in the hotel for almost 24 hours. Although my the following evening at the hotel wasn’t as indulgent as my first I managed to catch the tail end of the whisky table in the lobby lounge on my way home from dinner. I ordered a Caol Ila 25YO and sat down to reflect on my time at Corinthia. It is without doubt a fabulous hotel with superb facilities and excellent dining options. It’s a hotel you don’t really even need to leave and for the first evening I was there I didn’t.
For more info and bookings head to: http://www.corinthia.com/hotels/london/