Architectural Digest (UAE)

The Londoner

Set on the site of the former West End Odeon Cinema, this super-boutique hotel is taking Leicester Square upscale


It’s been a while since the word ‘chic’ was used to describe Leicester Square. Its reputation as a tourist trap – the clichéd kind that’s often associated with cosmopolit­an cities – precedes it. But on the other hand, it’s a London location like no other: Covent Garden and The National Gallery are seconds away, and the West End’s dazzling shows are on its doorstep. It was only a matter of time before someone with gumption and deep pockets would step in with a concept to bring Leicester Square some much needed pizzazz.

Enter, The Londoner, a $625 million project that’s been six years in the making. Spread across 16 storeys – six undergroun­d and nine above, topped with a rooftop lounge offering breathtaki­ng views – it has channeled all that is great about Leicester Square (and London) into a sumptuous urban retreat whose boutique hotel flourishes belie its mammoth proportion­s. With 350 guest rooms and 35 suites, a subterrane­an spa, a two-screen cinema, six restaurant­s and a 1,000-capacity ballroom, it is one of the biggest new hotels in the city. There’s a private members’ club to boot.

A legion of experts were enlisted to create a seamless experience befitting The Londoner’s

iconic location: from interior designers Yabu Pushelberg and global architects Woods Bagot, to the NYC-based artist Ian Monroe who collaborat­ed with the artisans at the British company Darwen Terracotta to individual­ly craft over 15,000 rich blue architectu­ral faience tiles that pierce through its Portland stone façade.

Guests are welcomed into a lavish drawing room-esque check-in lounge, where London’s identity as a creative melting pot informs every detail. From an expertly curated selection of art that ranges from classic and contempora­ry pieces to fashion images and sculptures, to a live performanc­e area dubbed The Stage, and furniture by emerging and establishe­d names, this space is a bridge to the electric spirit of the city. And the perfectly luxe spot for people watching.

Far from the bustle of the public areas, canary yellow corridors, which encircle an internal courtyard that doubles up as a yoga studio, lead to the opulent Tower Penthouse duplex suite and the 119sq/m Trafalgar suites. Guest can also choose from the King, Queen or Junior suites. Warm wood panels and calming, subtle pastels lend sophistica­tion and serenity to the rooms that are enlivened with on-trend curvy sofas, hand-crafted rugs, bespoke art and Hollywood-style vanity mirrors.

But it is in the winks and nods to British humour – binoculars on the bedside table, umbrellas with duck head handles and miniature art hidden behind peep-holes in the elevator – that The Londoner’s fun and irreverent spirit really shines. thelondone­

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