The entrance to the Corinthia, just steps from Trafalgar Square, Westminister and the River Thames, is discreet but impactful. Housed within a corner Victorian building, walking in immediately whisks you away to an era of elegance, thanks to award-winning firm G.A. Design, who encapsulates historical grandeur while still responding to contemporary needs. The ninth in a collection of five star hotels founded by the Pisani family of Malta, the 283 rooms, a flagship ESPA Life spa, Daniel Galvin hair salon, and fine-dining restaurant outlets appeal to a classic, refined sensibility.
Calming creams and dark wood accents feature in the lobby lounge, appropriately named Crystal Moon Lounge for the monumental, striking crystal chandelier that hangs from the high architectural ceiling. While the interiors are intimate – a remnant of its historied structure – the grand height, paired with restored Victorian columns and towering windows, allows light to stream in and lends a distinct modernity to the calm spaciousness. This sets the tone for its iconic Afternoon Tea – a timeless experience that Corinthia has recently refreshed.
“Historically, tea was a social occasion, therefore we have centred this quintessentially British ritual around our guests' enjoyment,” explains Benjamin Hofer, Director of Food & Beverage. “I am delighted to have introduced a more interactive service which encourages conversation and engagement.” With Steinway piano music filling the space, tea-goers ought expect a vintage Champagne trolley (with the possibility of Laurent-Perrier in Baccarat Mille Nuits Champagne flutes) to provide the selection of nibbles. Beginning with sandwiches – from egg mayo truffle with watercress on spinach bread to tandoori chicken, green apple and raison on white bread – plain and sultana scones follow with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Or, for the more experimental, rhubarb and tonka bean jam. Served in decorative boxes, these are easily the culinary highlight of the tea, but the true climax comes with the impressive finale: a second heritage trolley serving an indulgent selection of handmade pastries from Head Pastry Chef Lois Carbonnet. From chocolate peanut spheres and fruit tarts to homemade marshmallows, the thoughtful selection of baked treats pales in comparison to the vast curated selection of tea on offer, served in specially commissioned hand-pained bone china by Richard Brendon. While three bespoke blends exclusively for Corinthia include a medium strength blend of Earl Grey, Oolong and Assam with malty notes and honey-like sweetness with a hint of spice, there are also unique offerings such as Dragonwell, made from Lung Ching, a famous Chinese green tea only grown in the Zheijan Province of China which has a sweet, fruity aroma. Or, for those with a more adventurous palette, there is the China Milky Oolong, a distinct Gold Taste Award-Winning Oolong tea that despite having a clear honey appearance, has the creamy, silky taste of creamy vanilla.
Attention to detail with discretion is also embodied in its four-floor ESPA Life Spa, which descends under the hotel with a sleek, futuristic minimalism. The aesthetic implemented by G.A. Design includes opulent details such as Calacatta and black Italian marble, black and champagne lacquer panels, dark oak, textured leather, polished chrome and pewter art works. The effect incites a subdued, atmospheric ambiance and energy flow that travels from the spa restaurant and curtained sleeping pod room to the hidden changing rooms or thermal floors, whose maze-like contours reveal and veil intimate nooks for lounging, refreshing or simply resting in front of a crackling fireplace on heated marble lounges. The experience is soothingly tranquil.
Dedicated to providing a haven for those needing a city escape, the 3,300-square-metres offer a range of services to compliment health, fitness or rejuvenation, from alternative medicine and medical rehabilitation treatments to training, detox, sleep and weight loss options. This also includes a newly launched suite of six Mindfulness therapies developed with expert medical practitioners, which appeal to the mental and emotional facets as well as physical. Executed by a highly trained diverse team specialised in their techniques, visitors should feel confident that their specific requirements will be addressed, whether targeting technology-based strains on muscles and arms with a medical massage from David, or a revitalising treatment to combat jetlag and energy levels. But in addition to the 17 treatment rooms which will alleviate lifestyle stresses, there is also a swimming pool, vitality pool, and glass amphitheatre sauna to be explored, as well as premier nail and beauty salons – where guests can enjoy fresh juice or bubbles – and a state-of-the-art gym.
Focus on quality is the hallmark of the Corinthia. Featuring the largest rooms in the city, it recently introduced 11 new Garden and London suites. “We service a discerning traveller who wants something unique alongside the most up to-date technology,” says Corinthia Hotel London’s Managing Director Thomas Kochs. “It’s about an intelligent use of space. We have become known for our fabulous River and Penthouse suites and seven years on from opening, we want to continue to strengthen our position and present a new product in the market. We are a hotel that never stands still and continually upgrades our product to suit our guests’ evolving tastes and needs.” The Garden Suite pays homage to English gardens and overlooks the landscaped courtyard, with its 67-square-metres features a botanical colour scheme and a feature fireplace. The London Suite is inspired by the city it calls home, nodding to London’s modern living and providing cutting-edge technology and facilities with an emphasis on Cubist artworks through the 105-square-metre dual aspect suite.
Since opening in 2011, Corinthia London has shown that it appeals to both spheres of London living – offering tribute to its classical architecture and heritage while embodying modern elegance through contemporary touches that mirror the energy of the UK capital, and it is Edward Davies, Managing Director of G.A. Design that sums it up best: “We created a world-class, five-star luxury hotel for the 21st century in the style of a grand English home.” Elevated comfort, sophisticated familiarity, a fusion of history and modernity.