Chances are you haven’t received an invitation to the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey on May 6, but you can nonetheless join the merrymaking in the streets by splurging on a London getaway.
Whether you want a classic English hotel in the heart of Mayfair or a bold newcomer at the reinvented Battersea Power Station, here are five stylish places to put on your short list. Some are new, others are storied properties with striking new restaurants, cafes, bars and spas. A number of them are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the coronation with special afternoon tea menus and coronation canapés, cocktails, dinners, even whiskey-infused “coronation lollipops.” (As you might expect, some of these hotels will have higher rates during that time.)
Can’t make it for the festivities? There’s still a lot to look forward to in the British capital this year, including posh new hotels from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Maybourne Hotel Group, 1 Hotels, the Peninsula Hotels and Raffles Hotels & Resorts, which is planning to open Raffles London at the OWO in the Old War Office building. In short, if you’re a luxury hotel buff, this is the year London’s calling.
A glamorous and enduring stop for afternoon tea, this 269-room-and-suite Art Deco-style hotel dates to the mid-1800s and has long been a destination for royals and dignitaries. Lately it’s made some handsome additions, including a cafe that opened in February with coffee, kombucha and Champagne to-go; a cocktail bar called the Painter’s Room; and a spa by the Hong Kong-born designer André Fu, who drew inspiration from Japanese temples and Zen gardens in Kyoto. In May, the hotel, part of Maybourne Hotel Group, will put some of its historical archives on display in the lobby’s Coronation Archive Windows, including fans created in 1911 for the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, Claridge’s menus and cocktail cards made for the coronations of King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, pages from Queen Victoria’s diary, as well as original coronation photographs, programs and official souvenirs. Guests who stop to see the visages of famous guests at the hotel’s Talking Heads Gallery will also find a new portrait of Charles by David Downton, known for his fashion illustrations.
Should you be in the mood for a celebratory drink, you’ll be in luck: Claridge’s has a tradition of creating coronation specialties, and the upcoming coronation will be no exception. In the Painter’s Room, a special drinks menu will feature the Coronation Cocktail (22 pounds, or about $27), made with fino sherry, dry vermouth, Kina L’Aéro d’Or, agave and orange bitters. Or try the Highgrove Gardens (£22) — named for Charles’s gardens at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire residence — with Tanqueray No. 10, vanilla, herbs, bitters and soda.
Claridge’s is within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, where Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, along with other members of the royal family, are slated to appear on the balcony after the coronation service. When you want a break from the hubbub in the streets, head to the hotel’s spa and heated pool. Or stop into Claridge’s ArtSpace, a gallery with rotating exhibitions and free admission, before grabbing casual fare, like a crepe or a sandwich, at the new Claridge’s ArtSpace Café. Rooms from £1,140 a night.
A graceful retreat overlooking Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, the Mandarin Oriental reopened a few years ago after an extensive restoration. Last year, it introduced the Aubrey, a Japanese izakaya. Next up: coronation revelry.
Whether you check in or simply pass by the Mandarin between May 5 and 8, you’ll find the front facade of the hotel illuminated blue, one of the colors of the official coronation emblem unveiled by Buckingham Palace. Guests of the 194-room-and-suite hotel, as well as passers-by, can try coronation lollipops infused with whiskey, free from May 6 to 8 between 5 and 6 p.m. at the hotel’s ballroom entrance. And from May 5 to 8, between the hours of “19:48 and 20:23” — a nod to the life of Charles, from his birth in 1948 to his coronation in 2023 — guests can enjoy complimentary coronation canapés at the Mandarin Bar and at the Rosebery, a sparkling spot for afternoon tea, sandwiches, scones and Champagne cocktails.
At the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, where the cuisine is inspired by historical British gastronomy, a four-course Royal Cooking menu will feature reinventions of dishes served at British coronation banquets through the ages. The entrees will include coronation chicken tart, veal sweetbread and fillet of beef royale, and will be available from May 1 to 31 (£155 a person). There will also be a coronation afternoon tea at the Rosebery from April 17 until May 14 (£95 a person). When you’re not in the middle of a four-course meal, you can unwind at the spa or swim laps at the 56-foot indoor pool. Rooms from £870 a night.
After being shuttered for about 40 years, the Battersea Power Station — fans of Pink Floyd may recognize the landmark from the cover of the band’s 1977 album, Animals — has been reimagined, restored and opened to the public for the first time. Its redevelopment has spawned a neighborhood on the Thames with shops, restaurants, homes and, now, the 164-room art’otel London Battersea Power Station.
Art’otels have sprung up in cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin, and each is inspired by a particular artist. At art’otel London Battersea Power Station, which officially opened in February on a new pedestrianized street called Electric Boulevard, the colorful art and youthful interiors are by the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. For outdoor fun, head to the roof, where a heated infinity pool offers bird’s-eye views of the city and the power station. Don’t just look from afar, however. Stroll over to the power station where, inside, exposed beams and old gantry cranes hark back to the station’s industrial past. These days, any energy being generated comes from people milling around shops and places to eat and drink, including Control Room B, a bar in one of the original control rooms where you can sip aptly named cocktails, like High Voltage, amid restored switch gear and synchroscopes. For 360-degree views of the skyline, visit Lift 109, a glass elevator that ascends the power station’s northwest chimney to a viewing platform 358 feet above ground. If you’re there for the coronation, you can see the station decorated in red, white and blue, and have the chance to catch some live performances.
Back at the hotel, managed by Park Plaza Hotels, you can grab a bite at JOIA (“jewel” in Portuguese), a new Iberian restaurant and bar from the Portuguese chef Henrique Sá Pessoa. Or tuck into some pasta or Venetian cicchetti at TOZI Grand Cafe. Rooms from £429 a night.
This elegant Regency-style gem makes it easy to steep yourself in British history — and then snap up the latest fashions at nearby Harrods and Harvey Nichols. The 93-room-and-suite hotel, which began life as a country house, is within walking distance of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, putting guests at the center of the royal action. Then again, you can enjoy the occasion without ever leaving the hotel. From May 2 through 12, a five-course King’s Coronation Celebration dinner will be available beneath the glass roof of the Lanesborough Grill. A modern British restaurant with the executive chef Shay Cooper, the Grill will have dishes such as a coronation crab salad, roast Orkney scallop with potted Lytham shrimp butter, and a main of hogget (meat from a more mature sheep that’s not yet a mutton), which the hotel notes is a favorite of Charles (£125 a person with an option for a £95 wine pairing per person).
The day after the coronation service, May 7, there will be a King’s Coronation Sunday Lunch with joints of British beef carved at the table from antique trolleys, complete with trimmings (£95 a person). You can also sip a martini-style cocktail called the King’s Coronation at the hotel’s popular Library Bar (where there’s cognac dating to the 1770s) and at the Lanesborough Grill. Rooms in May from £1,000 a night. A coronation celebration package that includes accommodations, car transfers from the airport, daily English breakfast, a bottle of Champagne and a five-course dinner at the Lanesborough Grill is available as well. Stay minimums apply on certain dates, and pricing for the package depends on the room category chosen. On peak dates from May 5 to 8, for example, packages begin at £1,562 a night for two people sharing a deluxe room (based on a minimum three-night stay).
If you’d prefer to steer clear of the crowds near Buckingham Palace, yet still experience some of the city’s best bars, restaurants, street art and fashionable haunts, head to Shoreditch in East London, where One Hundred Shoreditch opened last year.
In keeping with the area’s creative spirit, the 258-room-and-suite hotel has a gallery and art space known as the Workshop, where you might discover an exhibition or a pop-up retail shop. Head to the Rooftop bar and terrace — which aims to evoke Palm Springs, Calif. — for views, Champagne, sparkling wines, cocktails and small plates like tacos, amid succulents and cactuses. There’s also the Lobby Bar for cocktails, beer, wine and pizzas and, in the basement, the Seed Library bar. For a caffeine fix, the Coffee Shop has Ozone Coffee as well as baked goods, sandwiches and smoothies. And should you find yourself enjoying the Shoreditch restaurant scene a little too much, you can work off a pastry or two on a bike at the hotel’s Peloton studio. Rooms from £169 a night.
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