Hotels featuring a housing development is the latest marriage of enterprise to benefit home-owners, hoteliers and developers. London’s residential building boom is being matched by a development frenzy in the hotel sector. From budget to super-deluxe, the capital's hotel scene is more dynamic than ever, with more than 100 projects in the pipeline. Bringing the two sectors together in integrated developments is the latest way of sharing land and facilities.
Revised planning rules for certain areas of the capital have made the new trend possible. These are aimed at promoting mixed-use schemes — mini commercial hubs where people live, work and play.
A typical new hotel project is likely to have basement leisure facilities, street-level shops, restaurants or offices, hotel rooms on the upper floors and topped by apartments. They are the perfect one-stop-shop for home-owners wanting everything on their doorstep.
London already has exclusive apartment schemes where developers have put in place pay-as-you-go concierge services provided by outside contractors. But the new-style projects are much more mainstream, with flats for sale at affordable prices.
In tandem with this trend is the “apart-hotels” concept — buying hotel accommodation as an investment as well as a place to live for part of the year.
Some notable hotel-residential schemes are proposed or under construction at prime central locations, including the Swiss Centre in Leicester Square, W1. The unloved Sixties tower is to be demolished and a new five-star hotel built in its place. Ten penthouses will occupy the top floors, and there will be boutiques at street level and a casino underground. Architect Jestico & Whiles has designed an eye-catching translucent glass building that changes colour
with the seasons.
Home House, the fashionable West End club, is a frontrunner to operate a new boutique hotel at Bermondsey Square, SE16, a redevelopment of the antiques market site on Tower Bridge Road. It is billed as a new quarter, with 76 flats, art-house cinema, loft offices, bars, restaurants and a hotel, all situated around a public square for antiques stalls and other markets, from fashion to organic food. Flats will be launched soon, with prices from £325,000. Call DTZ Residential on 020 7710 8116.
Ninety apartments are being built alongside a new 170-room Silken Hotel at the intersection of the Strand and Aldwych, WC2. The listed façade of Marconi House, which forms part of the site, is being retained, while a new building will be clad in Portland stone. Completion is due at the end of next year. The flats are likely to come on to the market as rentals, according to estate agent EA Shaw. Call 020 7240 2255 for more details.
Last week, a new Radisson Edwardian hotel opened in Docklands. It is part of New Providence Wharf, a large waterside development moments from Canary Wharf and opposite the O2 arena. The hotel is linked to an apartment block called Ontario Tower, whose residents can make use of all the hotel services — from luxury spa to sky-lounge cocktail bar. A new release of flats and penthouses in the tower is due later this autumn. Call developer Ballymore on 0700 070 1701.
The splendid Gothic-Victorian edifice of St Pancras Chambers, NW1, which sits alongside the soon-to-open new Eurostar terminal, is being redeveloped by Manhattan Loft Corporation into 67 apartments and a new hotel, to be operated by Renaissance Marriott. Some flats will be released before completion in 2009. Call Hamptons International on 020 7758 8413.
Glamorous skyscrapers designed as “vertical villages” will also combine residential and hotel uses. At just over 1,000ft, The Shard, at London Bridge, SE1, is set to be the tallest building in Western Europe — 72 storeys of office space plus the 170-room Shangri La Hotel, 12 floors of apartments and a viewing gallery at the pinnacle.
Another development, One Blackfriars Road, SE1, is a 52-storey glass tower to be built by the Beetham Corporation. The Dubai-based Jumeirah Group will run the hotel. It is planned that a spa on the 26th and 27th floors will offer views across London, and a podium with cafés and restaurants will be wrapped around the base of the building.
Away from Home is a major exhibition and talks series that looks at new hotel design and development in the capital, including a talk on the London hotel design scene by Hip Hotels' Herbert Ypma on Wednesday 26 September.
The show runs until 27 October at New London Architecture, The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1. Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm; and Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission is free. See www.newlondonarchitecture.org.