A stay at Corinthia London
The first thing that struck me about the 5 star Corinthia London when I stayed there, was how utterly huge everything is.
From the vast central lobby lounge with its soaring dome and chandelier made of 1,001 crystal baubles, to the high-ceilinged pillared restaurant, to the enormous breakfast room, huge ballroom, conference rooms and outside courtyard, everything at the Corinthia is super-sized.
This luxury hotel in central London has got 225 rooms, 51 suites, seven penthouses, two top restaurants, a Champagne bar and a multi-award-winning spa, covering four floors and containing two pools, a sauna, ice fountain and 17 treatment rooms.
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The busy central lobby alone – where everyone from politicians, tourists, ladies who lunch and aspiring business tycoons meet for power coffees and afternoon tea – is the size of most hotels. Corinthia London is a destination in itself.
Corinthia London history
As it is so hard to miss, taking up a whole block of central London real estate between Embankment tube station and Whitehall, I was surprised I hadn’t been inside before.
Originally the Hotel Metropole when it was built back in 1885, its location on Whitehall Place, just round the corner from Downing Street, made it a perfect Government building and was taken over by the Ministry of Defence in 1936.
Following the sale of the building in 2007 the hotel has now been restored to its original style, with many rooms having access to their own private terraces. Its Royal Suite claims to be the largest two-bedroom suite in London.
However while the hotel is grand and luxurious on a vast scale, it isn’t without a sense of fun and style too. Visitors to the loos on the ground floor will wonder why there seems to be a familiar voice reading poetry to them: it’s part of the I Can Foundation supported by the Corinthia and means your trip to the smallest room will be accompanied by Shakespeare, Wordsworth or Beethoven. It sounds strange but it’s certainly memorable!
While the talking loos were fun and diverting, we couldn’t wait to head to Corinthia Spa, one of the best hotel spas in London and quite possibly the largest spa in the capital.
London hotel spas aren’t known for their space, but Corinthia Spa is an exception: the spa is on several floors and contains a 15 metres heated indoor swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool, treatment rooms, opulent changing rooms, heated marble loungers, sauna and steam room.
There are also private sleep pods and an ice fountain to boost the circulation after all that relaxing.
I could have happily spent all day here but a few hours had to be enough and certainly give this London hotel stay a proper holiday feeling. Most hotels in London are simply a place to rest your head in between shopping, eating and taking in a West End show, but the Corinthia Spa makes the entire hotel a real destination stay.
Corinthia London restaurants
We had dinner booked at the hotel’s restaurant, Northall. I don’t think I’ve eaten in a room with higher ceilings and with the pillars it looked like an old Roman temple.
The other restaurant at Corinthia London is now Kerridge’s Bar & Grill headed by renowned Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, It’s his first London restaurant and according to the hotel offers a menu which plays on Tom’s reputation for serving his take on the UK’s most celebrated dishes.
The vast curved room with views of The Thames is worth a visit in itself but the food is reputed to be impeccable.
Cocktail hour at the Corinthia
Not wishing to call it a night just yet, we then headed to the Bassoon Bar (now called Velvet) for a couple of cocktails accompanied by a jazz singer playing the guitar: our waiter was happy to replace our iPad menus with traditional printed ones, and then equally happy to return with the iPads once we’d realised it was useful to see what size the drinks were. As befits a London Champagne bar the cocktails weren’t cheap but they were well made and perfect for a nightcap.
After a great night’s sleep – having slept through a thunderstorm, thanks to Corinthia London’s excellent double-glazing – we enjoyed a top-class breakfast and then – what joy! We returned to the spa for even more relaxing – what a civilised way to start the day.
Hotel information and to book Corinthia London
Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD
Tel: 020 7930 8181
Note: I visited this hotel in 2016 but frequently revisit and update this review to ensure accuracy and relevance.
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