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Review: the Corinthia hotel in London

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This is my review of the Corinthia hotel in London, together with some photographs from my visit.

As you can imagine, I get quite a few requests from PR agencies asking me if I want to have a tour of this or that hotel or join a press trip to somewhere obscure.  With very few exceptions (The Langham London, Conrad St James and the Qatar Airways Doha visits last year), I say ‘no’ because I don’t think it is a great use of my time or your reading time.

When the Corinthia hotel in London offered me a ‘show around’ so that I could review the property, however, I couldn’t resist.

The Corinthia is probably the most opulent London hotel to open in the last 20 years.  It is certainly the most opulent new build or office conversion.  Despite this, the property has a surprisingly low profile – I had never been through the doors since it opened in 2011 and I wasn’t even 100% certain where it was.

It sits on Whitehall Place, on the corner with Northumberland Avenue, between Trafalgar Square and the River Thames.  The main entrance is about 30 seconds walk from Embankment tube station if you turn left under the railway tracks.

Corinthia Hotel London review exterior 2

The building was originally The Metropole hotel which opened in 1885.  Requisitioned by the Government during World War 1 for office space, it had a further spell as a hotel afterwards until the Government again requisitioned it in the mid 1930’s.  It remained Government offices until the site was sold in 2007 with the hotel opening four years later after a £135m redevelopment.

The good news is that the money was spent on the public areas and bedrooms, partly designed by David Collins before he died.  Unlike many new hotels, the Corinthia has vast amounts of public space with two restaurants, a large lobby lounge which also serves food and two bars.

Here is the lobby lounge with an impressive chandelier:

Corinthia Hotel London review lobby rpt

The Northall restaurant is focussed on British cuisine:

Corinthia Hotel London restaurant 4

…. whilst Massimo is Italian focussed – it also a private dining room with its own open plan cooking area so you can watch the chef preparing your meal:

Corinthia Hotel London restaurant 3

The photographs in my review do not do full justice to the level of finish in the furnishings and fittings which is very high.  The hotel website has the usual glossy professional images on it.

The hotel even has a florist and, bizarrely, the only branch of Harrods outside an airport:

Corinthia Hotel London florist 2

I asked to review a typical entry level bedroom which the standard guest would receive.  They are well sized (the one I visited had a separate dressing area as well as a good sized bathroom) and very well furnished:

Corinthia Hotel London review bedroom rpt

…. albeit perhaps over-cushioned on the beds:

Corinthia Hotel London review bedroom rpt2

There is no executive lounge but there is a small business centre.  This is on the same level as the impressive spa, run by Espa:

Corinthia Hotel London review spa 2

There is a small pool which I didn’t see as it would have meant walking through the spa fully clothed and waving a camera around, much to the chagrin of the users!  Here is a library photo though:

Corinthia Hotel London review pool

I hope this reviews conveys how impressed I was by what I saw at Corinthia.  Whilst I haven’t eaten there or spent the night, it would be fair to discuss it in the same breath as the Four Seasons, Rosewood or (when it re-opens) The Lanesborough.

It doesn’t come cheap, of course, but there is a 3-for-2 sale on at present which is good for bookings until the end of August.  There is no loyalty scheme or airline miles opportunity at present – although it is available on which would earn Avios.

Corinthia also has a very well regarded hotel in Budapest if you are planning a trip there which looks like a major improvement on the Communist-era architectural disasters which dominate the upmarket hotel scene.  You can also find them in St Petersburg, Malta (x 2), Lisbon, Prague and, for the more adventurous, Tripoli and Khartoum.  Their current sale is open for bookings until the end of March.

The hotel home page is here if you want to check prices or book.

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Comments (40)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Mike says:

    Nice…but what about Cafe Hotel Royal on Regent Street with some rooms overlooking Piccadilly Circus?

    • Rob says:

      Haven’t been in there yet – keep meaning to go for a meal in the gilded dining room.

  • Jeremy Tasker says:

    Surprised that CHI hotels ‘offered’ to show you around the Corinthia hotel and in your article is no mentioning of their penthouse suites, of which you can only find a dozen in London hotels, 7 are in the Corinthia! Their penthouse suits are probably THE ultimate place to stay in Europe. Are you sure they ‘offered’ to show you around or you just had a look inside whilst in the area? I would guess it was the latter…

    • Casey says:

      I always thought HFP was nice because of the lack of rude comments. Maybe it’s just the Internet and my interpretation of your comment but you could have simply asked about the Penthouses to see if there was more information available for them.

      Personally I would never be able to stay in a Penthouse or luxury room and the well appointed standard rooms look great, so thank you Raffles!

      • Christian Young says:

        I don’t know but I am pretty sure that Raffles has better things to do than just wander around London looking inside random hotels. I stayed at the Corinthia in Budapest and it is a beautiful hotel and I would recommend it, the pool room is a wonder to behold.

    • Rob says:

      I was offered a look at a penthouse but I specifically declined as I thought it was not relevant to the HFP readership. I did see a River Suite – living room and the view of St Pauls and the river (and the trains!) is now on the Instagram feed, link in the top right corner.

  • Scottnothing says:

    I stayed at Corinthia London in 2011 over the Valentines weekend, after working out that it would be cheaper to stay a night (with free breakfast) than to pay for my other half to use the spa for the day! We made use of a “stay and spa” promotion, which was great value. The rooms were immaculate and the service unparalleled in my experience – for instance, there is a very flexible check-in/check-out policy which allowed us to keep our room until whatever time we wanted (i.e. 6pm) on the date of check-out.

    The spa is one of the best I have ever been to (and was totally empty on a Sunday morning). Since staying, I have met clients for breakfast meetings at the Northhall restaurant – the space and service there is excellent for short/informal meetings.

    Off the back of our stay at Corinthia London, I stayed at the ones in Malta (which is in sore need of a complete overhaul) and in Budapest (which even though being in a grand old building, is not even close to the opulence of Corinthia London).

    If you’re not footing the bill, or you can afford it, I highly recommend Corinthia London. It’s easily the most luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in (in Europe).

  • Peter says:

    Can’t possibly afford Corinthia London, but the one in Budapest is lovely. A top-notch spa, free for hotel guests, and well-appointed rooms and public areas. It has apartments, too, which are pretty good value. They occasionally do sales, when it’s possible to get decent rates.

    I actually prefer the location of the Communist monstrosities on the river, however.

  • Dee says:

    They do an awesome afternoon tea. You can wear what you want, unlike the Ritz, and, they normally have good availability. Although now that Raffles has spilled the secret, who knows…

    • Anders Mogensen says:

      Agree. I took our team of 20 consultants to afternoon tea at the Corinthia when we were in London last year for a conference. This was a very good experience.

  • Alan says:

    It looks like this hotel also participates in the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts programme. I just saw a report on Flyertalk this morning from a member who’d stayed there – two-level upgrade, £85 credit and decent free breakfast…

    • Jeremy Tasker says:

      My comments are neither snotty nor unneccssay but merely an observation that CHI wouldn’t invite someone around without stressing the main points of their property, or the author stressing the main points in his/her article?

      What’s wrong with that observation?

      • Rob says:

        As per above, they wanted to show them to me but I didn’t see the benefit. Perhaps the hotel did not ‘sell’ them to me well enough …. I was assuming a suite is a suite and as I had seen a River Suite I thought that would do.

        The main audience here is UK business travellers and high-end leisure travellers not Russian oligarchs or, sadly, Hollywood stars!

        I have tidied up some of the comments to keep the focus on the hotel.

      • Hugo says:

        We had a wonderful afternoon tea at the Corinthia a month or so ago, I would highly recommend it. Not a bad location for celeb spotting either, Natascha McElhone was at the next table with her agent and Al Pacino walked past with his entourage.

  • Steve says:

    The restaurants also do a wine night (I think it’s Wine Wednesdays) and while the wine list is generally priced as you’d expect for a hotel like this, and the guest wines can sometimes be punchy, they sometimes do some stunning bargains on Wednesdays.

  • Thomas says:

    Know it well. Nice hotel. Like the Jazz/piano bar.

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