Business travel used to be a luxury-lite experience, featuring trouser presses, UHT milk and conference calls in your dressing gown. However, times (and travellers’ needs) are changing. The line between business and leisure has never been so blurred, and ‘bleisure’ – like the word or loathe it – is rife on the London hotel scene. From co-working spaces, round-the-clock amenities and fuss-free service, to destination restaurants and VIP transfers, these are the city’s best hotels for globetrotting worker bees.
When superstar hotelier Michael Achenbaum opened this hotel and members club, it provided east London with another of the capital’s most exclusive hot spots. Exposed brickwork, warehouse interiors and the in-house Tattoo Studio make it the perfect match for its Shoreditch surrounds. Its co-working space – Design Studio – is open to members and hotel guests alike and comes with a private boardroom, meaning those travelling with colleagues can talk shop in more intimate environs. A dip in the plunge pool post-meeting is non-negotiable.
Read the full review: The Curtain
White City House
White City House, another big-hitter from ‘bleisure’ pioneers Soho House, is in the old BBC Television Centre. The 45-bedroom members’ club and hotel is decked out in mid-century style furnishings – and filled with hot-desking professionals. The Allis, its all-day social space which is open to all, makes working on-the-move a pleasure: there’s an outdoor terrace for business travellers who are really looking for an out-of-office experience, while the open kitchen makes for an informal communal meeting area. The bedrooms are all former offices too.
This cool, young brand is a favourite of business travellers who don’t want any fuss. Its DIY-style service means that guests check in using screens and there’s also serve-yourself-style dining and a co-working space. In the bedrooms, screens by the bed control temperature, lighting (which can be coloured to enhance your mood) and curtains. If you’re after trouser presses, bellboys and pillow chocolates you won’t find them here – and that’s a good thing.
Read the full review: CitizenM Bankside
Kimpton Fitzroy London
Travelling for business can be frazzling. Not at Kimpton Fitzroy London though. Originally the Hotel Russell, it underwent a £75m refurb and is now one of London’s most luxurious hotels. It’s the amenities that really make this hotel stand out for busy business travellers. There’s a 24-hour concierge for middle-of-the-night emergencies (phone chargers, anyone?), in-room massages and yoga mats for pre-presentation meditating. ‘Forgot it? We go it!’ bathroom cards mean the concierge will go out and buy you any overlooked toiletries.
Read the full review: Kimpton Fitzroy London
This cool neighbourhood-feel hotel is right next door to Paddington station (and the Heathrow Express) and it’s a no-brainer for professionals with packed itineraries. Check-in and out are a no fuss affair: it’s all done online and a 24-hour key pickup service means not relying on reception staff to be on-hand – ideal for those arriving at ungodly hours. Two-hundred-year old parquet flooring and a mix of new and vintage furnishings in rooms give this place a laid-back charm, and each floor has its own open all hours pantry with snacks and hot drinks. The outpost of Workshop Coffee on the ground floor will provide fuel for a day of meetings.
Read the full review: The Pilgrm
Ace Hotel London
Arguably the original ‘bleisure’ hotel, Ace Hotel London has been attracting a stream of nomadic workers (and their Macbooks) since it opened. Why? Its lobby/co-working space is one of the best in the captial. Covered in greenery and styled with mid-century pieces, it feels distinctly non-corporate, not least because of its cool coffee shop serving Square Mile Coffee and kale salads. Teeming with locals (and their equally cool pooches), Ace is a buzzy yet functional place to do business and regularly changing events give it a real energy. Fun amenities in the bedrooms (vinyl players, guitars) encourage further creativity.
The Ned is by far the most fun place to do business in the City. Located right next to Bank station (and the only hotel in the vicinity), it’s the spot for organising business lunches, dinners and drinks with Square Mile workers. Eight restaurants on the colossal, marble-laden main floor serve a myriad of cuisines from New York deli-style fare to refined Japanese. French-inspired Café Sou is a laid-back spot for nomadic workers to set up shop. It is also worth noting that hotel guests have access to members’ zones when they need to catch up on emails. Bedrooms might be on the small side but you’ll hardly spend any time in them.
Read the full review: The Ned
Nobu Hotel Shoreditch
Robert de Niro’s side-hustle as a hotelier served London a trump card when he opened the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Of course, the famed in-house restaurant is reason enough for those after a memorable dining experience to stay at the cutting-edge cool hotel but it’s gone one better. Room service here is of the highest calibre, serving guests too busy or tired to leave their rooms with the same food served in the restaurant – even the world-famous miso black cod. Perfect for the ultimate dinner for one.
London Hilton Bankside
This Hilton outpost, located near Borough Market, the Tate Modern and Flat Iron Square, is one of the chain’s quirkiest. Its meeting spaces are extensive (taking over the whole bottom floor) with one having been recently designed by experiential mavericks Bompas & Parr. The Agora, dubbed the ‘world’s best meeting room’, features a scent-dispensing ‘push for creativity’ button, brain-boosting teas with bee pollen and kelp, and some serious tech. Bedrooms are calm, spacious and seriously comfortable.
Read the full review: London Hilton Bankside
The London EDITION
Ian Schrager’s London EDITION, set on a quiet street in convenient Fitzrovia, has built up a serious fan base among globe-trotting professionals. Portable computers, mobile phones and fax machines are all available to guests on request, as well as an executive butler service and 24-hour multilingual secretarial staff. The other reason? Jason Atherton’s Berners Tavern, which is always full and particularly popular with glossy magazine editors and fashion types enjoying power breakfasts, lunches or dinners.
Read the full review: The London EDITION
Dorsett City Hotel
Offering a mix of British charm and Asian hospitality, this 13-storey hotel in Aldgate makes the minutiae of travelling abroad for work as hassle-free as possible. Dorsett City provides every one of its guests with a ‘Handy’ smartphone, allowing them to make international phone calls and use the internet at no additional cost – very handy indeed. A 24-hour restaurant also means that those flying at unsociable hours can get a hot meal (think fish and chips, chicken Kiev and other comfort food classics) when they leave or arrive. Access to the City is a doddle by foot.
Read the full review: Dorsett City Hotel
Sea Containers London
The Slick Sea Containers is a dominating presence on the South Bank and has a hard-to-rival list of extras that make it attractive to modern business travellers. Its brand new Lyaness bar (replacing the legendary Dandelyan) is the talk of the town and a swish place to entertain colleagues or clients; the in-house Curzon cinema gives those who don’t know anyone in London a good place to unwind; and the huge Agua spa comes with glamourous treatments for guests who need pampering before important business events.
Serious CEO’s should head Knightsbridge-way to The Berkeley hotel. As well as its elegant décor, faultless service and swish rooftop pool, it is the hotel’s travel perks that make it stand out for smart business travellers on the move. Its VIP premier service operates between the hotel and London Heathrow Airport: guests are welcomed straight off the aircraft before being taken to a suite while chauffeurs deal with security. There’s even an option of organising private jet travel.
Read the full review: The Berkeley