At last, it’s arrived. Having opened last November, The Westin London City is the first in the UK of the Westin Hotels & Resorts brand (part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of brands). Situated north of the Thames and bang in the centre of The City (London’s financial district) this hotel is close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Tate Modern, three iconic attractions as well as both Leadenhall and Borough Markets. By crossing the nearby bridge to the South Bank you can see London’s modern skyscrapers with wonderful nicknames such as The Gherkin, The Walkie Talkie, The Cheese Grater and The Shard. The hotel’s well served by City Airport and perfect for those in transit along with the business and meetings market.
The site overlooks the river Thames beside Queenhithe Dock, the oldest in London and where mudlarks actively seek their treasure. Consisting of two buildings that span a road the hotel is connected by a bridge which, as the spine of the hotel, contains the lobby, the restaurant and four floors of rooms from which to watch the world, or more specifically the City of London, drive by.
The lobby (‘The Haven’) is open and airy with a triple-height ceiling from which hangs impressive nebular or undulant art pieces. The opposite is ‘The Refuge’ with a warming fire and all the elegant furnishings come in organic flowing shapes which, along with a live wall of foliage, deliberately reference nature’s imperfections. With wenge wooden curvilinear corridors, the circles of carpeted areas and low lighting also echo nature. It’s all about form and shape and there’s a calming palette of natural colours in the functional and contemporary décor.
Of the 222 rooms, separated by corridors with earthy, green carpets, I recommend one with a river view. There are powerful showers, plush oversized pillows and chunky Egyptian cotton towels and robes as well as bedside lavender balm to encourage sleep. I am relaxing just writing about it. Indeed the lighting while sophisticated is part of the effortless technology on hand: neither oversensitive nor over-complicated nor flooded with options like some hotels. A circular rug offsets the straight dimensions and a pleasingly rounded headboard gives both a cosiness and a softness to the room.
Located on the main floor, straddling the road, amongst a great combination of matt gold, green foliage, marble tables and dark wenge wood is the all-day Mosaic Restaurant. Unlike most hotels, you can order either a half or full portion. Two of us opted for five delicious and light half portions from the ‘Eat Well Menu’ and for the breakfast, there’s even fresh papaya and mango.
‘Hithe + Seek’ is a third-floor bar with panoramic views across the river. It’s decorated sumptuously in grey, green and gold and the floors are inlaid with carpet giving it a stylish, organic and funky twist.
The wellness rooms all feel fresh and inviting. The generous length of the indoor pool, a rarity in London, is built above the remains of a bathhouse. It’s spanking new and super-clean, serene and not too chlorinated. The gymnasium has all the latest equipment, the ballroom doubles up as a vast conference room and there’s even a lounge offering complimentary snacks.
Known as ‘Heavenly Spa’ this chrome-pillared temple of marble is the epicentre of the hotel’s focus on wellness. For here is true silence liberated from the internet and from business and where the signature massage was exceptional offering a nurturing tailor-made choice between ‘gratitude’, ‘hope’ and ‘love’ in which all your needs are taken care of. It’s very impressive in every sense.
In contrast to the frenzy and chaos outside, the hotel brand espouses wellness within and guests can keep to their exercise regimes or else be guided by staff on runs conducted by the hotel’s own running concierge. They practise what they preach! Rooms from $410 or £309 per room per night