The Londoner hotel: Luxury comes to Leicester Square


Luxury and Leicester Square don’t normally go together. Crowded with tourists, the postcode is more synonymous with steak houses and cinemas than sybaritic living. But a blockbuster new hotel is changing all that: The Londoner bills itself as the world’s first super boutique hotel, offering a sophisticated, serene stay in the heart of the West End.

The hotel reportedly cost £500 million to build and took 14 years to complete. It has also been working hard to attract the right crowd, from hosting London Fashion Week and Frieze art fair events to award ceremonies, and enlisting fashion designer Daniel w. Fletcher to design its Christmas tree.

The responsibly-minded hotel secured a strictly stipulated ‘Green Loan’ for the build, rewarded for its environmental and sustainable performance and solutions. This includes an advanced food waste management system and carefully selected brand partners, including Bette, noted for its natural and recycled bathroom fittings, and Miller Harris bathroom amenities. The swimming pool, meanwhile, is protected by a biodegradable liquid cover to reduce heat loss and evaporation.

Which is all well and good – but what is it actually like to stay at The Londoner? Here’s everything you need to know…

the londoner the residence

Image: Andrew Beasley


For all its frenetic energy, Leicester Square’s central location is hard to beat. Guests can walk swiftly to Soho, Theatreland, Mayfair and Marylebone, or hop on the tube to venture further afield. Watch this space, too, as lofty plans are afoot to develop the area.

Rooms and decor

The Londoner has been lavishly designed by a heavyweight team, including hotel design veterans Yabu Pushelberg (also behind Pan Pacific London), architectural firm Woods Bagot and artist Ian Monroe, who created the hotel’s blue tile facade. Contemporary art fills the property, including works by British artists Tracey Emin, Marc Quinn and Antony Gormley, alongside photography by Tim Walker. Artist Andrew Rae created a large-scale metallic ‘moon-head’ sculpture for the lobby, which takes its cue from the West End’s theatrical roots.

With 350 rooms across 16 stories, this is a big, slick, and architecturally impressive operation. Floor-to-ceiling windows in every room are triple-glazed, to fully shield you from the clamour down below. Serenity is enhanced by soothing, neutral tones of creamy caramel and blush pink. Elsewhere, The hotel’s most impressive suites come with Olivia Von Halle silk pyjamas, Burberry trench coats and sweeping skyline views.

Food and Drink

With six bars, restaurants and lounge spaces, there is little reason to leave The Londoner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at Whitcomb’s, the ground-floor French-Mediterranean restaurant. There is live music on weekends at The Stage, the adjoining lobby bar, which also serves afternoon tea.

Things can get pretty busy on ground level, so for guests seeking something more secluded there is The Residence, a private guest-only space with lounges and a dedicated whisky bar.

The crowning glory, however, is 8 at the Londoner, the rooftop izakaya bar and restaurant, with panoramic views of Nelson’s Column, the London Eye and Big Ben. Take it all in while sipping on sake and Japanese spirits, or huddle around a firepit in the Shima Garden.

the londoner spa

Image: Andrew Beasley

Special Touches

The Retreat is the hotel’s subterranean spa, set in one of the deepest basements in London. There is a swimming pool flanked by poolside cabanas, which can be reserved by guests in advance, alongside a gym and hair salon. Non-guests can also book any number of spa treatments and wellness programmes.

Also below ground level is a ballroom, meeting rooms and two Odeon cinemas (this is Leicester Square after all).

The Verdict

The Londoner is a pin-sharp choice for travellers looking for a luxurious stay in the heart of the West End. Start your day with a swim, catch a theatre show in the evening, and enjoy a nightcap on the rooftop bar, before a sound and superlative sleep.

From £400 per night, visit

Read more: The best five-star hotels in London

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