Corinthia Hotel London: 5-Star Quality & the Best UK Spa in the City

Corinthia Hotel London: 5-Star Quality & the Best UK Spa in the City

Stunning and almost surreal, in style and size, a stay at London’s Corinthia Hotel is well worth it, even if only for its superb spa spanning four floors. Close to the River Thames and on the doorstep of Trafalgar Square, Westminster and Covent Garden, this luxury property with a distinct contemporary palatial ambiance, opened four years ago.

Corinthia Hotel LondonPhoto Courtesy of Corinthia Hotel London

Transformed from a grand Victorian building dating from 1885, guests are greeted by a dazzling, 1,000-crystal bauble, Full Moon Baccarat chandelier created by Chafik in the lobby lounge. Nearby, pistachio and rose leather armchairs beckon guests to enjoy a cocktail or the hotel’s traditional afternoon tea. A central table festooned with flower arrangements by in-house florist Ercole Moroni, adds splashes of color to the scene. Even the elevator doors display the hand of artistry, with the imprints of leaves from trees along nearby Northumberland Street engraved on them.

afternoon teaPhoto Courtesy of Corinthia Hotel London

Traditional afternoon tea makes for a special treat with 23 varieties blended by Harney and Sons, served on Edward’s bone china, under various categories such as Flavored and Herbal, Black Blends, Black Single Estates, Green, Oolongs and White and Historical (the Winston Churchill, a Lapsang Imperial, was particularly rich and malty). Laurent-Perrier Champagne, both brut and rosé, complement the package.

Served alongside the teas are several varieties of sandwiches such as Loch Var smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives; Severn & Wye smoked trout and cucumber; and Mrs. Kirkham's Lancashire cheese and Picalilli. Desserts are a story onto themselves, with chapters entitled Dark and Stormy and Bramble. I couldn’t resist ordering more Pistachio Chantilly which comes with white chocolate and pistachio dacquoise dessert cake, crispy topped choux, roasted white chocolate, crémeux and raspberry.

corinthia hotel londonPhoto Credit: Columbia Hillen

Beyond the lounge are the hotel’s two main restaurants, the flamboyant, Italian-styled Massimo, with its rows of candy-striped pillars and dazzling floor designs by David Collins; and the Northall, created by GA Designs. The latter sits next to a flower shop and a Harrods boutique selling pastel-colored boxes of chocolates and scented candles. Dinner in the Northall is thoroughly British, with Cumbrian beef, Dover sole and game birds from the Lake District, Sussex, Dunfries and Galloway on its menu.

Corinthia Hotel LondonPhoto Credit: Columbia Hillen

I recommend the shellfish bisque with crab and crayfish ravioli as a starter—light but wholesome in its flavors with a fine mix of herbs including lemon verbena and basil—and the roast grouse with orange infused pearl barley risotto, puffed rice and buttered kale with prune jus as a main. I have become quite a fan of barley risotto, with its wonderfully nutty texture and wheat flavor. It seems to be a firm favorite of many kitchens nowadays, together with in-vogue kale. No better way to finish the evening than with the vanilla and salted caramel cheesecake which comes with walnut ice cream over a bed of crumbled brownie and an apricot puree garnish.

Corinthia Hotel LondonPhoto Courtesy of Corinthia Hotel London

In the mornings, the breakfast buffet is displayed under a large candelabra in a room adjoining the Northall. Sheets of gold-colored, metallic-like paneling adorn the ceiling, with mirrored walls below and tall pillars. Among the foods offered are Chinese dishes such as dim sum, as well as a rare jewel of breakfast buffets like health-giving bee pollen grains. The range of fruit and fish is impressive with three different types of berries and salmon, mackerel, trout and halibut to choose from.

Corinthia Hotel LondonPhoto Courtesy of Corinthia Hotel London

Our room was spacious, with a high ceiling and a contemporary, chic design. Satin bed covers, a tufted headboard and decorative cushions reflected a sense of timeless elegance. A large walk-in wardrobe and separate shower and bathtub completed the ensemble. A lovely touch was the delicate black box containing luxury chocolates by William Curley left on the bed each evening. The hotel also offers seven penthouses, individually designed according to different themes, such as music, writing, exploring and acting.

Corinthia Hotel LondonPhoto Courtesy of Corinthia Hotel London

A highlight of the Corinthia, is its ESPA Life spa managed by Renaud Gregoire featuring 17 treatment rooms and was voted by Condé Nast Traveler readers as the Best UK Hotel Spa in 2014. Displaying dramatic Calacatta and black Italian marble, roaring modern fires and dark oak furnishings, the facilities include a silver steel indoor pool, a central, all-enclosed glass amphitheater-style sauna, vitality pool with water massage jets, a black mosaic steam room, an ice fountain and heated relaxation beds. For something different, we tried a bamboo massage, the instrument being used as an aid for joint release, as well as an ESPA Time, which includes a consultation, full-body massage and an invigorating, deep tissue facial. There is also a 24-hour gym.

Corinthia Hotel LondonPhoto Courtesy of Corinthia Hotel London

Being so close to so many of London’s visitor highlights including the lively West End, convenience is reason enough to stay at the Corinthia. Add to this the choice of two very diverse restaurants, a fine cocktail lounge and a wonderful spa, and it’s hard to find a reason not to stay there.

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