The London Foodie Guide
There are tons of new spots in London that are quickly becoming classics. Thanks to the arrival of Andre Balasz’ Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone is sprouting all kinds of greatness, plus there are loads of more affordable (and verifiably great) restaurants popping up all over town.
The Mondrian20 Upper Ground, Southwark | +44.80.8234.9523
The Mondrian hotel group is known for unabashedly glam, splashy launches, but this new addition has the makings of an icon. Originally built by American architect Warren Platner to be a hotel, it instead became the headquarters for a sea containers company that eventually went broke. London's designer of the moment, Tom Dixon and Universal Design Studio, completely revamped the building, with plenty of nods to Platner and the building's nautical past, including a copper-clad reception area resembling a ship's hull and the aptly named Sea Containers restaurant. Plus, the plush and thoughtfully turned-out rooms boast views of the Thames, something that no other London hotel can claim.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge | +44.20.7838.9888
You can't go wrong with this bastion of hotel excellence, particularly if you're willing to spring for the big-name price tag. The spa, as you'd expect, is exceptional, but it's the restaurants that stand out. Anything named after Daniel Boulud is going to impress your palate, and Bar Boulud (which now serves brunch) is no exception. Because you can also head downstairs for Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, of Fat Duck fame, you might be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave the hotel at all.
Rosewood Hotel252 High Holborn, City of London | +44.20.7781.8888
While Holborn is a little bit random, London's first, ultra-luxurious Rosewood Hotel has all the makings of a classic, from the grand courtyard entrance, to the Asian-inflected, but still very stately British décor, to the splashy Holborn restaurant and Scarfe Bar (featuring illustrator Gerald Scarfe’s humorous wall murals).
Chiltern Firehouse1 Chiltern St., Marylebone | +44.20.7073.7676
Fans of Andre Balazs's other achievements in hospitality (the iconic Chateau Marmont in LA and Mercer in NY) will not be disappointed by his first project in London, which features a Nuno Mendez-helmed restaurant and 26 well-appointed rooms. The décor comes courtesy of the French Studio Ko, who seamlessly integrated original features like the fireman's pole, brick and tilework, and fire doors with velvet seating, glitzy marble bars, and old-fashioned, flower-print carpeting. The rooms, too, offer that fun mix of plush comfort and architectural detail—all meticulously thought through. You'll find plugs for every region, Bose Bluetooth speakers, and a kitted out mini-bar. While the wonderful restaurant and bar are unendingly scene-y, the guest quarters are very private, making it an unexpectedly excellent and restful stay.