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This Luxury London Hotel Was Decades in the Making

Peninsula Hotels spent 30 years looking for the perfect location in London—and then spent $1.25 billion on the development

The Peninsua / Photo: Courtesy of Milo Brown

More than 35,000 people contacted The Peninsula hotel in London before it opened—and that was just job hunters. Despite a U.K.-wide shortage of hospitality workers, Belgravia’s latest five-star offering is a major draw for guests and staff alike.

A purpose-built hotel in the British capital is a rarity, as most involve a refashioning of a historic building. Not so The Peninsula. The Asian hotel chain spent 30 years looking for the perfect location in London—and then spent a cool $1.25 billion on the development. After demolishing the original office structure, the resulting foursquare hotel—inspired by the Palazzo Farnese in Rome—houses 190 rooms and suites, 25 luxury residences and a cobble-stone internal courtyard, dominated by a pair of 120-year-old Japanese maple trees.

Exterior overlooking Hyde Park / Photo: Courtesy of Will Pryce

A welcoming space for guests arriving by car, the area is more relaxed than entering on a busy sidewalk. It also houses The Peninsula’s fleet of very special autos, including a 1935 Rolls-Royce and an electrified Austin-Healey cab. London is one of the few Peninsula properties without a helipad, supposedly because of its proximity to Buckingham Palace.

Immaculately dressed pages glide around the spacious lobby, with Palladian-style landscape murals as a backdrop. Perfumer Timothy Han has created a signature scent to soothe guests, adding a springlike freshness to an area bathed in natural light.

Brooklands terrace / Photo: Courtesy of The Peninsula

The rooftop Brooklands restaurant provides a vantage point for spectacular views across the city, while the decor celebrates the best of British engineering. Diners arrive in an elevator styled like a hot-air balloon basket, while a 44-foot model of Concorde is suspended from one ceiling.

The Peninsula, guest room / Photo: Courtesy of Will Pryce

Every sumptuous bedroom, designed by American Peter Marino, features original artwork with a garden theme. Many offer floor-to-ceiling windows, with vistas across historic Wellington Arch to Hyde Park beyond.

A valet box by the door allows room service staff to deliver or collect trays without disturbing guests. The luxury touches extend to the bathroom and dressing rooms—just in case you require a nail polish dryer.

The intimate Canton Blue Chinese restaurant on the ground floor is complemented by traditional afternoon tea in a lobby area fitted with chandeliers and bedecked with crisp white tablecloths. A grand piano is parked above on the mezzanine level, entertaining guests as they sip Earl Grey.

The Peninsula, spa / Photo: Courtesy of The Peninsula

Few hotels in London can match The Peninsula for quality and detail—for now at least. As the property debuts alongside a new Mandarin Oriental, Raffles and 1 Hotel, the British capital is truly upping its game for well-heeled travelers.