Capital growth: London (with the House of Parliament shown) is
enjoying a boom in hotel rooms.
The British capital will have up to 19,000 new
hotel rooms by 2008, according to VisitLondon, the tourism body
that represents the city. Over the next four years, 11,500 rooms
will open in the capital; an additional 7,786 rooms are likely if
London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games is successful.
The hotels are getting bigger, too. In 2001 and 2002, the
average size of a new hotel in the city was fewer than 100 rooms,
according to VisitLondon. In 2003, that number jumped to 158 rooms,
and by 2006, the average property here is projected to have 170
The city’s next challenge is to add convention space. Each
year, London turns away more than $50 million in conference
business due to the lack of a large, purpose-built convention
center, per a recent study by the Mayoral Commission. Several other
factors will be examined before a comprehensive recommendation is
made to the city, said commission chair Gerry Acher.
Brown’s Hotel has closed to undergo an extensive
renovation to its 117 guest rooms and public areas. The landmark
property, acquired by Rocco Forte Hotels in 2003, will add a
fitness center and a business center before reopening this
The London Marriott West India Quay Hotel &
Executive Apartments, with 301 guest rooms and 47
apartments, has opened at West India Quay. The property has 14
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has taken over management of
The Savoy. (See “Fairmont Ventures Into Europe,” Incentive
The Cumberland has completed a refurbishment
of its 900 guest rooms and 26 meeting rooms. The property, formerly
part of the Le Méridien portfolio, is the first hotel in Thistle
Hotels’ new upscale brand, Guoman.
The London Euston Plaza Hotel, with 150 guest rooms and 11
meeting rooms, has been reflagged as the Hilton London
The 248-room Dorchester is undergoing a
facelift. The project, to finish in June, includes the renovation
of meeting rooms and public spaces.
The 210-room Holiday Inn Docklands, which
opened in May 2003 at the ExCeL Conference & Exhibition Centre
complex, has been reflagged as the Crowne Plaza Hotel
The 396-room Riverbank Park Plaza
will open in April. The hotel will have 10 meeting rooms, two
ballrooms and the Thames Room, which will offer panoramic views of
the River Thames and the city skyline.
Caesars Entertainment and British developer Quintain Estates
and Development PLC plan to develop and operate a luxury casino
resort adjacent to Wembley National Stadium and Wembley Arena. The
project is part of a major redevelopment of the complex. The $600
million Caesars Wembley will feature a casino, a
400-room luxury hotel, a spa, shops, restaurants and meeting space.
But the bulldozers can’t begin to dig just yet: The plan is subject
to deregulation of the United Kingdom’s gambling laws; at press
time, the issue was still under review by the British