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Kempinski lands in London with two distinctive hotels

Travel News Asia 5 August 2004

Kempinski Hotels & Resorts is building its presence in London with the double coup of representing two very different, character-filled properties. The Courthouse Kempinski in Soho and the Bentley Kempinski in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea give the group footholds in two of the capitals most talked about areas.

The Courthouse Kempinski, in the final stages of a stunning transformation, will open at the end of the summer. The Bentley Kempinski, which opened in October 2003, was re-flagged August 1, 2004. Both hotels are owned by the Sanger family, with these ventures heralding the beginning of a partnership between the owners and Kempinski.

The addition of these two hotels of distinction in London marks another important step in the international expansion of the Kempinski group, with luxurious palaces, landmark city hotels, world-class resorts and refined residences in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia. The group expects to grow from its current 36 hotels to over 60 under operation within the next three years.

The Courthouse Kempinski

The Courthouse Kempinski occupies a prime position on Great Marlborough Street, opposite Libertys of London and Carnaby Street, just off Regent Street. This new five-star hotel oozes flamboyant sophistication. Daring design draws lavish inspiration from the buildings previous incarnation as the countrys second oldest magistrates court, temporary abode at various intervals to such well known names as Napolean III, John Lennon, Oscar Wilde, Keith Richards and Sir Mick Jagger.

The Courthouse Kempinski has 116 rooms and suites. The 13 suites are located in the former judges robing rooms and the spectacular Lalique Suite is sited within the former London residence to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. The 103 rooms are housed in a brand new wing built on the site of a former police station, holding cells and a shooting range.

There are three dining areas; Carnabys with separate street entrance, offers all day dining with a lively, buzzy atmosphere. Silk is located within the infamous No. 1 Courtroom where the great and not so good have pleaded their cases in previous years. This is fine dining at its most special with cuisine following the ancient Silk Route, flavoured by radical inspiration from Europe by head chef, Elisha Carter, formally of Lolas in Islington. The Waiting Room is transformed into an elegant palm-filled atrium in which to relax and enjoy breakfast, light meals and afternoon tea.

The Bars clubby atmosphere is emphasized by low seating, a wall-length glass bar and a monochrome design scheme of black and white leather. The three former Ladies Cells are retained, though upgraded, to offer intimate, private booths, complete with bunk bed and ice-bucket charmingly fashioned from the original Victorian lavatory!

The Roof Terrace is the ultimate retreat and an exclusive rendez-vous, from where to enjoy light meals and exquisite cocktails, overlooking Libertys.

The Spa has a fully equipped gymnasium, which is separated from the stunning wet areas by a glass wall. The wet areas comprise a hot tub, large square swimming pool and Londons first Ice Room. There are two aluminium treatment rooms with glass floors, one of which is suspended over the pool.

The hotel has seven meeting rooms, catering for a maximum of 130 people (theatre style) in the largest room. Release, the hotels extravagant private screening room, seats up to 100 people and is the largest of its kind in London. With aubergine walls and large apple green leather chairs, the room can be used as a dramatic meeting room when not in cinematic use.

The Bentley Kempinski

The Bentley Kempinski, in Harrington Gardens, Kensington, is walking distance from Sloane Square, Harrods and the Victoria & Albert Museum, but, being nestled in a quiet residential area, it is also the perfect retreat from which to explore Europes most fascinating metropolis.

This luxurious boutique hotel has 64 individually decorated suites, each with butler service, Frette linen, silk paneled walls, hand-woven carpets and a marble bathroom with walk-in shower and whirlpool bath. The Imperial, Royal and Presidential Suites have separate dining rooms for up to twelve people, baby grand piano, study, sitting room and pantry kitchen. No suite is more than four doors from the lift and a butlers pantry is on each floor for slick service.

Andrew Turner is the acclaimed head chef of the fine dining restaurant 1880, which takes its name from the date of the original building. Amid the lavishly designed restaurant, Turner (formally of 1837 at Browns Hotel) has created New York-inspired Grazing Menus, ranging from six courses to eleven courses, starting at 40 per head.

Peridot, overlooking the peaceful gardens, offers breakfast, light lunch and traditional afternoon tea. The Malachite Bar is the perfect meeting point before going to the theatre or to relax after a long shopping tour while the Cigar Divan is a cosy hide-away. For private dining, there are three distinguished banqueting rooms the Alexander, the Daniel and the Gilbert, accommodating up to 150 guests.

Unique in the UK is the authentic Turkish hamman at Le Kalon Spa, made from one single piece of marmara marble, brought over in its entirety from Turkey. A team of experienced therapists offer a wide range of beauty treatments and massages.

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