Hotel designers stand to benefit from an explosion of activity as developers focus on London, with the Square Mile the epicentre of the blast.
The local authority, the Corporation of London, has granted permission for six new or refurbished hotels. One of these, the Great Eastern Hotel at Liverpool Street by Arcadian International and Conran Holdings, is already under construction.
Permission has also been granted for hotels at Fleet Street, Threadneedle Street, Gracechurch Street, New Bridge Street and Aldersgate Street.
Planning applications have been submitted for three further hotels, meaning a total of up to 1328 new hotel bedrooms could be created within the Square Mile.
Sarah Holder, hotels analyst at property group Healey & Baker, says there is a “definite trend towards more stylish hotels, and more boutique hotels”, in the City. All of these hotels use design to differentiate themselves from the mainstream competition they face, although in price terms they are mid-market.
“They are more modern in design, and individual,” says Holder, describing the trend as “very much following the Conran trend in restaurants”.
She says parties are in discussions over further potential hotel sites within the Square Mile.
A number of factors, including a belief that 24-hour trading will be introduced in the City, are behind the surge in development. Interiors and architecture group RPW has developed a new-build hotel scheme at 140 Aldersgate Street, featuring 209 bedrooms over eight floors, which has just been granted planning permission. RPW chairman Patrick Reardon says the hotel market is going through a major boom.
And the influence of multinational companies, whose staff provide much of the custom for hotels, is showing. “At long last we can get to work creatively on projects that in the past had to be traditional,” he says.
Other planning applications include one by Jones Lang Wootton, architect Terry Farrell Partnership and Scottish Widows for a 234-bedroom hotel in Lower Thames Street.
Lumsden Design Partnership is redeveloping interiors for The Green Man in Old Harlow, a Regal Hotel.