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Three Of The Best Romantic Hotels In London

Joanna Hall

There's been a flurry of new hotel openings in London in the past couple of years, providing premium and luxury travellers seeking a romantic getaway even more alluring options. More areas of London are also becoming in vogue, from the iconic West End and Soho, to Knightsbridge and Chelsea, and moving into pockets of the inner East End, each area has its own charms, sights and attractions. Here's three of the best we've experienced this year in three very different and very popular locations, each with its own attractive features and attractions.

Cheval Three Quays:

Besides occupancy rates in London being high since the Olympic Games last year, there is also now a plethora of choice when it comes to accommodation types for couples travelling in style. One part of the city which is basking in newfound popularity is the east, particularly around the banks of the River Thames and historic Tower Hill. And if you're looking for a place to stay which boasts an ideal location, views, and everything a couple could wish for in a romantic escape, in particular a longer London stay, check out the stylish serviced apartments of Cheval Three Quays.

Serviced apartments are a great option for many couples as  they offer incredible flexibility with the benefits of a true home-away-from-home, the high end ones also coupled with the perks of a five-star hotel such as a gym, concierge restaurant and more. Apartments also often have added benefits such as full sized kitchens where you can brew your own Nespresso coffee, keep in touch with friends and family thanks to complimentary internet access, and use laundry facilities if you need them. If you have, or make, friends on your trip, there's also the option to entertain friends with the additional space. Cheval Three Quays offers all this and more, with the "more" being a combination convenient and scenic location in Tower Hill. Along with panoramic views of the River Thames, iconic Tower Bridge, the ancient Tower of London, and across the river towards the landmark The Shard, there are plenty of restaurants and bars on your doorstep, and Tower Hill tube station just a few minutes walk away for sightseeing further afield.

Beyond romantic getaways, however, Cheval Three Quays is also ideal for couples travelling together or families, with its 159 apartment configurations ranging in size from neatly configured studios to spacious three-bedrooms home-away-from-homes. It opened in March 2014, and is the Cheval group's seventh London property. It has the ambience of an exclusive luxury apartment building, while the others are in suitably popular upmarket neighbourhoods including Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Hyde Park to name a few. From the moment you arrive at Three Quays, you're immediately greeted with smiling faces at reception like a five-star hotel, friendly advice on what to see and do, and offered help for anything you may need during your stay. The next joy is seeing your apartment. 

Read our full review of Cheval Three Quays.

Shangri-La At The Shard:

Across from Cheval Three Quays is one of London's newest luxury hotels, the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard. As romantic escapes go, this hotel will take some beating especially if you enjoy panoramic views. Soaring to almost 310 metres, The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and is the shining new star of London’s skyline, designed by the legendary Italian architect, Renzo Piano, and a dazzling obelisk on the South Bank of the River Thames which pierces the sky in dramatic fashion. You don’t have to ask for directions, just look up and you’re likely to see it. 

The Shangri-La occupies levels 34 to 52 of this extraordinary 95-story pinnacle with every room gazing over the glittering expanse of London. The jaw-dropping views start the minute the lift doors open at the lobby on level 35, and wherever you go – including all public rooms – you find yourself staring down at London’s famous landmarks. From up there, the Thames looks a bronze ribbon snaking its way through the city, while trains coming and going from London Bridge station resemble long white caterpillars. You’re so high up the city looks like a world in miniature complete with little models of St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

In this luxury hotel and romantic getaway, there are features to enjoy such as floor-to-ceiling windows, and freestanding baths positioned to savour the skyline. Binoculars become the guest’s essential tool, with a pair provided in every room. The overall vibe is one of cool, understated luxury, the hotel exuding elegance and exclusivity, yet embracing an atmosphere which is relaxed and friendly making it perfect for an indulgent romantic escape. As for activities, you don't need to go out. There's the top-notch restaurant, TING, on level 35, LÁNG deli and café on the ground floor, and the divine GONG cocktail and champagne bar at the hotel’s highest point on level 52. 

Read our full review of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard.

Read our full dining review of Ting and Gong at the Shangri-La at the Shard.

The Capital:

When I planned my last trip back to London, the choice of luxury and boutique hotels was overwhelming, but I had it in mind to visit different neighbourhoods from the last time I was there, and include at least one iconic property in the mix of places to stay. Of course I had an ulterior motive besides reacquainting myself with parts of the UK capital I used to know well; one thing to tick off my list was a little shopping at Harrods in Knightsbridge, and with only half a day up my sleeve for the task, it made sense to stay as close by as possible. And it doesn't get any closer than David Levin's The Capital Hotel.

This is arguably one of London's most elegant, unique and very English five-star boutique hotels, run by Levin's daughter, Kate. It has been welcoming guests for 40 years, in part thanks to an ideal location, tucked away on leafy Basil Street behind Brompton Road at one end, and up to Sloane Street at the other. For those in the know, it's just a stone's throw from both Knightsbridge tube station and Hyde Park, among other key landmarks. And did I mention Harrods?

First impressions of the Capital, which is a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World among others, is that it's a very grand hotel which has somehow been scaled down to a petite, boutique size. It fits into a large and elegant townhouse; on arrival you're greeted by a uniformed doorman, then you're welcomed into a petite lobby which feels like a stylish home-away-from home. From there it takes only minutes to be shown to your room. There is an older style, quaint elevator to get you upstairs, and corridors have squeaky floorboards, all adding to the overall charm.

Read our full review of The Capital Hotel.

Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways is the 2014 Skytrax Airline of the Year and offers flights to over 190 destinations in 42 countries and territories. From Australia the airline has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from six major Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth - with a choice of flying in economy, premium economy or business class.

There are four flights daily from Sydney, three flights a day from Melbourne, daily flights from Brisbane, four flights a week from Cairns and Adelaide, and ten flights from Perth. All flights provide connections over the Hong Kong hub to the airline’s worldwide network, including eight European destinations (from March 2015 Zurich will be added, taking the number to nine). From Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific offers 5 daily flights to London, offering a choice of flying in economy, premium economy, business class or first class, and from December 2014 there are also four flights a week to Manchester.

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