Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Hotels in the City

For decades, the City was a hotel free area - deliberately, for like residential buildings the City Corporation banned them and refused planning permission. I have no idea what this policy was to achieve, but in recent years the Corporation has relaxed this stance, and there are now a rash of interesting proposals.

Just today I read of a new 'six star' hotel being planned for the waterfront at Blackfriars. While I'm not instantly taken by its design, that section of waterfront - like the vast majority of the City waterfront, is utterly dreadful, and that conference centre should not be missed.

Nearby, the Grange hotel St Pauls is almost finished. Architecturally its a bit of a damp squib (I don't recall what was there before, its rather likely it replaced some concrete monstrosity) but I have great hopes that these two hotels will be able to bring some life into the Blackfriars area. Its a lovely little area, a little snapshot of what the City was like before the bombers and the bulldozers.

I was also told - by a corporation guide, no less - that the former Lloyd's bank headquarters on Cornhill at the heart of the City is going to get turned into a luxury hotel by a Russian oligarch. I haven't found any evidence of this online, and the credit crunch seems to have reduced the spending power of the oligarchs, but the building is still being renovated for mysterious purposes.

And at the East end of the City, the redevelopment of Trinity Square into a hotel has been given approval. Besides being a glorious building, its in a great location, just across from the Tower of London.

And up on Bishopsgate, there's a hotel planned in the proposed 'Baby Heron', which will go up next to the currently under construction Heron Tower office block.

Of course, all these hotels will be 'luxury', and far beyond my price range, but it does warm my cockles that soon there will be thousands more people living in the City of London - even if only for a few days at a time.

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