London to get another landmark hotel

Spanish hotel group Sol Melia is to open a landmark hotel in London ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, it announced this past week.

The ME London hotel will open in London's Aldwych, close to Holborn, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, in a landmark building previously occupied by the BBC and Marconi Company.

The hotel is slated to open in 2012 with 172 rooms designed by British architect Norman Foster, the man behind Hong Kong International Airport, Beijing Capital's International Terminal and London's "Gherkin" building.

Sol Melia has also confirmed that it is expected to gain "Biosphere Hotel" certification, awarded by the Responsible Tourism Institute, for the new property.

Other features of the €52 million fit-out will include two restaurants and bars at ground level, "astonishing urban views" and a floor named "The Level," likely to be aimed at premium guests.

The hotel is to be part of ME by Melia, Sol Melia's boutique luxury brand, but it will face some stiff competition in the London hotel market in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

W Hotels, targeting much the same niche, is set to open the W London in early 2011, while Shangri-La will open its new London property in 2012.

Israeli hotelier Alrov is also slated to unveil its own refurbishment of a London landmark building when it opens the Café Royale hotel in 2012.