Where do the most eco-friendly and socially conscious members of the sartorial set rest their heads when touring the world’s fashion capitals? In a new series of blogs, Nina Rennie will check into and check out some of the most forward-thinking and kind-hearted establishments on the map. First stop, London.
The tenth floor of the Foster and Partner designed ME Hotel is home to the ultra-stylish Radio Rooftop Bar, which offers some of the capital’s best panoramic views. What you may not know is that the hotel is part of the first ‘Biosphere Hotel Chain’ (an award given by the Responsible Tourism Institute, backed by UNESCO) – Meliá Hotels International – whose impressive social impact commitments include an on-going partnership with Unicef. The group has helped raise more than €1.3 million for Unicef’s work by inviting guests to donate on the first night of their stay and employees to donate part of their wages. In addition, in a bid to help protect vulnerable children, more than 38,000 Meliá employees around the world have received special training.
Staff at Andaz Liverpool Street have been giving up their lunch breaks to provide workshops and training to help homeless people become chefs. We can’t imagine very many five-star hotels would care about those who sleep rough on the street, but this progressively philanthropic hotel’s partnership with the homelessness charity Providence Row has led to them winning a City of London Dragon’s Award for Social Inclusion.
Lancaster London hotel’s second floor roof is home to half a million honey bees, whose honey is served in the award winning Island Grill restaurant. This is just one part of its commitment “to walk softly on the planet”. Other aspects include sending no waste to landfill, championing sustainable British produce and ‘intelligent’ bedrooms using state of the art equipment.
Terence Conran and his team converted a Victorian warehouse in Shoreditch to create The Boundary. Meticulous care was taken to preserve the 120-yr-old architectural character and traditional features, while integrating cutting-edge eco-technology. The result is a hotbed of intelligent design – a ‘green’ jewel in the portfolio of its iconic owners. Admire the works of pop artists, print makers and photographers while you savour locally sourced fine wines on the rooftop surrounded by 100 year old olive trees.
A ‘green butler’ service helps The Savoy achieve its place on this list. Enhancing its history dating back to 1889, the hotel re-opened in 2010 following a complete sustainability overhaul. Art Deco and Edwardian heritage merge with energy efficient technologies to make this illustrious establishment a strong contender for one of London’s most eco-friendly hotels.
For those who prefer a small and independent hotel, we can recommend 40 Winks, “the most beautiful small hotel in the world” according to German Vogue. The eccentric owner, interior designer David Carter, has a long history of playing host to fashion royalty and iconic magazine shoots in his Queen Anne townhouse, offering the antithesis of faceless corporate chain hotels.
With just two highly unique and decadently quirky rooms, the waiting list is as long as it’s profile is high. However, there is another way to get a well-heeled foot in the door. Mr Carter’s ‘Bedtime Story Nights’ have featured in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s hot list of the 14 most amazing things to do in the world. Tickets for these glamorous gatherings – think posh pyjama party with cocktails in teacups – include entertainment from a team of lesser-known storytellers, actors and musicians, “handpicked for their virtuosity”.
So, there you have it. Six good picks for London hotels, all with a philosophy that will help you sleep easy at night.