British charm meets Indian flavor in London
61 Rooms / 9 Suites
Housed in a former 19th century private school, The Lalit London embraces its history. It kept many of the neo-baroque architecture and design elements intact. The Lalit also pays homage to the building’s scholastic legacy in several ways, with its individually designed rooms classified as “classrooms” and its cozy, sophisticated bars appropriately named Teacher’s Lounge and Headmaster’s Room.
While the setting is British, the 70-room boutique hotel mixes in a strong Indian flair. After all, it’s the first international property from esteemed India-based luxury hotel company The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. You’ll witness it upon arrival, when you’re welcomed with a namaskar, a traditional greeting in which hands are clasped. And it’s in touches like gold tapestries, sculpture that honors the Hindu god of prosperity and authentic Indian cuisine, including Naanery, a naan bar that serves the addictive bread with wine pairings.
Explore the property to find a basement-level spa with familiar Eastern and Western treatments in additional to Ayurvedic-inspired services and a 24-hour gym. The vaulted-ceilinged Great Hall, which hosts The Lalit’s pan-Indian flagship restaurant, Baluchi, is perhaps one of the most striking dining spaces in the British capital.
• The triple-height main dining room, a former school assembly hall now swathed in cobalt blues and custom half-ton glass chandeliers, is a must-see.
• Rejuve, The Lalit’s spa, is the first and only London hotel spa to feature shirodhara, a traditional Ayurvedic therapy involving a consistent pour of warm oil over the forehead. The relaxing treatment is supposed to help improve memory, sleep and blood pressure.
• For high tea with an Indian twist, there’s the Lalit High Chai, where British scones are swapped for samosas and kathi rolls (chicken wrapped in flatbread) on the palatial Great Hall’s mezzanine.
• Much of the hotel’s interior — including the dark wood-paneled walls and parquet floors — is original to the building, demonstrating The Lalit’s care to preserving the former school’s legacy.
• The luxury hotel is in a prime location for walking and sightseeing. Cross the nearby Tower Bridge and arrive at the Tower of London in minutes, or remain along South Bank to visit London Bridge, Borough Market and the Shard with ease.
Things to Know
• Extra-tall individuals will want to avoid the third-floor rooms, which were added to the building out of the school’s former gymnasium space and have the shortest ceiling height.
• After Lalit Suri (the original hotelier of the Lalit brand) died in 2006, his wife and family made his dream come true by expanding their hotel empire to the British capital. You can pay respects to Suri in a permanent memorial (featuring his painted portrait) in the reception room.
• The Great Hall-adjacent Terrace is a splendid location to spend the day; not only can you enjoy the full menu from the excellent Baluchi restaurant, there is also shisha from 3 to 11 p.m., with several flavors and unit types on offer.
• No two rooms are the same shape in this London hotel, and ceiling heights can range from low to an expansive 30 feet.
• Bathrooms, including in the entry-level “classrooms,” have high-tech Toto washlet units with heated seats.
• The complimentary mini-bar is well-stocked with juices and drinks, and all rooms come with 24-hour room service.
• The standout feature in each muted, contemporary room is a threaded headboard of two jubilant peacocks in orange and white. They are all designed in custom sizes.
• Debuted in early 2017, Baluchi is on track to join London’s elite league of great fine-dining Indian restaurants. In particular, the tandoori salmon — slow-smoked alongside asparagus, pea puree and pickled cucumber horseradish cream — is a fan favorite.
• The spectacular Great Hall hosts all of the Lalit’s dining offerings: both classic and Indian-style high tea take place on its mezzanine; the novel Naanery turns out naan pairing meals on a slick countertop and the flagship Baluchi serves up classic Indian cuisine in an elegant setting.
• There are two intimate bars on the ground level. The Teacher’s Room, which specializes in cocktails and is directly opposite the Great Hall, is the most relaxed and frequented, while The Headmaster’s Room, a champagne and cognac bar, ups the sophistication.
• The Terrace is the hotel’s alfresco option for eating, drinking and shisha smoking. Its lower level gives way to a great view of the Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building.