London's New Corinthia: Spoiled for Choice

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The Paolo Mantovani suite celebrates the great conductor's connection with the hotel

It's been a busy time for London hoteliers with the reopening of the Savoy and the Four Seasons Hyde Park, and the unveiling of the W and the much hyped St. Pancras Renaissance. Now, the spotlight is on the April 16 opening of the Corinthia.

Set amid the palaces of Westminster and Whitehall, the belle epoque pile was built in 1885 as the Hôtel Métropole, and became the Ministry of Defense headquarters in 1936, remaining so till a few years ago when the Corinthia hotel group took it over. The renovations, which cost over $480 million, were masterminded by U.K.-based Sigma Architects and interior designers GA Design, who have crafted grand set pieces in the public spaces. But a modern vibe prevails in the four-story ESPA spa and in the warm colors of the 294 rooms — to say nothing of the David Collins — designed restaurant Massimo, or the Bassoon bar, where a long counter literally morphs into a grand piano.

The hotel's masterstroke, though, has been to convert its turrets into two-story suites, each dedicated to an important figure, such as conductor Paolo Mantovani, who came to prominence in the Hôtel Métropole, and Winston Churchill, whose wartime offices were in the building. And rather aptly, the terrace of the Lady Hamilton suite, complete with infinity plunge pool, overlooks Nelson's Column — her lover's monument in Trafalgar Square.

Doubles from around $600; see