The Melita London Hotel

Why Staying At A Family-Run Hotel Like The Melita Is Better

 

You’re looking forward to a lovely adventure in London. You’ve packed all your favourite clothes, can’t wait to hit SoHo, and its time to book your hotel. There’s so many options, it can be a bit confusing at first.

Should you choose one of London’s chain hotels, or go with something a bit more personal?

At the Melita, we think staying at a family-run hotel like ours is far better. Our family-run hotel offers a true London experience unlike any other. Friendly staff, an uncomplicated check-in process, and even a full English breakfast each morning makes this an enchanting place to call home while you’re on a fun excursion.

These fantastic reasons are pretty compelling, but there is a long list of other good reasons to stay at a family-run hotel instead. We’ve set out to convince you in this fun list.

 

Focused on What’s Important

As an independent hotel, The Melita has made a conscious choice to focus on what’s most important, rather than creating a situation where you’re barraged with options, bells, and whistles. Sure, you won’t find an Olympic-sized swimming pool or hair salon here; but in many cases, our guests tell us that’s not what they’re after, anyway.

What you will find here is a friendly, family-like atmosphere. That means clean, comfortable beds with crisp sheets and soft blankets, a sparkling-clean bathroom, and a variety of room sizes to suit nearly every need. Whether you’re a family of four, or you’re getting married and wish to book out all of our rooms at once, we can make it work.

But don’t take that to mean an independent hotel like us qualifies as basic; nothing could be further from the truth. The Melita is special, and unlike any other hotel in London in many ways.

Because we’re independent, we have the freedom to stay committed to local artists all throughout England; that’s why you’ll find prints and paintings on commission all throughout the hotel.  Our independent status also gives us the freedom to forge connections as we see fit, rather than to someone else’s prescribed requirements.

The Melita Hotel London

Customised Service Options

One of the biggest downsides of chain hotels is that there often isn’t very much wiggle room for customisation. Options are presented like a menu, and you simply choose from that menu. In some special situations, this may make it very difficult to customise an experience that truly fits. Sometimes, guests can get a bit lost in that shuffle, and end up feeling more like a number than like the individuals they really are.

The problem is that making changes to the services provided by a large chain hotel takes time. The request has to go through several approval tiers, where it may or may not get vetoed by upper management, or where it may potentially get shelved for years.

Not really suitable for the average traveller who prefers things to be a bit more personable, for sure.

At the Melita, we work hard to make sure you’re always seen as a person, not as just another number or tick in the books. Our staff work hard to make sure your needs are met during your stay.

If you need something special during your stay, we encourage you to let us know in advance. We’ll do our best to make it happen as long as it’s feasible to do so. Consider us your family-away-from-home while you’re with us.

Need something special? Just ask us!

The Melita Hotel London

Location, Location, Location

Many of London’s chain hotels are located in easily accessible areas, but sometimes, these locations leave much to be desired for valiant explorers who want to adventure out on foot. Being close to the airport or across town may allow you to check in faster, but what about when it’s time to venture out on your own? How easy will it be to find all of London’s most special hidden gems?

Our little family-run hotel is located in the downtown core, too, but it’s tucked into an area of Pimlico that’s steeped in history. We’re also just steps away from the Thames, picnic parks, museums, and some of London’s finest pubs. This makes The Melita especially suitable for anyone who wants to experience the rich history of Westminster, or England in general, first-hand.

The Melita Hotel London

Access to Knowledge and Guidance

At a chain hotel, it can be very difficult to find someone to help you find your way through London. Many offer pre-paid, pre-set tours, but these can be expensive and they often don’t allow for much in the way of self-driven adventure or wandering off to inspect something interesting along the way.

This kind of service really just doesn’t cater to the individual, it caters to the masses instead.

That’s fine if you’re the type of person who wants your itinerary laid out for you in advance, but if you prefer to explore London at your own pace, an independent hotel like ours is the way to go.

Our staff live, breath, and experience London, Pimlico, and greater Westminster every single day. Many of us have experience with everything from the local architecture to the history of buildings like Westminster Cathedral. All you need to do is ask, and we’ll help you find the local’s favourite pub, the best art museums, where to see a show, or even where to find the best spa services, should that be your preference.

We’ve spent years building close relationships with a wide variety of local businesses, with the understanding that they, too, want to make your experience in London pleasant. These relationships are built on our own personal experiences with each business.

The result?

When we recommend a restaurant, club, or location, we really believe it will make you happy.

The Melita Hotel London

Affordability

Unlike massive 5-star chain hotels, independent hotels like us strive to find ways to make your experience not only enjoyable, but affordable. Instead of packing services you may never use during your stay into a high overnight fee, we provide you with everything you do need and adjust the price to match. This is especially helpful if you plan to stay for an extended period of time, or more than about three days.

Because prices are often set at the highest level for chain hotels, guests sometimes run into a situation where they are paying for so many services, they couldn’t possibly ever have time to use them all during their stay. That means you’re paying money for something you may or may not use, which just isn’t an efficient way to budget your money.

Where most independent hotels excel here relates back to the fact that we have the flexibility focus on what’s most important to our guests. We provide everything most mid-range chain hotels provide at a basic level without any of the extraneous fluff you don’t really want.

It’s affordable, inviting, friendly, and most importantly, doesn’t sacrifice what’s most important to most of our guests–clean, comfortable rooms in an excellent location.

Should you decide you want extra services, we’ll liaison with you to make connections right in the community and do our best to find you the most indulgent spa services, the best fine dining, theatre, or even just a reliable massage therapist to help unwind the kinks left over from your last business meeting.


Why London Fashion Week 2017 Was the Best Year Yet

 

Burberry Revolutionised Retail

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Part of what makes London Fashion Week so thrilling is its exclusivity; you’re getting a sneak peak at fashions that likely won’t make to to the public for an entire season or even an entire year. In some cases, you may even get to lay eyes on items only available directly from the designer. This is a major pull for fashion-lovers, designers and laymen alike from all across the world.

SoHo (situated just 6 mins on the tube from us) during the height of London Fashion Week is a buzzing hotspot of who’s-who’s, hobnobbing and shoulder-rubbing with the world’s best and budding designers, and everyone wants in.

But well-known clothing line Burberry (whose HQ is a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel), may have broken that mould this year in a single foul swoop.

In what can only be considered a breath of fresh air by some, and a questionable idea by others. Burberry chose to skip the delay-to-release this year and made their entire line available to the public online. No six-month wait, no chance for high-street chains to take advantage of copycat lines, no opportunity for wheeling and dealing really at all.

It’s essentially breaking free of the middleman game and going right to the source.

This “see now, buy now” model really breaks the mould, doing something that was virtually unheard  of previously in the fashion world. For decades, it was an unspoken rule that there be a three, six or 12-month gap between the runway and the road, giving journalists time to talk the lines up and stores time to invest in the products.

This old-school marketing style was once very effective, but many are challenging its use in the current digital world we live in. Why rely on the words of others and deals to market your clothing, when you can open your own online store and market them through social media instead?

Mixed responses to the move ranged from some labelling the company as innovative, while others rued the change, suggesting that it would break the exclusivity and bring down the overall value of the clothing simply because it was more common, and therefore, less of a status symbol.

 

Technology Ruled the Roost

Fashion, much like art of any kind, is often not only about the end result itself but the culture that surrounds it. Many things can impact that culture, from the people chosen to attend to the venues and even the location or country in which the event is held.

This year, technology played a major role at London Fashion Week, shaping and changing not only how the event ran, but how designers were able to present their offerings as a whole.

The “see now, buy now” approach was a major element of this, and could potentially be considered a technological marvel in its own right, but it was far from the only advancement we saw this year. The use of chatbots, SnapChat, and even alternative realities made this year more interesting than any year prior.

Brands brought chatbots created by MSG.ai and social media together to market clothing directly to fans via instant messaging on both Facebook and Twitter. With research showing that the social media and personalised approach to marketing is more readily accepted by the public than ever, this was a smart move. “Messaging is becoming the new browser and the gateway to consumer life, with artificial intelligence bots being the new user interface.”

MSG.ai’s founder, Puneet Mehta, agrees. In an article with The Guardian, he spoke out in favour of the approach, stating that, “Messaging is becoming the new browser and the gateway to consumer life, with artificial intelligence bots being the new user interface.”

Some brands also made use of SnapChat over Instagram to give the public a live peek at the shows. Unlike Instagram, SnapChat’s instant, deletable format makes it easy to show images for just a few seconds at a time, promoting some of the exclusivity that the “see now, buy now” movement removed.

Augmented reality’s rol in London Fashion Week became immediately clear for those who chose to attend designer Martine Jarlgaard’s spring and summer show; truthfully, the designer presented almost the entire line to them via hologram. Each guest donned a Microsoft Hololens headset to make the clothing line pop into full colour right before their eyes.

 

Black Made a Comeback (With a Few Friends)

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The idea that “black is always in” is only partially true. As a colour in fashion (putting aside for the moment that it’s really not a colour at all), it tends to wax and wane season-to-season depending on trends. For lovers of all things sleek, elegant or goth, some seasons can end up feeling just a bit too bright and flighty. Within London Fashion Week 2017, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Overall, the colours we saw were heavily influenced by a distinctly 80s aesthetic. Black made a big comeback this season, dominating the runways with elegant and stylish creations laden with audacious lines, but often with its five most colour friends in tow.

In fact, colour creator Pantone analysed the show and identified that the five most common colours found throughout were:

  • Niagara blue
  • Primrose Yellow
  • Lapis Blue
  • Flame red
  • Island Paradise

We saw it sparkle, we saw it sequin, we saw it lace. We even saw soft black hair and black makeup – spurring on the return of the goth, perhaps?

 

Millennial Designers Multiplied

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If you haven’t heard of NewGen yet, you’re missing out. This London Fashion Week programme is renowned for bringing in best and brightest upcoming designers, giving them the support they need to showcase their collections for what may be the first time at London Fashion Week. While 2017 is hardly the first year for NextGen to take place, this TOPSHOP-sponsored event brought in some truly amazing first this year, and many fashion lovers were impressed with their creations.

24-year-old designer Clio Peppiatt made her debut this year, showcasing a collection rife with retro futurism and an almost Lisa Frank style appeal. Bright colours, rainbow sparkles and bold designs brought a fresh face that we haven’t often seen at London Fashion Week since the early 1990s.

Conversely, 29-year-old Youjia Jin’s collection was all about slowing down and appreciating each moment. The Chinese designer used a combination of orchestral instruments and soft, shimmery colours like grey and charcoal black to tell her story. Despite her young age, there’s an incredible maturity to each of her creations that carries a peaceful, minimal vibe.

 

Your Home Base for Style Exploration

Though this year’s fashion week is over, London remains a year-round hubub and hotspot for any fashion lover from around the world. If you’re considering coming for the next Fashion Week, are a designer showing your clothing, or are just looking for a central home base uptown that will keep you closer to the action, we want to help.  Stay with The Melita and you’ll be just steps away from all of Westminster and only a few stops away from SoHo, too.

Our cosy rooms are well-kept, quiet, and just right for getting some rest between excursions, whether you’re here for work or just to shop. Snag incredible style favourites from stores like Agent Provocateur, Albam, Absolute Vintage and Lazy Oaf and become one of the thousands of guests who fall in love with London’s fashion sense each and every year.

We have had fashionistas from over 45 countries staying with us, so you’re in good company.

In the planning stages of your trip? Call us. We’ll help you put together an itinerary and book your room. So once you arrive, all that’s left to do is relax, enjoy, and shop!


Understanding Pimlico’s History

As one of Pimlico’s most popular family-run hotels, we get to experience the history and culture of Westminster each and every day. Both Pimlico and the rest of England are incredibly rich in culture and heritage, and we’re extremely lucky to live and work here each and every day at The Melita Hotel. Our location places us smack-dab in the middle of some of London’s most historic neighbourhoods, an area rife for exploration whether you’re from near or far.

Ask us what’s so terrific about Pimlico and the list of responses would be undoubtedly long. Culture, art, and the locals are high on the list, but Pimlico’s incredibly interesting history is probably one of its biggest selling points.

Our little neighbourhood is not only beautiful, but incredibly significant to the development of England as a whole over time. Sure, it’s small, but good things come in small packages, and sometimes the most amazing discoveries occur in places you’d never think to look.

It would be impossible to sum up absolutely everything interesting about Pimlico’s history–there’s just too much to cover in one blog post. Instead, we’ve rounded up what we think are a few of the most fascinating facts.

So come, history buffs and architectural adventurers–step into Pimlico’s history with The Melita Hotel. Let’s wander down the garden path together, reminiscing about a time gone by–a time full of romance intrigue, royalty, and excitement.

The Melita London Hotel

Prelude: How Did Pimlico Come to Be?

Pimlico didn’t start out as the little village it is; instead, it started out as a swampy osier bed dotted with delightful little English cottages. Though it may be surprising, given the popularity of the area today, both Pimlico and Warwick Square were originally considered less desirable an area to settle than other areas of London in the 19th Century.

Originally owned, and later sold, by James I in the 17th Century, it was transferred via inheritance to one Mary Davies in 1666, after which time she was married to Sir Thomas Grosvenor. It was a fortuitous marriage for the Grosvenors, bringing them up in not only status but wealth. The area included not only what is now known as Pimlico, but also Belgravia, Mayfair and Kensington–no small section of land.

It was the Grosvenors that developed the land, sculpting and crafting it into something much more beautiful than it originally was over the years, particularly with the help of famous architect Thomas Cubitt in around 1825. Both it and Warwick Square were developed with English garden concepts in mind, turning what was essentially swampland into something more palatable and visit-worthy.

The Grosvenors retained ownership of the area until as recently as 1953, when Pimlico specifically was transferred in ownership via sale in order to pay a massive £17-million tax bill owed by the family.

 

Famous and Foreboding Buildings

One of Pimlico’s most defining features is the fact that the neighbourhood is veritably filled with historical buildings. Even the Melita Hotel itself is situated in two historical buildings, each built as Victorian townhouses around 1825, making it over 200 years old. While our location isn’t particularly foreboding–it’s smaller, and thus, more suitable for hosting guests–the neighbourhood is home to some of England’s most imposing buildings.

Dolphin Square London Hotel

Dolphin Square

Perhaps the most commandeering is nearby Dolphin Square. These luxury apartments, originally designed and guided to creation by Gordon Jeeves FRIBA in 1937, have an imposing facade and an almost foreboding appearance. A distinctly art deco style and surrounding gardens make this building a contrasting experience, especially for those who live there each day.

Although connected, Dolphin Square consists of four groups of houses, each named after a historically relevant figure. Each group is broken down via the direction it faces.

The south houses include:

  • Grenville, named after Sir Richard Grenville
  • Drake, named after Sir Francis Drake
  • Raleigh, named after Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Hawkins, named after Sir John Hawkins

The north-facing building consists of only one house, known as House Rodney and named after George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney (1718-1792).

The west-facing houses are extensive, including:

  • Nelson, named after Lord Horatio Nelson
  • Howard, named after William Howard
  • Duncan, named after Adam Duncan, the 1st Viscount Duncan of Camperdown
  • Beatty, named after David Beatty, a decorated Admiral

Last, but most certainly not least, are the east-facing houses. These include:

  • Keyes, named after Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes
  • Hood, named after Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood
  • Collingwood, named after Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood
  • Frobisher, named after Sir Martin Frobisher

Each of the namesakes is an important figure in England’s near or far history, and the building itself was named to pay homage to them. Today, Dolphin Square is considered to be one of the brightest, most bustling areas to enjoy true British Village life, for both young and old alike.

 

Westminster Abbey

London Hotel Westminster Abbey

As Westminster is, for all intents and purposes, also part of Pimlico, we would be amiss to talk about the local history without mentioning Westminster Abbey. Still in operation as the Coronation Church of England, this incredible gothic building has managed to withstand the tests of time since 1066, making it also the oldest church to be found anywhere in Great Britain at all.

Seventeen of Britain’s past monarchs are buried here, and it is still heavily used by the Royal Family today.

Westminster Abbey’s incredible architecture is certainly historical, but not all of the current facade dates back to 1066. The building has necessarily gone through a number of renovations, either due to the passage of time, war, or damage from fire.

The building you see today first came to fruition in 1245, when Henry III first contracted workers to overhaul it from the previous iteration. Unfortunately, it wasn’t completed as a true Gothic nave until the rule of Richard II around 1388. Still later, in the early 16th Century, it again underwent an overhaul under the rule of Henry VII. An incredible 16 years of construction slowly formed it into the commandeering gothic-style chapel it is today.

What was preserved through all of the chaos was the chapter house, considered a living space for Benedictine monks originally. This octagonal building contains an additional secret within its walls; near the entrance is a door considered by many to be the oldest entrance in England (and to a lesser degree, the oldest door). Hidden behind it is the largely preserved Pyx Chamber, thought to date back to 1070 with few renovations other than what was functionally required.

Because Westminster Abbey is so extensive, we highly recommend taking a guided tour when you visit. You’ll catch a glimpse of not only these features, but many more breath-taking and centuries-old elements you don’t necessarily get to see from the outside. Additionally, the walls and interior are adorned with exceptionally stunning art, carvings, and highly stylized gothic arches.

Big Ben London Hotel

Big Ben

This famous clock tower is known the world over, and is incredibly special to Londoners as a whole. Though it isn’t as old as buildings like Westminster Abbey, it does date back to April 10th, 1858. Considered a part of the nearby Buckingham Palace, the idea for it first came to be after a devastating fire took out much of the palace itself. The previous palace did have a clock tower–then known as Great Tom–but it wasn’t anywhere nearly as grand as today’s iteration.

Created with the guidance of Charles Barry and a number of local clockmakers, today’s Big Ben is exceptionally beautiful. Even the interior workings are something of a marvel–it is the first clock in England to be accurate to the second once started. The exterior tower is sculpted and crafted in a variety of materials, including brickwork, stone cladding, and even extremely heavy cast iron. Much like the palace itself, it features a gothic revival facade. At an incredible 96.3 meters high, it is also one of England’s tallest and presence-worthy buildings, too.

The original clock creation was made of five individual bells, four grand clock faces, and a single imposing tower. Unfortunately, its creation was not without mishaps; the main bell was shattered during testing in October 1857, starting a very public and somewhat political finger-pointing argument between all of those involved. Eventually, a new bell was cast, this time larger than the first, and it was installed via a pulley system.

In July of 1859, Big Ben finally chimed for the first time, but cracked yet again just a few short months later. This damage was repaired, but from certain angles, you can still see the crack in the bell itself today.

Over the centuries, Big Ben has been damaged, sometimes severely. German bombers nearly decimated it in WWII, and several mechanical failures took clockmakers months to track down and fix.

This is in and of itself one of the reasons that Big Ben is so heavily associated with London; it’s representative of Britain’s spirit and refusal to give in when faced with peril.