As we got closer to The LaLit London Hotel in London Bridge, a brand new addition to the city’s ever growing hotel collection, a powerful sound of drums echoed beyond the gated Grade II listed building – and we knew we were nearing our destination.
We approached the entrance a little anxiously; red carpet lined up the way and a group of photographers were positioned to snap pictures of arriving guests. The captivating drum sound we heard earlier were the works of the very talented Rani Taj, an international Dhol player, and it welcomed us as we entered the lavish lobby.
After a little wardrobe malfunction in the cloakroom, which I should not be mentioning here (think ‘Bridget Jones’), we armoured ourselves with a glass of champagne and made our way to the exquisite Great Hall to help celebrate the launch of this new London gem of a hotel.
The breath-taking space was decorated in blue tones, with half a ton cobalt-blue chandeliers hanging from the 17-meter high ceiling. Drinks were flowing and food was aplenty, and the entertainment got an A+ from me.
DJ Hamza took to the stage with Rajasthan Folkstars band, a well-known group of folk performers from western parts of Rajasthan in India. Using just three traditional instruments – Khartal – a pair of wooden strips of wood, which made a clicking sound when clapped together; Morchang – a small iron instrument placed on lips producing a vibrating sound when flicked; and Bhapang – a traditional drum-like instrument.
The smiling trio got the whole room up on its feet and their enthusiasm and energy was contagious. A stunning performance from Sophie Ellis Bextor followed, and then Rani Taj kept the party going till late.
The LaLit London Hotel is part of the The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, which has a strong 12 hotel portfolio across India and it has launched it’s first oversees hotel right here in London. The 5 star luxury boutique hotel is located in what once was St Olave’s Grammar School and the hotel has retained some of the old-school vocabulary. Here you will find the Headmaster’s Room – serving champagne and cocktails, and the Teacher’s Bar offering whiskies amongst other drinks, to name but few.
The stunning Victorian property had a £50 million revamp and is now a home to 70 guestrooms, various drinking and dining options, as well as the award-winning Rejuve spa.
This might just be the one school in my life that I never wanted to leave!
- For more information and bookings, see www.thelalit.com/the-lalit-london/. Rooms start at £390 for Junior Classroom. The LaLit London, 181 Tooley Street, London SE1 2JR; Nearest station: London Bridge