ME London

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Hotel like a luxury spa
London's contribution to the ME family of hotels (part of the Spanish-owned Meliá chain) replaces an unmemorable 1960s office block – and before that the well-loved Gaiety Theatre – with a 157-room temple of cool, flashy-classy-sexy design and sleekness from (Norman) Foster + Partners (their first hotel), whose now-iconic Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) can be seen from the hotel's fabulous all-conquering rooftop bar Radio (with a name recalling the site's history of BBC broadcasting). The hotel is marked by browns, charcoals, whites, creams and chrome, has a certain clubby feel throughout and boasts two major restaurants: STK (global steakhouse chain) and Zela (Mediterranean and Japanese crossroads). But ME's trump card starts up on the first floor, where the reception desk sits at the base of a stunning ten-storey pyramid-like atrium that cuts quite cunningly through all the floors. Centre stage is a copy of Vivienne Westwood's massive Opus book (they love fashion here) and, from 7pm there's a nightly light show. The hotel is divinely central, located at a crossroads shared by Covent Garden (with Soho just beyond it), the Aldwych and Strand (with numerous landmarks) and Waterloo Bridge, the latter of which provides some of the most treasured views of London and leads directly to the Southbank Centre arts complex. Officially opened March 2013. Formerly a Preferred Pride establishment.