Glass experiences stylish hospitality at LaLit London

WHEN I think of the LaLiT London, I think of vivid cobalt blue, the kind that adorns the ceiling in their magnificent Great Hall, otherwise known as the Baluchi restaurant. It’s the stuff a Maharaja’s palace might be made of, but it just so happens to be on the banks of the River Thames at Tower Bridge.

Exterior July 2017 Le Grand BellevueExterior of LaLit

Having opened in February this year the hotel is a lesson in stylish hospitality. In a building that was a historic English public school it fell to rack and ruin until the LaLit founders recognised its beauty and potential.  It is now an homage to old school British charm fused with Indian elegance.

The hotel is the only European/international addition to a collection that’s well known in India, and its integrity comes from the personal attention that founder, the late Mr Lalit Suri, and his wife Dr. Jyotsna Suri put into it.  Having hand selected the site for The LaLiT London, Mr Lalit Suri passed away before the hotel was completed and it is his wife’s careful consideration of everything from the floor tiles to the staff uniforms that gives it its unique edge.

So, back to the start of my visit, the restaurant, complete with bespoke crystal chandeliers brought over from India – so unique that after they were made the moulds were broken to ensure their individuality – heaven forbid should one break. Within this jewel of a room there is Baluchi, offering progressive pan-Indian fine dining, as well as a Naanery offering artisanal breads baked in a conventional iron tandoor,  and subsequently paired with exquisite wines.

Baluchi at The Great Hall (restaurant) Le Grand BellevueThe Baluchi restaurant in the Great Hall at LaLit

Baluchi at The Great Hall (restaurant) Le Grand BellevueThe Baluchi restaurant in the Great Hall at LaLit

Each of the rooms in the hotel is named in reference to the hotel’s history as a school, and as such drinks are served in the Teacher’s Room or the Headmaster’s Room, the latter of which retains an ornate ceiling and the characteristic wooden floors and paneling of privileged historic education.  It is easy to see now, after all the hard work and restoration, what Mr Suri’s keen eye for detail must have spotted – very much a diamond going through a rough patch.

Headmaster's Room Le Grand BellevueHeadmaster’s room at LaLit

Teacher's Room (bar)Le Grand BellevueTeacher’s Rooms at LaLit

In the bedrooms there is a muted orange and gold leitmotif, with suites that retain individual features such as a tower in one and a riverside view from another.  Alongside the detailing so clearly brought from India and bringing with it an almost spiritual peace, there is a contemporary attention to detail which really sets The LaLit London apart as a modern hotel.  For example, in each room they offer a mobile phone, prepped and ready for guests to take out and about for calls and to use to guide their way around the city without incurring data roaming charges.

lalit_seniorSuite Le Grand BellevueSenior suite at LaLit

RM 305_0001Le Grand BellevueSenior suite at LaLit

In the basement of the hotel there is a 24-hour gym, catering in particular to clients travelling in from around the world.  There are Spa Suites offering spa treatments and specialising in a beautiful Ayurvedic techniques, particularly the Shirodhara treatment for relaxation through the ‘third eye’.  In this they are specialists, and the layout of the room is almost shrine-like in its appearance.

There are no wet spa facilities at the hotel, but it doesn’t detract from its beauty or the completeness of its service.  This is a place that specialises in details, superb customer service and careful thought about the requirements of each guest. Clearly it is a hotel that’s both conveniently located and designed with business travel in mind, but at the same time it’s ripe for couples to enjoy a romantic city break or simply for friends visiting for a drink in the evening, lunch or brunch at the weekend.

Rejuve The Spa Le Grand BellevueRejuve – the spa at LaLit

The place is a picture – a sense of history sitting alongside Tower Bridge and the juxtaposing modernity of the glass Mayor’s building.  The hotel already seems like it was destined to be a part of this landscape  in keeping with everything close by it has its own character which has already attracted much attention and superb reviews.

As I sit drinking my cup of tea in the ornate splendour of the dining hall I luxuriate in the peace and quiet of this magnificent building, so very much in the heart of London, and in case I had been in any doubt, on tucking into my rich home made biscuit I am thoroughly reminded that this is indeed a place of excellent taste and luxury in the tiniest of details.

by Bonnie Friend 

LaLit, 181 Tooley Street, London, London SE1 2JR