London has never lacked grand hotels. But the City, its financial hub, didn’t have a five-star stunner until this year.
Now two contenders – the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square and the Ned – are drawing upscale travelers. Here's how they stack up.
Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square: Aside from an historically re-created rotunda in the lobby and the coffee-table books on your desk, there are few clues you’re in London. Rooms have oversize leather headboards and mirrors that double as TVs. The overall effect is both sleek and plush, if a little generic.
The Ned: The prevailing theme here is Edwardian largesse, reinterpreted in collaboration with the Soho House team and aimed at creative elites. In the lobby are 92 African verdite-covered columns with ornamental crowns, towering floral arrangements, and a turquoise tufted couch.
Four Seasons: Even entry-level rooms are spacious, and soaring ceilings contribute to the tranquil vibe. The bathrooms have a deep marble tub and a walk-in rain shower. The cocoonlike Four Seasons bed is a brand standard for a reason.
One oddly overlooked detail proved annoying: The heavily scented Bottega Veneta bath amenities are impossible to squeeze out of their tiny plastic bottles.
The Ned: Four-poster beds with tasseled pillows anchor the rooms, but the footboards are constricting for a tall guest, and climbing into bed can feel like a cardio workout for a short one. It’s one of a few impractical design choices: Lamp switches are out of reach from your bedside; desks are too narrow.
What is useful is the selection of easy-to-forget-at-home toiletries (lip balm, moisturizer) from Cowshed stocked in the bathroom.
Four Seasons: One of the most powerful French chefs in the world, Anne Sophie Pic, oversees the buttoned-up restaurant, La Dame de Pic, where you can get an expertly done omelet or poached eggs for breakfast.
The Ned: Nine dining venues add up to the world’s most sophisticated food hall. Go for bagels with lox on the rooftop – which has a view of St Paul’s Cathedral – then Millie’s Lounge for perfectly crisp fish and chips.
Four Seasons: The subterranean spa – covered in shimmering, floor-to-ceiling tile – is open until 9 p.m. Among the perks: eight treatment rooms, a full-length pool, and a steamy Turkish hammam.
The Ned: The vault of the former Midland Bank, on the Ned’s lower level, is the coolest new bar in London. Take in old-world glamour, from the classic G&Ts and Champagne fizzes to the restored lockboxes that line the walls.
Four Seasons: A 20-minute wait at check-in because of delayed housekeeping made for a rocky first impression. But the Trinity Square location is sufficiently royal: Across the street is the Tower of London, home of the crown jewels. Request a room with a view; many of the property’s 100 rooms face an interior courtyard. 10 Trinity Square, from US$564 nightly
The Ned: Every inch here feels more art-directed than thoughtfully designed. The bedroom chandelier was stunning – it looked like a palm tree – but turning it on and off required the help of a front desk attendant. (The brass dimmer doesn’t work like a normal one.) The Ned is only 15 minutes from the Four Seasons, but the bustling vibe makes it seem a world away. 27 Poultry, from US$324 nightly