For a country that has been on lockdown since December – its people within five miles of home, no restaurants, no hotels or non-essential stores – May 17 will be a welcome and drastic change. Domestic travel is allowed again, hotels will be allowed to reopen.
It may seem counterintuitive to head for London rather than the countryside or the British coast, but the benefits are numerous. Museums, concert halls and theaters will all be able to open with social distancing measures in place, and more than half of the population vaccinated by the end of March and better tracking and quarantine measures, there are has growing confidence that this reopening date will be met.
And London is getting ready. Non-essential stores will open from April 12. The Camden Jazz Cafe kicks off May 17th with a night of neo-soul. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is scheduled to open May 20 at the Apollo Theater. This summer’s blockbuster show at V&A is Epic Iran is also set to open finally, but probably the most needed of all, David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring will open at the Royal Academy on May 23, a series of landscapes painted in 2020 at the artist’s house in Normandy.
And luxury hotels in London are unlikely to offer such attractive rates for a while or such attractive and value-added packages. Housed in one of London’s iconic buildings, The Shard Staycation by Shangri-La Is offers rates from £ 550 a night, including a guaranteed upgrade to the next room category, free valet parking and a small – Buffet lunch plus 20% off all meals and shopping at Harvey Nichols.
The Savoy’s Staycation package includes £ 100 credit (£ 250 with suites) to spend at its bars and restaurants (excluding the Savoy Grill), as do Firmdale hotels including Ham Yard and the Covent Garden Hotel, as well as a free breakfast, a guaranteed upgrade to the next room category and a gift.
Marriott, which includes the St Pancras Renaissance and Grosvenor House on Park Lane in its portfolio, is making a game for the family market by offering families 50 percent off a second room reservation; an offer valid until December 31.
The Treehouse, near Oxford Circus, which opened in December 2019 is the new brother of the 1 Hotels chain. From May, her Spring Blossom package offers 30% off the price of her room with a £ 20 credit to her restaurant, Madura.
Opposite the treehouse is the Langham, which offers more traditional five-star accommodation. It will take a different approach with its ‘Stay and Do Good’ package, donating £ 25 from every hotel room reservation and £ 100 from a suite stay to one of ten charities among which customers can choose from. CEO Doris Greif sees it as a continuation of her 2020 program which has seen stays granted to the NHS and essential workers, including police, letter carriers. “We encourage our guests to join us in supporting those who are changing and building lives in our community,” she said.