3 -min. read

Blame the weather, but New York has always had a better hotel rooftop game than London – just check out a few of the NYC-centric options fresh for this season (along with additions in Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Montreal). However, the UK capital will have something to counter with in September with the transformation of The Trafalgar Hotel into The Trafalgar St. James, including a complete rethink of its rooftop bar.

And yes, it will only be ready in September: but it’s been such a mixed bag run-up to summer here so far (lots of blustery, rainy and grey days that feel more like October than May) we’ll just assume we’ve earned a long Indian summer, shall we?

Here’s a first look at the space – rather than Vista, it will go simply by ‘The Rooftop’ from now on, a ‘year-round hotspot with an Ibiza style lounge and dining areas’. Given the hotel’s vantage point on the southwest corner of Trafalgar Square and the improvements to enlarge and open up the space, the views should be pretty stellar.

Everything else inside the hotel is changing too (it’s always been a Hilton hotel but never branded as such, it’s now part of its Curio collection). The 131 rooms are in the process of being redone in a much warmer scheme of greys, whites and deep red. While renovations are in progress, you should be able to book the revamped rooms already by speaking to the hotel directly.

As part of the hotel’s overhaul, the entrance has moved from its previous corner to a quieter spot down the pedestrian side street. Above what you will see when you walk in (though the lush deep red seating areas weren’t there yet when we popped in recently), with a rather pretty deep grey/blue on the walls contrasting with white ceilings and light stone/marble flooring.

The corner of the ground floor will be taken over by all-day dining restaurant ‘1805’, serving ‘British inspired food with a twist’.

Finally, downstairs, there will be private lounge ‘Biblio’, exclusive to hotel guests and bringing events, ‘live performances by up-and-coming musicians and intimate audiences with cultural experts’.

[Renderings: The Trafalgar St. James]


Paul J DeVries
Paul J DeVries is a freelance travel writer and was previously a contributing editor for Based in London, he knows the city's hotel scene inside out, while also covering the latest in destinations around the world. When not checking out a new hotel, he checks in on the airlines and inflight products that get you there.

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