Eye on London: Covent Garden Charms Chinese Travelers

    Afternoon tea and prime shopping spots draw China's affluent travelers to the chic London district.
    Jing Daily
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    One Aldwych in London. (Courtesy Photo)

    Only about a mile from traditional London luxury in Mayfair, the Covent Garden area is a bustling magnet for tourists and locals alike, with world-class accommodations and restaurants rubbing elbows with packed theater houses and sightseers. With plenty of shopping destinations, not least of which being Burberry and Dior Beauty boutiques at Covent Garden, this neighborhood is attracting growing legions of Chinese tourist-shoppers.

    Among the most well-placed hotels in the area is One Aldwych, which—despite its classic exterior—hides the contemporary design and amenities sought after by China’s increasingly worldly traveler demographic. Originally built in 1907 by architects Mewes and Davis (who also designed the Ritz hotels in London and Paris), One Aldwych boasts 105 guest rooms and suites, as well as two restaurants helmed by chef Dominic Teague. Afternoon tea-obsessed Chinese guests are taken care of as well, with the hotel offering afternoon tea inspired by Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

    A Chinese guest at One Aldwych blogs about her afternoon tea experience on Weibo.

    Jetlagged guests in need of “me time” after the long flight from Asia flock to the hotel’s health club and pool for treatments from Natura Bissé, and the private guest-only space Lounge at One and screening room let guests get away from the action just outdoors.

    With an interior that whispers, rather than screams, modern luxury, One Aldwych fits with the current development level of the affluent Chinese traveler—who is now starting to dip his or her toe into more expensive, elevated lodgings and spend more time on experiences, rather than luxury shopping alone. Masterminded by British interior designer Mary Fox Linton, the feel of the hotel is very much restrained but welcoming, with over 350 works of art and a permanent collection of contemporary sculptures displayed throughout the hotel.

    But in addition to the top-tier dining and accommodations, One Aldwych is blessed by its location, right in the middle of London. The hotel sits between the City and the West End, with sites such as the Tate Modern, the London Eye, Somerset House, the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House a short stroll away. The hotel is also within easy walking distance of 15 West End theaters, and nearby luxury shopping on Bond Street.

    The Savoy Hotel in London. (Courtesy Photo)

    Also nearby is the iconic Savoy Hotel, which—like One Aldwych and Claridge’s— draws in a growing number of Chinese foodies with its afternoon tea. Available in the hotel’s Thames Foyer, afternoon tea at the Savoy is a luxury in itself, created by Executive Pastry Chef Ludwig Hely. Leveraging its long history, and heritage as a regular haunt of Golden Age film stars and 20th century power brokers, the Savoy’s Art Deco interiors and six restaurants and bars whisk visitors back in time while providing the utmost in modern conveniences. At once ageless and stunningly contemporary, the Savoy is building a reputation among China’s emerging jetsetter as the place to stay when in London.

    One Aldwych

    Address: One Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ
    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7300 1000
    Official website

    The Savoy

    Address: The Strand, London WC2R 0EU
    Telephone: +44 (0)20 7836 4343
    Official website

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