ME London will open on the Strand in the original home of BBC Radio. It is the first hotel project for architectural firm Foster & Partners (founded by Norman Foster), with US restaurant operator The ONE Group heading up the venue’s F&B offerings which include the STK and Cucina Asellina restaurants.
“Our intention has been to make sure that the hotel will be a unique experience, efficient to run and appropriate to the level of service that ME London wishes to deliver,” said David Nelson, head of design for Foster & Partners.
“We put ourselves in the guests’ position to make sure that their experience would be exceptional – we extensively prototyped the rooms and made many changes to improve design and to stay within agreed budgets.”
ME London was initially scheduled to open in July of this year, but construction work on the property was hindered by a large fire in the roof of the building.
But now complete, the 157 rooms at ME London start at around £400 a night including VAT and will include 30 with private balconies, 16 suites, the ‘ultra-luxurious’ Suite ME and a two-floor penthouse in the turret of the building.
Gracing the ME London hotel lobby is the bar and lounge named after Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the radio. The hotel will feature over 8,000 sq.ft of events spaces, with seven rooms able to cater for up to 300 guests.
On the tenth floor of the hotel, the ‘Radio’ rooftop terrace, lounge and bar will be open from breakfast until late, celebrating the building’s roots in broadcasting and offering 180-degree panoramic views of London, with a capacity of 76 inside and 74 outside.
STK & Cucina Asellina
ME London is the location for the first London outpost of New York-based steakhouse STK, which has its own street entrance on the ground floor of the hotel. The 224-cover restaurant aims to offer a ‘female-friendly dining experience’ with a ‘waistline-conscious’ menu.
The grill-style menu will include wagyu burgers, head-to-toe mixed veal grill with tobacco onions and British and USDA steaks. STK will also feature a bar, offering a wide selection of beers, wines and cocktails.
Cucina Asellina is a rustic Italian restaurant which aims to take advantage of the pre-theatre trade. The 90-cover restaurant will also have its own entrance, offering a range of dishes including flatbreads, pastas, charcuterie and cheeses.
Strengthening the brand
Melia Hotels International recently recruited a commis chef for the new hotel by asking potential candidates to submit a Masterchef-style video of themselves in which they can demonstrate their passion for food. The hotel is managed by Fabio Gallo, who previously spent five years as general manager of The Cadogan hotel on Sloane Street.
The chain, which predicted it will experience a 'strong' performance in the UK in the third quarter of the year driven by the Olympics and the opening of ME London, ended September 2012 with a 4.3 per cent increase in EBITDA and a net profit of €36.7m.
BigHospitality understands that Melia Hotels International (formerly Sol Melià) purchased ME London for around £115m, and spent around £45m reconstructing the building from scratch. The hotel is expected to open on 1 December.