London’s First Westin Takes Wellness to a Chic New Level

For many travelers, and for many hotel brands, wellness has long been a cornerstone priority, but as society slowly emerges from a global pandemic, international travel returns to pre-2020 regularity, and globe-trotters seek holistic hospitality, there’s never been a more pivotal time to prioritize health-conscious wanderlust — and nowhere is this more front-and-center than the shimmering new Westin in London.  The Westin London City marks the brand’s first foray into the U.K., and the 1000th hotel in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region for the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio. While wellness has long been an important tenet for Westin Hotels & Resorts, the new London locale dovetails this philosophy with luxury and comfort in a way that few brands can balance, proving that its through-line of health can chicly co-exist with wine-paired dinners and poolside pleasure.  In short, The Westin London City is not only marking an innovative new inroad for a globally established brand, but setting the pace for post-pandemic international travel. 

The Design

One stroll through the front doors, passed the cheery and welcoming concierge, and the ease and comfort washes over you immediately. This ground-floor lobby, after all, is literally called “The Haven” (pictured above). Whether you’ve traveled 4,000 miles (as I did) or four, the hotel is designed and orchestrated in a way that innately relaxes and soothes, regardless of how exhausting the jet lag may be. 

Uniquely positioned on a bridge spanning a bustling thoroughfare by the River Thames, perched on an inlet where Alfred the Great landed in 886 to rebuild London after the Romans left, the hotel’s distinct architecture and flowy design takes a lot of its inspiration from the iconic adjacent waterway. Immediately, the undertones of wellness hit you faster than a brisk London breeze. This is thanks to the contemporary, crafty designs of British architects Dexter Moren Associates, who smartly conceptualized the property under the notion that feeling connected to nature (in this case, the River Thames), especially in a busy big city like London, provides an intrinsic sense of well-being for travelers. Fluid shapes and sculptures throughout the hotel lend a sense of nature, while floor-to-ceiling windows, both from the main lobby and Hithe and Seek wine bar, put the River Thames front-and-center like no hotel in London really has. 

The soothing facade extends into the restful guest rooms, designed with a residential feel to help guests feel as instantly relaxed as possible — which is easy to do upon sinking into the Heavenly® Bed and washing up with cleansing White Tea Heavenly® Bath products in the bathrooms that feel like mini private spas. 

The Food

Toeing the line between gourmet cooking and health-conscious nutrition can be a tough act to execute, but chef Jorge Colazo pulls it off with consistently delicious results. His main showcase is Mosaic, the all-day restaurant spotlighting sustainable, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients as often as possible, including a Westin Eat Well menu that works with ingredients specially selected to rejuvenate and ward off jet lag, like luscious watermelon juices, gorgeous broccoli-clad quinoa salads, and toothsome tortellini filled with fresh, fragrant pumpkin puree. Polished and slick, with energizing city views from its fourth-floor perch, it’s the perfect catchall nook for WiFi warriors, business lunches, date nights, and Champagne toasts. 

This ethos extends to the swanky and stylish Hithe & Seek wine bar (pictured above), whose sweeping views from the north bank of the River Thames are as stunning as the esoteric wines and elegant small plates. Working alongside chef Colazo, and utilizing those same wellness-meets-comfort philosophies, Wine Curator Erin Summers commands a high-caliber drink list of familiar oenophile favorites (the “Hithe” section of the menu) and novel, offbeat selections (the “Seek” section). Whether participating in an illuminating guided wine tasting, enjoying a multi-course meal, or just sampling a glass of something you’ve never heard of, from a region you never knew grew grapes, Hithe & Seek is as fun and informative as it is tasty and celebratory. Altogether, the bar provides a setting that promotes balance and respect for the craft. Unlike a stereotypically touristy London experience of boozing it up in pubs, this is a space that honors and educates as much as it indulges. The food menu is right in line, with dainty dishes that harmonize rich flavors with fresh, energizing ingredients in smaller, shareable portions — look for cured sardines on toast with roasted peppers and capers, spiced heritage carrots with chickpea puree and dukkah, tater tots with trout roe and sour cream, and charred baby corn with earthy huitlacoche mayo, all of which can handily be paired with wines like English rosé, Slovenian Sauvignon Blanc, and Uruguanian Albariño. 

This underlying ethos of edible wellness extends to the guest rooms, with a nightly turn-down service that goes above and beyond, by focusing on sips and snacks that specifically promote restful sleep and inner balance. On any given evening, after a day spent hoofing it through London, you can expect to return to hot tea pots and snacks like roasted chickpeas or pineapple-kiwi salad. 

The Spa

The centerpiece of The Westin London City’s wellness programming is the ornate Heavenly Spa by Westin™, outfitted with six treatment rooms and a majestic, daybed-equipped pool built around the remains of an ancient Roman bath.  Naturally, for its first spa in the U.K., Westin Hotels & Resorts went big with singular services and unique treatments, like the Meridian Flow Golden Facial, a gilded facial that literally involves using gold-coated micro-magnetic pearls to plump and refresh the skin. Other cleansing options include the Three Stones Ritual, a 90-minute session that includes meditation, Swedish massage, and heated compresses to relax the back, and the Eastern Facelift Ritual, which uses old-world traditions like Chinese medicine, face mapping, and acupressure points to freshen up the face.  Then there’s the impressively equipped fitness studio, open 24 hours a day and stocked with everything from Peloton Bikes and elliptical machines to free weights, treadmills, and rowing machines, so you can pretend you’re paddling the River Thames without having to get wet. 

The Area

Beyond the fitness center and spa, wellness extends beyond the confines of the building for The Westin London City. Maximizing its optimal location on the north bank of the River Thames, the hotel has a Rise & Run Club for early birds, working with a roster of “run concierges” who take guests on guided jogs throughout the area. This includes the final segments of the Thames riverside pathway, which links the Embankment to the Tower of London and provides an easy, traffic-free route with epic views and proximity to nature.  It’s not just the riverfront access that makes The Westin London City an appealing stopover for pedestrians, either. The pedestrian Millennium Bridge is practically right outside, taking visitors across the river to the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Borough Market, a foodie wonderland of cheeses, seafood, olive oils, meats, produce, and fluffy, custard-filled doughnuts. Because at the end of the day — and after a long trans-Atlantic flight — sometimes “wellness” also means easy access to chocolate custard, and The Westin London City delivers on all accounts.

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