The year’s hottest new hotel, opened October 2013 after an £85 million refit, is entered through a stone courtyard arch of a gloriously elaborate edifice (constructed with pomp as the Pearl Assurance insurance citadel). It’s the ne plus ultra of London’s modern luxury properties. A foyer sheathed entirely in brass! Songbirds by the lifts! Toilet paper as indulgently soft as puppys’ ears! Rooms are so quiet you could hear a champagne bubble pop. They’re also lush: giant 46” LCD TVs are standard, as is Italian bedding you sink into like a swimming pool. Push a button to ring down your window blinds and sip homemade sloe gin from the minibar. If it weren’t for the hard reality of the tariff, it’d be enough to sour you that the rest of the planet can’t be executed with such theatricality. The neighborhood seems at first to be too dry, but the pleasures of the British Museum and Covent Garden are both 5 minutes away.