Tuesday, 29 December 2009

New Year at Rafayel

New Year’s Eve at Rafayel

We will welcome you at 8pm with canapés and a glass of champagne. Enjoy the warm glow from our trendy lobby before moving through to Banyan on the Thames, our riverside restaurant, for a sumptuous dinner. After dinner count down the New Year from our wonderful roof terrace before dancing the night away.

New Year’s Menu

6 Courses

Champagne foam and caviar shot
Banyan spiced canon of lamb served on crisp naan bread
Lobster thermidor
Vodka and beetroot cured salmon with dill crème fraiche
Wild mushroom tart with micro salad and thyme essence
Caramelized sesame quail with julienne of vegetables
Fillet steak served on a gallette of dauphinoise potatoes with pan roasted vegetables, madeira wine reduction
Thai-baked seabass fillet with steamed rice, kaffir lime leaf and coconut sauce
Field mushroom baby spinach and feta cheese stack served with purple basil oil (v)
Apple Cinnamon and toffee tart tatin with nutmeg cream
Winter berry compote with white chocolate and orange sauce
Knickerbocker glory of strawberry, chocolate and hoki poki ice cream with winter berries
Selected cheeses and chutneys
Freshly ground coffee and tea infusions with chocolates


Whole roasted lamb stuffed with basmati rice, pistachios and fenugreek
Shisha pipes

For bookings and enquiries please contact us on +44 (0)20 7801 3600 or E-mail: reservations@hotelrafayel.com

Sunday, 27 December 2009

35 Things to do in London in 2010

35 things to do in London in 2010 (Hotel Rafayel's selection from Time Out's 101: http://www.timeout.com/london/features/2253/9.html)

1.Find peace in Battersea Park
Japanese Peace Pagoda, Battersea Park, SW11 (020 8871 7532/www.batterseapark.org). Battersea Park rail.

2. Horse around in Hyde Park
Few people know there are stables and a riding school here. Lessons are £55-£95 an hour.
Hyde Park & Kensington Stables, 63 Bathurst Mews, W2 (020 7723 2813/ www.hydeparkstables.com). Lancaster Gate tube.

3. Get classical in a crypt
Listen to classical music by candlelight at St Martin-in-the-Fields (Thursdays to Saturdays, and alternate Tuesdays, 7.30pm). The evening performances are worth the entry fee; lunchtime recitals are free.
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2 (020 7766 1100/www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org). Charing Cross tube/rail.

4. Visit the beautiful Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. The bridge at the foot of a waterfall is one of the city’s most peaceful spots.
Holland Park tube

5. Make a call from London's first red phone box
Take two steps off Piccadilly into the imposing courtyard arch of the Royal Academy and swing open the doors of telephonic history. This sheltered red kiosk is a Grade-II listed building – not just the first ever vermillion red telephone box in the whole world, but its wooden prototype. Dial H for history!
Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London, W1J (OBD 020 7300 8000/www.royalacademy.org.uk). Piccadilly Circus/Green Park tube.

6.Go night fishing
Anyone can dangle their rod in the pond on Clapham Common, but check in advance to make sure there are no competitions taking place.
Clapham Common tube

7.Catch the Bard on grass
The open-air theatre in Regent’s Park is perfect for summery Shakespeare romps. They tend to be popular so book well in advance.
Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, NW1 (www.openairtheatre.org). Baker St tube.

8.Be a groundling at the Globe
Stay on your feet and catch a historically authentic performance in the reconstructed theatre; the original burned down in 1613. Plays take place from May until September.
Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 (020 7401 9919/www.shakespeares-globe.org) London Bridge tube/rail.

9. Watch the Great River Race
This annual race takes place in September on the Thames along a 22-mile course from Ham House in Richmond to Greenwich, and features more than 260 ‘traditional’ boats, from Chinese dragon boats to Viking longboats. Less po-faced than the Oxbridge race – and much more colourful.

10.Hear angels sing
Westminster Cathedral has some of the best choristers in the world, who sing daily at mass from 7am until 5.30pm.
Westminster Cathedral, Victoria St, SW1 (020 7798 9055/www.westminstercathedral.org.uk). Victoria tube/rail.

11.Chuckle at cartoons
At the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, visitors can’t help but laugh out loud at works by artists from Hogarth and Gillray to Thelwell, Steadman and Matt.
Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell St, WC1 (020 7580 8155/www.cartooncentre.com). Tottenham Court Rd tube.

12.Scratch your head at Sir John Soane’s
An eclectic and fascinating collection of sculptures, paintings, antiquities, jewellery and other bits and pieces collected by the architect.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2 (020 7405 2107/www.soane.org). Holborn tube.

13.Eye up the walrus
Sneak down to Forest Hill for what might be (whisper it) London’s best museum – the Horniman. Skeletons, pickled animals, model insects and Egyptian mummies, and the star attraction – an enormous (over-) stuffed walrus. Don’t miss the mesmerising jellyfish in the new aquarium or the Apostles clock chiming at 4pm.
Horniman Museum, 100 London Rd, SE23 (020 8699 1872/www.horniman.ac.uk). Forest Hill rail.

14.Take the Duck Tour
London Duck tours (020 7928 3132/www.londonducktours.co.uk).

15. Get a full head of steam
London’s only steam railway; Sundays at Kew Bridge Steam Museum (Mar-Nov).
Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, Middx (020 8568 4757/www.kbsm.org). Gunnersbury tube/rail or Kew Bridge rail.

16.Discover the glorious Chelsea Physic Garden
A true secret garden in the city; public opening hours are restricted.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 (0207376 3910/ www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk). Sloane Square tube.

17.Make your MP show you the Houses of Parliament
They have to say yes. Don’t miss Westminster Hall, one of Europe’s finest medieval buildings.
Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square, SW1 (0870 906 3773/www.parliament.uk). Westminster tube.

18.Witness the drama of a big case at the Old Bailey
The public is welcome to visit; a notice by the front door gives details of forthcoming trials.
Central Criminal Court, Corner of Newgate St & Old Bailey, EC4 (020 7248 3277/www.oldbaileyonline.org). St Paul’s tube.

19. Make a Royal Guard laugh
Find out what happened when Time Out donned a glasses-nose-'tache combo and tried to crack the Queen's guards!

20.Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown
Lion and dragon teams perform traditional dances and there are, of course, fireworks displays (at lunchtime and 5pm). It all takes place in late January/early February.
Gerrard St, W1. Leicester Square tube

21.Get up early for Billingsgate Market
Buy cheap fish, or just enjoy the foul language. Open Tue-Sat 5-8.30am.
Billingsgate Market, Trafalgar Way, E14 (020 7987 1118/ www.cityoflondon.gov.uk). Poplar DLR.

22.Laugh at old toys in Pollock’s Toy Museum
Take in tin toys, teddy bears and more.
Pollock’s Toy Museum, 1 Scala St (entrance Whitfield St), W1 (020 7636 3452/www.pollockstoymuseum.com). Goodge St tube.

23. Survive a royal gun salute
This deafening British display of pageantry happens on a handful of dates every year, when the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery makes a mounted charge through Hyde Park, sets up guns and fires a 41-gun salute. It occurs at noon on Accession Day, the Queen’s two birthdays, Remembrance Sunday and other special days.

24.Yelp at scary Victorian medical instruments
Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas St, SE1 (020 7188 2679/www.thegarret.org.uk). London Bridge tube/rail.

25.Watch the penguins being fed
At London Zoo, daily 2.30-3pm.
London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1 (020 7722 3333/www.zsl.org/london-zoo). Camden Town tube or C2, 274 bus.

26.Watch a puppet show at the Little Angel Theatre
Founded by John Wright in 1961, this is the only permanent theatre of its kind in London.
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, off Cross St, N1 (020 7226 1787/www.littleangeltheatre.com). Angel tube.

27.Browse the National Archives
There’s a thousand years of official government records here. See if they’ve got anything on you. Saturday tours are free.
National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Richmond, Surrey (020 8876

28.Go up the wall
Not the actual London Wall, but one of those at the capital’s fantastic climbing centres.
Castle Climbing Centre, Green Lanes, N4 (020 8211 7000/www.castle-climbing.co.uk). Manor House tube.
Mile End Climbing Centre, Haverfield Rd, E3 (020 8980 0289/ www.mileendwall.org.uk). Mile End tube.
Westway Climbing Wall, Westway Sports Centre, 1 Crowthorne Rd, W10 (020 8969 0992/www.westway.org). Latimer Rd or White City tube.

29.Launch a campaign at Speaker's Corner
Or just go and hear what other people have got a bee in their bonnet about. Or a bat in their belfry in some cases.
Marble Arch tube.

30. Do the Monopoly pub crawl
That’s 26 pubs, in order. Don’t expect to collect £200 if you pass Go.

31.Watch contemporary dance
At the stunning Laban centre. Or just stand and admire this incredible Herzog & de Meuron-designed building from the outside.
Laban, Creekside, SE8 (020 8691 8600/www.laban.org). Deptford rail/Deptford Bridge DLR.

32.Smash up cars
No, we’re not talking about descending on the car park with a set of keys and a baseball bat. On Sundays, Wimbledon Stadium offers the chance to race bangers around its track. If you’re not keen on actually doing the driving, then you can just sit back and relax while the experts smash their vehicles to pieces.
Wimbledon Stadium, Plough Lane, SW17 0BL, 01252 322 920/ www.spedeworth.net). Tooting Broadway tube/Earlsfield rail/44, 270, 272 bus.

33. Discover London’s city farms
London has a whopping 17 city farms overseen by the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens. Visit Bella the saddleback pig at Hackney or the riotous goats down on the Surrey Docks Farm.

34.Get a walk-in backrub
For a quick stress-busting session, drop-in on one of the quick-stop massage stations run by Walk-In-Backrub (www.walkinbackrub.co.uk). The convenience factor is high: you don’t even need to take your clothes off or lie down, as the treatments take place on ergonomic leather chairs. You’ll find branches wherever serious shopping goes on such as Covent Garden (14 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP, 020 7836 9111) off Carnaby Street (second floor, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW, 020 7287 9326), and in Selfridges (fourth floor, 400 Oxford Street, W1 A 1AB, 0870 837 7377).

35. Get up early for Dawn Chorus Day
The first public Dawn Chorus Day was held in the UK in Birmingham in 1984, but London bird lovers have taken the celebration up keenly over the past two decades. If you know your tweet from your twitter, go it alone in your local park or back garden, then feed your findings back via the official website (www.idcd.info). Otherwise set the alarm early on the designated Sunday in early May (see the website for exact dates) and head for one of the organised London events. The London Wetland Centre is a prime location – and the gathering here normally includes a group breakfast. In the past, events have also taken place at Tower Hamlets Cemetery and Roundshaw Downs Local Nature Reserve. So grab your binoculars and head for the birds in the bushes – you can always go back to bed afterwards.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Rafayel's Introductory Room Rates

Hotel Rafayel is pleased to offer truly astounding introductory rates for all rooms, with up to 70% discount:

The Mississippi Rooms / Big Room (up to 220 sq feet):
Opening Rate: £120 (incl. Tax) – a 50% reduction on Rack Rate of £250

The Yangtze Rooms / Bigger Room (up to 350 sq feet):
Opening Rate: £165 (incl. Tax) – a 50% reduction on Rack Rate of £330

The Amazon Suites / Even Bigger Room (up to 500 sq feet):
Opening Rate: £230 (incl. Tax) – a 50% reduction on Rack Rate of £460

The Thames Rooms / Even Bigger Room (up to 500 sq feet with pioneering jet lag recovery system)
Opening Rate: £230 (incl. Tax) – a 50% reduction on Rack Rate of £460

The Nile Suites / Biggest Rooms (up to 700 sq feet)
Opening Rate: £285 (incl. Tax) – a 70% reduction on Rack Rate of £900

Book now to avoid disappointment! Click here for further information and reservations

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmas and New Year Festivities at Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank

Magnificently situated on the River Thames at Battersea, very close to the Christmas shopping delights of Sloane Square, Chelsea and Knightsbridge, Rafayel on the Left Bank provides the perfect setting in which to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Whether you choose to enjoy a festive drink and bask in the warm glow of our spectacular lobby, dine and celebrate in style in our sophisticated riverside restaurant or watch the New Year fireworks from our roof terrace, your Rafayel experience will be long remembered.

For bookings and enquiries please contact us on +44 (0)20 7801 3600 or E-mail: reservations@hotelrafayel.com

Staying at the Hotel

If you would like to stay in a five star hotel over the holiday season, look no further than Rafayel. We are pleased to offer our special introductory rates, providing luxury at an affordable price. Rooms start from £120. Festive Package: Book our “Festive Package” between December 20th and January 1st and receive a complimentary festive gift from Rafayel (including half a bottle of chilled champagne). For bookings and enquiries please contact us on +44 (0)20 7801 3600 or E-mail: reservations@hotelrafayel.com

Christmas and End of Year Parties

Whether it be a corporate celebration or a private function, a large or small gathering let Rafayel organise your special event in one of our unique designer venues. We can accommodate up to 150 in our stylish 3rd floor event space with sweeping views of the Thames and our 5,500 sq ft luxury penthouse apartment on the 16th floor is perfect for private events. All spaces can be decorated with festive decorations.

For bookings and enquiries please contact us on +44 (0)20 7801 3600 or E-mail: reservations@hotelrafayel.com

Christmas Eve Dinner

Celebrate Christmas at Rafayel with friends and family and enjoy the culinary delights freshly prepared by our chefs. We are pleased to offer the following festive menu:

6 Courses

Canapés and Kir Royale
Tiger prawn skewer with mango salsa
Bangras - Banyan spiced lamb sausage on masala mash
Pea and mint risotto with gran pandano served in a crisp cornet
Caramelized terrine of foie gras with hot pear chutney and toasted brioche
Pumpkin and carrot cream soup with vanilla oil
Inverawe smoked trout with rocket and pomegranate salad and dill essence
Tournedos of salmon served on asparagus tips with a Thai butter sauce
Three bird roast with cranberry and chestnut stuffing, butter roasted potatoes, honey roasted parsnips
Gnocchi served over a wild mushroom and cream sauce with parmesan crisp (v)
Pan fried Christmas pudding served with rum and raisin ice cream
White chocolate and cardamom mousse with praline
Fresh fruits with cinnamon syrup and vanilla pod crème fraiche
English and continental cheese board with chutneys
Freshly ground coffee with mince pies and ginger bread

New Year’s Eve at Rafayel

We will welcome you at 8pm with canapés and a glass of champagne. Enjoy the warm glow from our trendy lobby before moving through to Banyan on the Thames, our riverside restaurant, for a sumptuous five course dinner. After dinner count down the New Year and watch London’s fireworks from our wonderful roof terrace before dancing the night away.

New Year’s Menu

6 Courses

Champagne foam and caviar shot
Banyan spiced canon of lamb served on crisp naan bread
Lobster thermidor
Vodka and beetroot cured salmon with dill crème fraiche
Wild mushroom tart with micro salad and thyme essence
Caramelized sesame quail with julienne of vegetables
Fillet steak served on a gallette of dauphinoise potatoes with pan roasted vegetables, madeira wine reduction
Thai-baked seabass fillet with steamed rice, kaffir lime leaf and coconut sauce
Field mushroom baby spinach and feta cheese stack served with purple basil oil (v)
Apple Cinnamon and toffee tart tatin with nutmeg cream
Winter berry compote with white chocolate and orange sauce
Knickerbocker glory of strawberry, chocolate and hoki poki ice cream with winter berries
Selected cheeses and chutneys
Freshly ground coffee and tea infusions with chocolates

Firework Terrace

Whole roasted lamb stuffed with basmati rice, pistachios and fenugreek
Shisha pipes

Gift Vouchers

Want to treat a friend or loved one to special and unique gift? Consider a Rafayel gift voucher. Vouchers are available for our River Wellbeing Spa, our riverside restaurant or for overnight stays at Rafayel.

Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank, Falcon Wharf, 34 Lombard Road, London, SW11 3RF
Tel: +44 (0)20 7978 7362; E-mail: reservations@hotelrafayel.com; Web: www.hotelrafayel.com

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Outside Looking In -- the photos continue!

The view outside! Everything thus far has shown you the beautiful interiors of Rafayel. Now let us show you the breath-taking external views:

Monday, 14 December 2009

Even more photos of Hotel Rafayel

Even more photos of Hotel Rafayel -


One of the Spa Treatment Rooms:

Upper Floor Lobby:



Thursday, 10 December 2009

More Photos of Hotel Rafayel

As our launch date approaches we are pleased to offer another tantalising glimpse of Hotel Rafayel

Ground Floor Lobby:

Upper Floor Lobby:




Monday, 7 December 2009

Copenhagen Climate Change Editorial

To mark the start of the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, a common editorial was published today in 56 newspapers in 45 countries in 20 languages. A full list of the newspapers that published the editorial may be viewed here.

The Copenhagen summit brings together representatives from 192 countries to forge an international climate treaty to take effect in 2012, with specific carbon reduction targets. The editorial was written by the editorial team of the UK’s The Guardian newspaper in consultation with the editors of 20 international newspapers and calls upon the leaders of the world to commit to a binding treaty.

The global publication of a common editorial is an unprecedented event in publishing history which clearly demonstrates the urgency and seriousness of the appeal.

To show our solidarity with the cause and our commitment to the reduction of carbon emissions, we at Hotel Rafayel are proud to publish the same editorial, in its entirety, on our blog:

"Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.

But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty. Next June's UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: "We can go into extra time but we can't afford a replay."

At the deal's heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.

Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targetsby the world's biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.

Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of "exported emissions" so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than "old Europe", must not suffer more than their richer partners.

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.
Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.

Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature".

It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too.

The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history's judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice."

This editorial is free to reproduce under Creative Commons

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Rafayel Buzz

As our launch date draws nearer, the buzz around Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank continues to grow apace. Over the last two weeks we have been featured in a number of articles, including:

Hotel Rafayel - London's new Eco Hotel by Kate Monson of EcoEscape.org

Eco Hotel Ready to Join Utell - Travel Daily.co.uk

Hotel Rafayel: Eco-Friendly London Calling - Feature in France's Hoosta Magazine

Rafayel London in Sleeper Magazine

Check into 2010: Old Skool v Nu Wave - by Stephanie Hirschmiller of The Handbook

Live Upside Down in the Cool New Look Battersea - by Timothy Barber of City AM Newspaper

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Rafayel's Rooms

We are pleased to provide you with a glimpse of one of our standard hotel rooms. Our designer "smart" rooms are among the largest and most technologically-advanced in London. Welcome to the Future!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Rafayel's Mission Statement

Even at the best of times, let alone in the current economic climate, fierce competition from hotel chains and large groups can make it hard for independent hotels to perform well. By outsourcing HR, sales and various non-core activities, Rafayel on the Left Bank has been able to forge a new corporate model; one which we hope will be viewed as a yardstick for independent hotels to achieve better results in the competitive landscape of the hospitality industry.

Thinking outside the box and developing our concepts of affordable luxury and living at peace with nature enables the Rafayel brand to challenge the established order. From building a unique product to managing and running it, we strive for originality and innovation. Our technology and emphasis has customer orientation as its primary focus.

Our decision to use the latest cutting-edge technology, at considerable expense, to replace redundant energy-hungry technology is grounded in our philosophy of doing what we can to minimise the harmful effects that an unsustainable carbon footprint will wreak on future generations. We are not shallow thinkers or narrow-minded consumers; for us, the huge capital costs of technology payback through lower emissions are a minor price to pay towards building a better world for future generations. We know that we can only ever play a tiny role in the greater, global, effort to securing a clean future, but we are ardent believers in the principle of leading by example. Our “no plastic” policy and LED lighting alone will reduce our CO2 emissions by 500,000 kg per year.

We have also taken the initiative to provide employment opportunities to those who seek to improve their lot in life. We have taken on board and trained a number of ambitious individuals who simply require the chance to prove themselves and demonstrate their skills. Our approach has been controversial but we believe it is our responsibility to give everyone an equal chance; we are proud to have gambled and built a team of individuals who share our passion for making our dream a reality.

We want Rafayel to be more than a mere hotel or management company. Without wishing to appear grandiloquent or over-ambitious, we see ourselves as establishing a culture, and a movement of change. Our mantra is to live at peace with nature, offer affordable luxury and provide opportunities for those who share our vision. All this is pursued with the over-arching aim of affording our customers the best service and the happiest experience.

Monday, 23 November 2009

USA to Commit to Stronger Action on Climate Change at Copenhagen

Suzanne Goldenberg, US Environmental Correspondent for The Guardian reports in today's The Guardian:

"The White House said today it would go to the Copenhagen climate change summit with a proposed target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after facing international pressure to commit to stronger action on climate change...The move removes the biggest obstacle to a political deal at Copenhagen...

"Obama will still have to tread cautiously in proposing America's emissions cuts, however. The president promised to cut emissions by 14% over 2005 levels by 2020 when he was running for the White House. The house of representatives narrowly voted on a climate change bill last June, which proposed a 17% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020. A similar bill in the Senate proposed a 20% cut.
" Read the full article HERE

Hotel Rafayel believes strongly that all elements of society, be they private individuals, corporations (including hotels!) or nations need to demonstrate their sincere commitment to combating climate change by actively implementing significant emission cuts in the immediate future (present!). This is all the more important in the world's most industrialised states.

Friday, 20 November 2009

CITY AM newspaper mentions Rafayel in article on Chic Battersea

Judging by recent press articles, Battersea is the place to be. The latest article on chic battersea appeared in today's CITY AM, an influential paper widely available in London, but which is particularly directed towards London's powerful financial sector in the City.

To quote from part of the article:

"Ipsus03 is part of a change that is taking place in Battersea. There are spectacular contemporary developments such as Lord Foster’s sensuous Albion Riverside. Other developments are springing up, too, including one in the old power station, which is expected to bring a new Tube station to the area. A trendy new design hotel, the Rafayel, is due to open soon.

And why not? Battersea is a rather stunning place to live. As a residential area, it has probably been best known for the splendid Victoria mansion blocks that encircle Battersea Park, and the knots of quiet, terraced streets from the same era that spread across the surrounding area.

The location is terrific – turn right out of your front door and you’ll be at delightful Battersea Park; turn left and in the same amount of time you’re at Clapham Junction, with trains to Waterloo and Victoria. Then there are the shops and restaurants of Battersea Park Road, particularly good for little food delis, vintage furniture boutiques and quality gastropubs such as the Duke of Cambridge, Ipsus03’s local. A 10-minute stroll over Battersea Bridge brings you to the shopping paradise of the King’s Road.

The article may be read here

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mottra Caviar: The World's Only Truly Sustainable Caviar

We are delighted to announce that Mottra Caviar, “the world’s only truly sustainable caviar” will be available in Hotel Rafayel. Rafayel’s philosophy of sustainability is not limited to environmentally-friendly issues -- it also incorporates a commitment to ethical practices. Mottra caviar is ethical, ecological, sustainable, healthy and, arguably most important, delicious!!

Established in 2002, Mottra is certified by the United Nations Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species. Mottra’s caviar is ethically milked from sturgeon in a non-harmful manner so that the fish can continue to spawn. Fed with organic feed, Mottra’s sturgeon is farmed in an environmentally-friendly farm which is energy and water efficient and which does not pollute the surrounding area with chemicals or additives.

Free from artificial substances and preservatives (apart from minimal salt), the caviar produced by Mottra is extremely subtle in flavour and is free from sharp or fishy aftertaste, qualities eagerly sought by caviar connoisseurs. The caviar is not wet, mushy or sticky and, due to Mottra’s special farming methods, looks, smells and tastes very much like it would have in centuries past, before the intensive fishing of underage sturgeon commenced. Indeed, much of the caviar Mottra offers is similar to that which has been enjoyed by Tsars and Shahs.

Mottra is proud to declare that it “brings the unique taste of real caviar back to caviar lovers.” We are proud to bring Mottra to our guests!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Rafayel’s Corporate Philosophy: Living at Peace With Nature

Converting slogans into reality.

The principle of sustainable development is frequently discussed in corporate boardrooms but, whilst expressions of commitment to “sustainability” are liberally scattered in myriad reports and websites, the practical application of this concept is rarely realised. As our environmental clock ticks ever louder, corporations, governments and all members of society, will have to convert trendy slogans and fashionable catch-phrases into reality.

Successful sustainability is necessarily reliant upon the adoption of green technologies. At Hotel Rafayel we believe that actions speak louder than words and, as part of our commitment to the practical application of sustainability concepts (“turning slogans into reality”), we have implemented cutting-edge green technology to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of our guests.

The world is in the midst of an energy revolution of seismic proportions, on a scale arguably not seen since the Industrial Revolution. As traditional energy-inefficient processes are confined to the technological scrap heap, we at Hotel Rafayel are proud to be at the vanguard of change. Our decision to ban incandescent and florescent light bulbs, becoming the world’s first LED-only hotel, is just one of the ways in which we are trying to lead by example and set a new standard for hoteliers.

The transition to a green future will not be painless but if the world is to move toward a low-carbon future, it is essential and inevitable that green technologies provide new opportunities for economic growth and success. The adoption of these technologies will provide humanity with its best (perhaps only) hope of successfully combating climate change and other environmental calamities.

The rapid industrialisation and development of countries such as India and China makes the necessity of speedy change all the more compelling. Green technologies will not only enable these demographically young populations to enjoy a higher standard of living and protect their natural resources, but will also provide them with jobs, as renewable energy holds much larger employment potential than conventional power generation. For example, it is estimated that a coal-based power plant provides employment to seven persons per megawatt of capacity, while a solar plant would provide 23 jobs per megawatt of installed capacity. Overall, therefore, the demographic pressure that is likely to develop worldwide should push governments and businesses toward embracing the rapid development of green technologies.

We must all play our part in working towards a green future. For more information on this subject we recommend the writings of Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute and chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC was joint recipient, with Al Gore, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize). http://blog.rkpachauri.org/

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jewellery by Ghelli at Hotel Rafayel

We are proud to announce that Andrea Ghelli, one of Italy’s most sought-after jewellery designers, will have a permanent display at Hotel Rafayel. Visitors will be able to view and purchase some of his most desirable and alluring pieces. Often described as both status symbols and works of art, the jewellery of Andrea Ghelli is a “once seen never forgotten” phenomenon.

Ghelli’s style exudes a heady combination of seduction, mystery and magic. The use of exotic materials such as shimmering coral and luminescent turquoise transforms the artist’s jewellery into items of ethereal beauty. Pieces dusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds create an air of extravagant glamour.

Any modern woman who relishes the avant garde and believes in defining her own style will find these precious items irresistible.

Born to a long-established family of jewellers, Andrea Ghelli studied his craft at Florence’s legendary Accademia delle belle arti. The Accademia was founded in 1563 by Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence and later Grand Duke of Tuscany. One of the great Florentine patrons of the arts, Cosimo I also created two of Florence’s most famous attractions: the Uffizi (one of the world’s premier art galleries) and the Bobboli Gardens. Over the years the Accademia has attracted such extraordinary talents as Michelangeo, Benvenuto Cellini and Il Bronzino and, since 1873, has housed Michelangelo’s original “David”.

Andrea Ghelli has remained true to his Florentine heritage and operates out of his workshop and store in the shadow of the dome of the city's most famous landmark, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Andrea also has a shop in Milan near Via Montenapoleane, and in the centre of beautiful and exclusive Forte dei Marmi (Marble Fort) in Northern Tuscany, which was once home to British sculptor Henry Moore.

With a demanding clientele that includes famous celebrities and Hollywood stars, Andrea Ghelli works hard to ensure that his work always remains cutting-edge, unique and desirable. He has recently travelled the world, seeking out new inspiration and new materials. His latest creations will be on display at Hotel Rafayel; we are proud to introduce them to London.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Rafayel profiled in the Sunday Observer

Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank was featured in a prominent article in the Art & Design section of yesterday’s Sunday Observer. The author was Stephen Bayley, the noted design critic and writer who was formerly Chief Executive of the Design Museum. The article has been very well received and has generated many positive comments – for which we are most grateful.

Mr. Bayley wrote that: “Any hotel in this still neglected part of London is a prospect of wonder, but an ecologically intelligent hotel with aspirations to glamour is, to put it no higher, exceptionally noteworthy.... The story of the hotel Rafayel offers real-world insights into the business of architecture today....Iqbal Latif bought the top floors in this 145-room [Falcon Wharf] development and, sensing an interesting opportunity, acquired the freehold. Latif boldly reinstated the idea of a hotel and established the ambitious rhetoric of an "intellectual renaissance in Battersea"....Battersea cannot yet be confused with St Germain. But, for once, a developer is determined to do something interesting. At a time when other developers are pondering ugly, non-viable holes in the ground, this is inspirational."

To read the full article in the Observer please click HERE

Friday, 6 November 2009

British Travel Awards 2009 - winners announced in Battersea gala

The British Travel Awards 2009 were held yesterday at a gala ceremony in Battersea. The British Travel Awards are widely referred to as the “Oscars” of the travel industry and are regarded as the benchmark for excellence. With over 90,000 votes cast in 2008, the British Travel Awards are the largest arbiter of public opinion on the UK travel industry.

This year's British Travel Awards winners include:


Most Environmentally & Socially Responsible
Thomson Airways

Most Environmentally & Socially Responsible Budget Airline

Most Environmentally & Socially Responsible Large Tour
First Choice Holidays

Most Environmentally & Socially Responsible Small Tour
Tribes Travel


Best Business/First Class Airline
Virgin Atlantic
British Airways

Best Business Car Hire Company

Best Economy Class Airline
Virgin Atlantic

Best No Frills / Charter Airline
Thomson Airways

Best Scheduled Airline - Europe
British Airways

Best Scheduled Airline - Long Haul
Virgin Atlantic
British Airways

Best Overseas Airport
Singapore (SIN)
Dubai (DBX)

Best Travel Information Website

Best Flight Booking Website

Best Accommodation Booking Website


Best City Break Destination

Best UK Holliday Destination

Favourite Country to Visit


Travel Recruitment Company of the Year
Travel Trade Recruitment (traveltradejobs.com)

Travel Industry Training Programme/Company of the Year
TUI UK & Ireland Agent Training (Thomson and First Choice)
Training For Travel

Best Trade Support Website (product support and info)

Best Trade Booking Website - Accommodation
Gold Medal

Best Trade Booking Website - Flights
Gold Medal

Best Trade Booking Website - Tickets, Attractions & Holiday Add Ons
Attraction World
Holiday Extras

Best Supplier Networking Travel Event or Conference (>150 delegates)
World Travel Market
UK Cruise Convention

Best Travel Agent Event or Conference (>150 delegates)
World Travel Market

Best B2B Industry Communication
Travel Weekly

Suppliers Sales Team of the Year
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Virgin Holidays

Hotel Rafayel congratulates all winners of this coveted award.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Urban Junkies looks to Battersea and Rafayel

Urban Junkies, the hip, daily e-magazine, which provides London's trendy and savvy readership with bite sized information about arts, fashion, design, shopping and other London and Barcelona tidbits has turned its gaze on Battersea and Hotel Rafayel. They think Battersea's being rejuvenated and they include Rafayel as one of the agents driving this change. Read the article here.

Rafayel - spreading the word

The buzz around Rafayel on the Left Bank has been increasing at a phenomenal rate in recent weeks. We are delighted by the interest that we are generating and, as our launch draws ever nearer, we are excited to introduce our first guests to the Rafayel experience.

Recent coverage includes articles in various leading publications and on-line resources, including Business Traveller Magazine, Hotel Chatter, Hotel Blogs, Sleeper Magazine and Hotel Briefing as well as local publications such as Urban Junkies.

Our Blog has also been receiving some very supportive and positive reviews and our posts are already being cross-posted and published elsewhere. We have been congratulated on our water policy by Tap Top (part of the drinking water campaign supported by the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority) and Thames Water is among our Twitter followers.

There is more to come!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Our Website is Live!! www.hotelrafayel.com

It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the official web site for Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank: www.hotelrafayel.com

Please take a moment to visit and look around.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Rafayel’s Restaurants and Bars

At Hotel Rafayel we believe a happy guest is a contented guest. We have taken great care to ensure that every conceivable need is catered to -- and our restaurants and bars are no exception. Whether you want a lazy brunch, a quick lunch, a cake and coffee, a funky cocktail, a sophisticated dinner, a late night snack or anything in between we have something for everyone.

We are pleased to introduce our range of restaurants and bars:

• Banyan on the Thames
• Left Bank Brasserie
• MyChelle’s Baketique
• Afternoon Tea
• Crystal Bar
• Lobby Lounge

Banyan on the Thames

Banyan on the Thames provides superior formal and casual dining with magnificent riverside views. For a special experience, dine alfresco on the restaurant’s riverside roof terrace and watch the world go by. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea and weekend brunches, Banyan on the Thames is a gastronomic delight not to be missed.

We understand the expectations of the modern-day health-conscious generation and our extensive grill-based menu is sensitive to all palates. We have endeavoured to tempt all of our diners with an assortment of delicious culinary innovations that caters to their varied lifestyles.

Left Bank Brasserie

Enjoy snacks and light meals at our trendy brasserie, soaking up the international atmosphere. Relaxed and laid-back, the brasserie is the perfect venue for informal get-togethers, drinks and casual dining.

Mychelle’s Baketique

Mychelle’s Baketique offers a full range of pastries and sweets for any occasion. Located in the lobby of Hotel Rafayel, the Baketique will be an irresistible diversion for anyone who passes its appetising window display.
The Baketique will also offer a gastronomic tasting menu that offers an array of cheeses, meats and wines to tantalise even the most discerning palate.

Afternoon Tea

Arguably the most civilised and refined of meals, traditional Afternoon Tea has finally arrived in Battersea. Enjoy the sophisticated surroundings of our lobby as we serve you savoury sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and a selection of teas and cakes, freshly prepared in our own Baketique. Afternoon Tea at Rafayel – treat yourself!

Crystal Bar

The Crystal Bar is our idea of the perfect bar: stunningly designed, beautifully situated with an extensive selection of cocktails, drinks and snacks. Let our cocktail mixologist mix you your favourite cocktail, or let him recommend something new. Either way, you’ll be coming back for more! Modern and stylish with an international vibe, the Crystal Bar provides the perfect antidote to a stressful week.

Lobby Lounge

Fancy a quiet drink alone or with friends? Want to people watch or read in peace? Take a seat in our elegant Lobby Lounge and let us serve you the drink of your choice.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Mayor of London Announces Redevelopment Plans for Nine Elms, Battersea

The Mayor of London has announced plans to redevelop Nine Elms, Battersea and the surrounding area into “a brand new district for the capital”, potentially creating 16,000 new homes and 25,000 new jobs. The regeneration plan includes the creation of green open spaces, a cycle and pedestrian bridge linking Nine Elms with Pimlico and, perhaps most significantly, an extension of the London Underground’s Northern Line to Battersea Power Station.

The plans also propose new pedestrian and cycle networks, better designed homes and communities and a decentralised energy network.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

‘This vision represents the final piece of the jigsaw that completes the central area of London. Although we are currently in a downturn, the area as it stands will, in the coming decades, deliver a substantial number of new homes and new jobs. The regeneration of Vauxhall and Nine Elms now is hugely significant in allowing us to support the economic growth of the whole of the capital, and, with the other major regeneration projects like the Olympic Park and Kings Cross taking shape, the prosperity and the role of our great city in the world is assured.

‘More than that, [this] area...will become a thriving new quarter for living, leisure and business and an easily accessible destination for Londoners and visitors.”

The Mayor acknowledges that the key to the realisation of this regeneration project lies in the relocation of the United States Embassy to Nine Elms, the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and the success of New Covent Garden Market.

To support the plan, the Mayor has announced that developers involved in the regeneration of Nine Elms will be exempt from paying the Crossrail levy (a charge on central London businesses to help fund construction of a critical London transport link) and will instead be expected to contribute towards construction of the Northern Line extension to Battersea.

Rob Tincknell, the managing director of Treasury Holdings UK, the company that plans to redevelop Battersea Power Station into “London’s cultural hub”, said that he was delighted with the Mayor’s support for the regeneration of the area. Needless to say, we at Hotel Rafayel wholeheartedly echo this view.

The redevelopment of Nine Elms and the surrounding area will bring enormous benefits to all of Battersea and will have a tremendous impact upon the social, economic and cultural life of the area. This is an exciting –indeed, unprecedented—time for Battersea and we are proud to be part of it.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Rejuvenate Mind and Body at the River Wellbeing Spa

The elimination of stress and tension is critical to the improvement and maintenance of overall health and well being. Unfortunately, in today’s hectic world finding the time to unwind and relax has never been harder. At Hotel Rafayel we will meet you more than half way. If you can find the time, we will provide the tools and the space for total mind and body rejuvenation at our River Wellbeing Spa, an integral part of the Rafayel experience.

Located within the hotel, the River Wellbeing Spa has been created by Imelda Burke, the owner of leading London store Content Beauty/Wellbeing, and aims to provide the very best in natural and organic treatments, water therapy and complementary health services, ensuring guests have a total restorative experience.

To quote Imelda: ‘’We are aiming to reposition spa-going as a healing activity, as part of a complete health and wellbeing experience. Treatments such as massage, water therapies, natural skincare, nutritional therapy and exercise need to be redefined as an integral part of a health-conscious lifestyle, with the emphasis on their far-reaching curative effects rather than simply being luxurious indulgences. The River Wellbeing Spa experience is the ultimate refuge from, and antidote to, city life and encourages clients to holiday within the city as a regular part of their total health plan

Created to inspire and guide you to complete physical and emotional health, the River Wellbeing Spa incorporates traditional and modern wellbeing techniques alongside exercise programmes and beauty grooming services. With a core belief that optimal health is the best way to increase vitality, energy and radiance, every River Wellbeing Spa visit starts with the complimentary use of our state of the art gym, water sanctuary, traditional heat and steam therapies and the calming oasis of our relaxation room.

Spa guests can select from spa treatments including moor mud therapy, Thai herbal relaxation massage and facial rejuvenation acupuncture alongside therapeutic spa treatments. River Wellbeing Signature Treatments include bathing rituals, short break detox, stress or weight management wellbeing weekends and jet lag recovery treatments.

Other features include a Monday Wellbeing lecture series, wedding preparation packages, yoga and Qi Quong classes on the river front, summer dawn exercise on the 17th floor roof terrace, crèche facilities for spa and hotel visitors and a room service menu of bathing rituals prepared for guests in the comfort of their hotel room.

So put your worries aside, leave your stress at the door and reconnect with your inner self at the River Wellbeing Spa.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Affordable Art Fair, Battersea – Record Turnout Breaks Through the £100 Million Mark

The Affordable Art Fair (AAF) in Battersea Park comes to a close today with organisers and exhibitors proudly announcing a record number of visitors to the four-day event.

Founded in Battersea Park in 1999 the Affordable Art Fair has become the leading UK showcase for contemporary art under £3,000. Founder Will Ramsay’s aim was to make contemporary art accessible to all. His refreshingly egalitarian approach was an instant hit and the Affordable Art Fair now takes place biannually in London and annually in Bristol, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne.

This month marks the Affordable Art Fair’s tenth anniversary -- an appropriate time for the Fair to break through the £100 million sales mark. According to The Guardian, organisers reported a record £500,000 in sales in the first four hours of opening. The high-end art market may be jittery but affordable art appears immune from the credit crunch.

At Hotel Rafayel we are delighted with the success of the Affordable Art Fair; it is good not only for art but also for Battersea and its growing status as London's Left Bank. Art is for everyone! As our hotel is so close to the Fair, we invite those who visit and exhibit at the AAF’s Spring Collection in March to come and view the contemporary art exhibition we will be hosting in our lobby, bar/restaurant and conference rooms.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Rafayel - Battersea's newest art exhibition space welcomes Max Viccardi

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.”-- So said Robert Motherwell, the late American Abstract Expressionist painter. Few are likely to disagree with such a simple, if not obvious, statement. A world without art is unimaginable and would be intolerable.

Of course what one considers art, and equally what one considers good art, is far too subjective and involved for a blog such as ours. We do know that art has been scientifically proven to have a positive effect on our mental and physical well-being. Corporations understand this. Deutsche Bank has one of the world’s largest modern art collections. Hospitals now regularly install art in hospital wards, for the benefit of patients and staff alike.

At Hotel Rafayel unique works of art, from paintings to sculpture, have been installed in every bedroom and in the communal areas of every floor. We hope that these permanent pieces will add to the general sense of “wellbeing” which we seek to create at the hotel.

At its most powerful art can profoundly shake our beliefs and pose fundamental questions that strike at the very essence of our being. At its mildest, art can make a dreary space cheerful and bring a smile to our face. We don’t have exalted expectations here at Hotel Rafayel. We simply believe that good art nourishes the soul and stimulates the mind and, accordingly, we are committed to supporting deserving artists who reach out to their audience in a life-enhancing manner.

Art divorced from life”, wrote the great thinker Krishnamurti, “has no great significance. When art is separate from our daily living, when there is a gap between our instinctual life and our efforts on canvas, in marble or in words, then art becomes merely an expression of our superficial desire to escape from the reality of what is.

We at Hotel Rafayel are committed to supporting artists and arts that are able to bridge this gap and afford us the opportunity to integrate our life with art and so transform art into an integral expression of ourselves.

To this end we are very proud to announce that Hotel Rafayel will be hosting a series of exhibitions in our bar/restaurant, reception and conference rooms, featuring carefully selected works of art, from pictures to sculpture, contributed by a variety of artists.

The first artist to exhibit at our hotel will be the extraordinary Italian painter/sculptor, Max Viccardi (three of his works are illustrated in this post). Now based in London, Max Viccardi has exhibited in a number of notable galleries, including the GX Gallery and Charlick Gallery. Inspired by the complexity of human relationships and the vast array of emotions that accompany them, Viccardi was influenced most profoundly by Abstract Activism but has since developed his own style, philosophically altering materials into a style that he describes as Asbstract Actualism, with each piece “actualising” a spiritual unconsciousness by articulating emotions in a very physical manner. This spiritual unconsciousness has been defined as a “de-sexualised Eros” and “an undifferentiated ID”. Ultimately it is Viccardi's intention to explore the unconscious emotional forces that underpin spirituality and freedom. We look forward to hosting this fascinating exhibition.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Mychelle's Baketique - Baking goes Bollywood

Do you desire delectable and deliciously decadent desserts? Is your tongue tantalised by temptingly tasty tarts? Are you seduced by scrumptiously succulent sweets? Well, let us introduce you to our Princess of Patisserie and her boutique bakery. Welcome to Mychelle’s Baketique at Hotel Rafayel.

Founded by Michelle Husserl, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, Mychelle’s Baketique offers a full range of pastries and sweets for any occasion. Located in the lobby of Hotel Rafayel, the Baketique will be an irresistible diversion for anyone who passes its appetising window display.

Imagine tables stacked high with beautifully designed cupcakes decorated in the brightest Bollywood colours. Then imagine a row of delicious ice cream cones....wait, that won’t work. They’d melt. But, no. These are no ordinary ice cream cones. These are Mychelle’s utterly divine ice cream cone cupcakes. They have to be seen (and tasted) to be believed. We think they alone are worth a trip to the hotel!

We could go on and on about the Baketique cupcakes (there are mini cupcakes, gigantic extra large cupcakes....) but this blog would never end.

Needless to say, the list of baked delights that are available is endless and includes Victoria sponges, heart puffs, cookies and much more. Michelle bakes every dessert herself and her creativity, talent and passion can be tasted in every bite. Mychelle’s Baketique will also happily cater to your dietary needs with their tasty gluten free, vegan, organic, fat free, sugar free, and low salt recipes! So no excuses!

Afternoon Tea at Hotel Rafayel will be an important part of our day, and Mychelle’s Baketique will be preparing suitably refined delicacies to ensure that it is always a memorable experience. In addition, the Baketique will offer a gastronomic tasting menu that offers an array of cheeses, meats and wines to tantalise even the most discerning palate.

Hotel Rafayel is motivated by creativity, energy, conscience and individuality. We want this ethos to emanate from all areas of the hotel and we are therefore delighted to have discovered Michelle and her creative vision. The slogan of Mychelle’s Baketique is one to which we subscribe completely: “Peace, Love and Cooking”!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Battersea Power Station to help ‘fuel’ London’s Left Bank?

Battersea Power Station is an iconic London landmark. The famous cream coloured chimneys, dramatically erupting out of the station’s striking Art Deco brickwork, are as integral to the London skyline as Nelson’s Column or Tower Bridge. But ever since it stopped producing electricity in 1983, the power station has gradually descended into a sorry state of decay.

Proposals for the redevelopment of Europe's largest brick building have come and gone and its future still remains unclear. Today, however, its owners and developers have revealed their £5.5 billion planning application (the biggest in London’s history) to the City of Wandsworth which, the owners hope, will make Battersea Power Station as iconic as the Sydney Opera House or the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

According to The Telegraph, the mixed use development, if approved, will include over 3,000 homes, 1.6m sq ft of offices, 700,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, and a zero-carbon power station and could create 15,000 jobs. The developer’s intention to transform the site into a “cultural hub for London” is in keeping with our own aims here at Hotel Rafayel and, if realised, would further enhance Battersea’s position as “London’s new Left Bank”.

We will be watching with keen interest!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Wonderful Water

The British love affair with bottled water shows no signs of abating. According to a report by market analyst Datamonitor, UK consumers have increased their consumption of bottled water at the fastest rate in Europe, with growth predicted to continue at 7% a year. Water is calorie and caffeine free and contains no artificial colours – it is good for you and for the environment. Or is it?

Unfortunately, whilst water is undeniably good for you, plastic water bottles take a tremendous toll on the environment, with each bottle taking up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. According to a report by the Earth Policy Institute, more than 10 million barrels of crude oil are used each year to make plastic water bottles. The American National Resources Defense Council reports that about 9,700 tons of carbon dioxide are emitted annually to transport bottled water overseas to California. Alarmingly the Container Recycling Institute claims that over 86% of water bottles are not recycled.

We at Hotel Rafayel are distressed by such statistics and are determined not to contribute to the plastic mountain. We are therefore delighted to announce the installation of the Vivreau purified water system in our hotel, which will eradicate the need for plastic bottles and water delivery and will result in dramatic energy and cost savings. Based on an average weight of a glass bottle and average consumption, the Vivreau system will enable Hotel Rafayel to eliminate a staggering 432 tonnes of delivered bottled water over 5 years and eliminate 205 tonnes of glass bottled waste for disposal. Vivreau is Europe’s leading developer and manufacturer of purified drinking water systems and we are pleased to bring its quality product to our guests.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

"The Most Comfortable Beds in the World"

Named after the Greek god of sleep, and father of Morpheus (the god of dreams), Hypnos has been producing luxury handcrafted beds for over a century and has a reputation for making “the most comfortable beds in the world”. A family-run British business, Hypnos proudly bears the Royal Warrant of HM The Queen and its beds can be found in some of the world’s finest palaces, hotels and homes.

At Hotel Rafayel we treat all our guests like royalty and so we are proud to provide a Hypnos bed in every room. No mass manufacturer can match the quality of these handmade items. Master craftsmen have combined their traditional skills with the latest technology to provide our guests with the ultimate sleep indulgence.

However, no matter how distinguished a company’s clients or how glorious its products, we at Hotel Rafayel expect commitment to an environmentally-friendly philosophy. We take environmental issues seriously and expect the same from our suppliers.

We are therefore delighted that Hypnos provides a revolutionary bed disposal and recycling service that exceeds all environmental objectives, providing a zero landfill and a zero carbon footprint process. Machinery at Hypnos’s certified ‘waste management’ facility shreds and separates materials. The recycled raw materials are used within a range of alternative manufacturing processes - nothing is wasted and nothing ends up in landfill: metal hinges and springs are recycled back into steel products; timber into MDF or wood shavings; foam reused in carpet underlay; textiles recycled into insulation products or briquettes for industrial heating – even the packaging materials from new beds are recycled!

Comfort, quality and conscience. Hypnos is clearly right for Rafayel!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Tomorrow'sWorld Today

In this digital age we rely on technology to make our daily lives easier and more enjoyable. The average home is brimming with hi-tech wizardry, much of which is regarded as essential to our 21st century lifestyle. Unfortunately, hotels often seem to lag behind the average home, with the latest technological gadgetry taking many years to find its way into hotel rooms and leaving guests frustrated. At Hotel Rafayel we understand this. We know that our guests want to have the same hi-tech access that they can receive at home. It is our goal to meet and exceed those expectations.

Our rooms, all of which have a Philips-designed energy saving lighting scheme and a high efficiency Daikin air-conditioning system, are amongst the most advanced to be found anywhere in the world.

Features which are standard in all rooms include:

* Personal digital frames that can be uploaded with your favourite pictures.

* VDA Micromaster room automation system with touch control glass panels enabling door access, lighting control, air conditioning control, internet room service and housekeeping management

* MediaHub panel fitted to all bedrooms allowing guests to connect their laptop, iPod, MP3, game console, digital camera or DVD player to the in-room TV and audio system

* Flush ceiling speakers to bedrooms and bathrooms to allow audio from TV or personal device connected through MediaHub

* Philips HD 32” Ambilight LCD TVs

* IPTV System with freeview channels, blockbuster movies, radio, TV internet, on-screen newspapers, room service and express checkout.

* In-room video conferencing enabled

* Free broadband and Wi-Fi

* Cordless and speaker phones available via guest services

* Wii, Playstations & games and laptops available via guest services

Whether it be offering you a digital version of any newspaper from around the world, enabling you to speak to family or co-workers via video-conferencing, supplying you with any mobile/cell phone charger you might want, or providing you with the ability to connect your favourite digital media player to your room TV and audio system, we have tried hard to make the hotel experience as easy, pleasurable and convenient as possible.

There is only one downside….you may never want to leave your room!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Rafayel is Roomy!

As an ecologically aware hotel, Rafayel on the Left Bank is committed to doing as much as it can to help preserve our planet’s environment and its precious resources. But long gone are the days when practitioners of a “green” philosophy had to sacrifice luxury and make do with second best!

We at Rafayel want each and every one of our guests to enjoy the most luxurious, relaxing and decadent stay imaginable. Utilising the latest technology and making full use of our spacious setting, we are able to adhere to our ecological principles whilst delivering 5-star quality and comfort to all of our guests.

Nowhere is this dual doctrine of “conscience “and “quality” more obvious than in our 65 plush bedrooms, all of which feature our bespoke furniture and fittings. London is a city notorious for small hotel rooms. We know all too well that many hotels practice the false economy of trying to increase the number of bedrooms at the expense of room, corridor and lobby size. This is an approach we wholeheartedly reject. Visitors will be struck by the generous width of our corridors and the overall feeling of space that permeates all areas of the hotel.

Rooms at Rafayel on the Left Bank come in one of four spacious sizes:

Big (The Mississippi Rooms) – up to 220 sq ft
Bigger (The Yangtze Rooms) – up to 350 sq ft
Even Bigger (The Amazon Suites) – up to 500 sq ft
Biggest (The Nile Suites) – up to 700 sq ft

Our rooms are open and airy and, graced with full-length windows, are suffused with an abundance of natural daylight. Needless to say, given our magnificent location, high-up on the Battersea riverfront, our rooms afford breathtaking views over this great city.

Our indulgent bathrooms are extremely spacious and feature body-spray showers, with larger rooms equipped with hydrotherapy baths. By harvesting rain water collected from our various terraces we are able to offset such luxury by 6,000 litres of water per day. Rain water is used to grow thousands of new plants on our grounds and it feeds a beautiful fountain that recycles the water. The fountain is notable for its LED low-footprint lighting display. We eventually hope to reinforce these eco-friendly credentials by increasing our rain harvesting capacity to 10,000 litres per day.

But the decadence does not end there! For our rooms are amongst the most technologically-advanced one will find anywhere in London or indeed the world. More about this in our next post.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Rafayel -- The News Spreads!

The blogosphere is already alive with chatter about the forthcoming launch of Rafayel on the Left Bank. Over the past couple of weeks news about our exciting new hotel concept has appeared on several notable websites, including Sleeper Magazine, Big Hospitality,the British Hospitality Association, and Guillaume Thevenot's superb Hotel Blog. The latest website to mention us is Leisure Property.com.

We are delighted by the interest and enthusiasm we have generated so far. But we have much more still to show! Stay tuned -- this is only the beginning!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Things are coming along...in fact its begining to look like a hotel!

Things are coming along nicely...in fact it's begining to look like a hotel, for me this is the most rewarding part of the build, things are coming together and those CGI's and my imagination are being made real. More photos next week...