'In common with other luxury businesses, the five-star hotel industry appears to have broken away from trends in the wider economy. London's elite hotels have performed spectacularly well, after only a brief setback in the immediate aftermath of the global banking shock in 2008.
'And being picked out by the most wealthy visiting families can transform a business in a few weeks. A spokesman for InterContinental Hotels said: "During the peak season you will get families taking 30 or 40 rooms to house their extended entourage. It is quite common for a whole floor, or even two, to be booked out by just one group. That's when you can get the really big hotel bills."
'Among the new crop, only the W Hotel might be considered a contemporary designer hotel, suggesting the fashion for modern minimalism may be waning.
'Though demand for London's most opulent hotels appears to be insatiable, lower down the Automobile Association's star ratings, many hoteliers are faring less well. A wave of businesses have gone to the wall, among them von Essen hotels, which included Cliveden, the Berkshire stately home at the centre of the Profumo affair.'