All eyes are on London this week, while Design Festival is taking place to show the world the best installations and exhibitions. The capital of design is also blessed with beautiful hotel interiors, which can be places of comfort, relaxation, business or glamour.
In this selection we included hotel rooms, lounges, bars and restaurants that represent the very best of London interior design in all its extraordinary diversity.
Classic English elegance and history are part of London’s greatness, but so is its continual invention, internationalism and commitment to being at the cutting edge.
The Halkin by COMO is a chic 41-room boutique hotel in Belgravia, and inside its classic weathered Georgian-style façade is a stunning contemporary interior created by the Milan-based studio Laboratorio Associati.
As lighting obsessives, we’re particularly bowled over by the Michelin Starred Basque restaurant called ‘Ametsa with Arzak Instruction’, which has a unique ‘wave’ ceiling created from 7,000 sparkling glass receptacles filled with spices. Daring and utterly unique.
The Renaissance Hotel is one of the capital’s architectural jewels – and is just as jaw-dropping on the inside as it is on the outside.
Famous interiors in the hotel include the Grand Staircase, restored to its former glory, and the rich reds and golds of The Gilbert Scott (taken from an 1892 decorative scheme). But there are also some surprisingly modern rooms, such as the amazing Royal Suite (pictured above, and at the very top of this post).
Today, the hotel stands as one of London’s finest buildings – and as one of its most heartwarming architectural stories.
When it comes to contemporary designers of boutique London hotels, the first name that comes to mind has to be Kit Kemp. Along with her husband Tim she has opened a string of hotels across the city under the Firmdale brand, each of them unique but all in a distinctively fresh, elegant and very English style.
Frankly we could have chosen any of the Firmdale hotels – which include the very trendy Ham Yard in Soho (complete with its own cinema), and the gorgeous Knightsbridge Hotel – but we’ve gone for Dorset Square because it proves that a great designer can do a ‘theme’ hotel which still manages to ooze class.
If a great restaurant is what you look for in a hotel, you can’t go wrong with the one at the York & Albany – it’s one of Gordon Ramsay’s.
Located between Camden and Regent’s Park, the building is a former 1820s coaching inn built by the famed British architect John Nash. The interiors, by Russell Sage, are ‘Regency chic’ – all arches and vaulted ceilings, gilded mirrors and restored furniture.
There are just nine bedrooms but each has been lovingly designed, with period antiques and a classic color palette, while the wood-paneled bar is relaxed but very classy. York & Albany pitches itself as ‘the very definition of smart-casual’ and hits the spot with unerring precision.
If you prefer something a bit more glam, then The Berkeley in Knightsbridge has been the place to go (and be seen) for several centuries. It actually began life in Piccadilly, transforming from a coffee house in the 1700s to an upmarket hotel in the 1890s.
But when it moved to Knightsbridge in the 1970s it really took off as a magnet for connoisseurs of the finer things in life. Chefs Pierre Koffman and Marcus Wareing both have restaurants at the Berkeley, while the famous reception rooms include the Blue Bar (currently being refurbished) and the Caramel Room, to which fashionistas flock to partake of the Prêt-à-Portea, a couture-inspired version on the traditional afternoon tea.
A huge amount of personality, care and attention to detail has been put into the interior design, but although the hotel has an arty theme, it’s reassuringly chic and comfortable.
It also boasts the really beautiful Cellar Cocktail Bar where the bespoke drinks have names like Edvard Munch “The Scream” and Andy Warhol “Campbell’s Tomato Soup”.
Europe’s first ‘grand hotel’ is to London hospitality what the Orient Express is train travel or the Louvre is to art galleries: it’s in a class of its own.
Since it first opened its Regent Street doors in 1865 to the great and the good of Victorian high society, The Langham has been the hotel of choice for celebrities and royals from the exiled Emperor Louis Napoleon III to Diana, Princess of Wales.
In 2009 the hotel underwent a major renovation, and now the lobby alone is enough to make you gasp in awe, never mind the extraordinary Palm Court (birthplace of the traditional afternoon tea), or Artesian, which was recently awarded ‘World’s Best Bar’ by Drinks International.
So even if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the six-bedroom Sterling Suite, you can still enjoy a drink in one of London’s most glorious interiors.
True, it’s on a much, much, much smaller scale than The Langham, but the Grazing Goat in Marylebone is absolutely perfectly formed.
Situated above the lovely, lively gastropub, the Grazing Goat has eight rooms over three floors, and they’ve been designed with real care by owner company Cubitt House in a modern English country house style.
The May Fair Hotel was opened in 1927 by King George V and Queen Mary, and it’s been a London landmark for glamour and luxury ever since.
In the 1930s it was the place for high society to sip cocktails, dance to big bands in the ballroom and flash their jewelry. Hollywood bigwigs the Danziger brothers bought it in the 1950s and if anything increased the glitz, adding a cinema and the legendary Beachcomber bar.
Today it’s a fully-revamped and super-luxurious modern hotel, with over 400 rooms, a spa, a casino and some absolutely stunning suites, including the fuschia-drenched Schiaparelli Suite, a loving tribute to retro glamour.
The only East End hotel on this list is stylish, very cool and has a strong commitment to design. The Edwardian building itself is an architectural wonder: its redevelopment won the prestigious Project of the Year Award from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 2011.
As the website says, ‘Town Hall Hotel marries Edwardian, Art-Deco and now the most cutting-edge modern architecture in one harmonious whole’ – and everywhere you look there are brilliant touches.
ORGINAL ARTICLE: POOKY
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