While The London Edition may cater largely to the tastes of the fashion and art flock, there is something for everyone in this charmingly contemporary boutique hotel.
Located just off bustling Oxford Street in the heart of Fitzrovia, a charming neighborhood notable for its artistic crowd during the early 20th century, the hotel maintains a sense of the area’s bohemian flair through its many artworks and modern interior design. Stepping into the hotel offers a welcome respite from London’s chaotic city center, although be prepared for more hustle and bustle inside and especially at night, as poshly dressed Londoners gather in the hotel lobby with drinks in hand as they animatedly chat. Its an inviting scene and far from the austere luxury hotel.
The London Edition is the brainchild of celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager – he’s been on the move for 35 years now since opening Studio 54. Renowned for his design-oriented hotels, this particular hotel sees him collaborate with Marriott International, providing the brand with a more down-to-earth feel. Apart from the throngs of happy gatherers, what you see when you enter the building is a multi-functional lobby that maintains its old appearance, such as restored stucco ceiling, while combining contemporary touches like the giant dome-shaped silver sphere designed by Ingo Maurer that looks like a larger-than-life polished egg. Next door is Berner’s Tavern, a restaurant with framed artworks aligning every inch of each wall and offering all-day contemporary British cuisine designed by executive chef Jason Atherton. One of the most sought out reservations in London, you can zip into Berner’s for a tea, coffee, drink breakfast, lunch or dinner. The venue is versatile enough to please at all times of the day. The hotel also boasts an intimate bar in back of the reception serving a daily punch for those who wish to retire to a more tranquil scene. It’s aptly called the Punch Room. And there is also the Basement for a more lively night time scene.
Each of the hotel’s 170 bedrooms is the same in design but priced differently by size. My deluxe room was smaller in size than I had anticipated, but all in all was successful. The wood paneled walls made the space feeling warm and cozy, while artfully flung faux fur throws added style. The room was furnished with modern walnut desks and tables cantilevered off the walls, creme-colored upholstered George Smith tufted lounge chairs, and a gold-leaf Baroque-framed Hendrik Kerstens photograph that features a different portrait in each room. At once eerie and beautiful, the woman in the photograph stares at you in a way that you won’t forget. Kerstens’ photographs create an artistic dialogue throughout the hotel. Art lovers will want to know the appearance of the portraits in other rooms.
Another nice touch was the welcome drink, which was prepared fresh that day, including gin, jasmine tea, elderflower cordiale and lemon juice. It was accompanied by a hand-written note explaining the ingredients. Lacking in substance was the bathroom. While the design was contemporary enough and elegantly white, it was quite small and had no bath – hardly any rooms did I was told. Yet the towels and bathrobes were some of the softest I had experienced. The bed was also wonderfully comfortable – you sink right in as soon as you lay down. I slept very well that night.
Service was warm and friendly, although I did get the feeling that the hotel was busy. Greetings were kind but rushed, The London Edition was in full swing. It was alive and that’s a great thing. I was surprised the evening noise didn’t enter into my room – surely something that was planned for such a festive place.
With its many artful facets, good food and drinks, The London Edition is a character in its own right. Like a chameleon it can easily adapt to numerous situations – an element that is becoming increasingly necessary in the hotel business. Here’s to my next visit.
The London Edition is a member of the Chic Collection and can be booked via www.chiccollection.com