Though it's been open for a short while now, we've only just been able to make a visit to the hotel that's had everyone talking - Fitzrovia's The London EDITION - brought to us by legendary US hotelier Ian Schrager. To say we were impressed is an understatement.
Marking Schrager's first return to London in 15 years since he introduced the Sanderson and St. Martins Lane, this new project is the latest from EDITION Hotels, the brand he conceived in a partnership with Marriott International. EDITION Hotels combines the personal, intimate, individualised and unique hotel experience that Schrager is known for, encompassing not only great design and true innovation but also personal, friendly and modern service.
As with all EDITION hotels, each one is a cultural epicentre of the best each city has to offer - a portal into the essence of the city. The London EDITION preserves the finest aspects of the historic, landmark building in which it sits - formerly the Berners Hotel - but reinvents the spaces within to create a dynamic fusion of old and new, past and present. The hotel is inspired by the grand traditions of Great Britain: the traditional, aristocratic English country manor and the quintessential London private gentleman’s club with a modern, edgy urban feel.
The public spaces embody Schrager’s ‘new kind of gathering place’ and set out to astonish and seduce with an electric energy pulsating throughout: the hotel lobby is an atrium arabesqued with variegated marbles across walls, floor and corner bar, all original to the hotel and painstakingly restored, glittering below those sensational stucco ceilings. Berner's Tavern sits to the right, a gastronomic gem under the direction of London’s own executive chef Jason Atherton (of Pollen Street Social).
The ambience is enticing, and the scale is imposing—everything, from the soaring doorways to the stately gesture of the marble staircase sweeping across one corner, seems borne from another age. Indeed, when one first enters the hotel, you are held, for a moment, in a striking modernist glass vestibule projecting into the sumptuous lobby which reminds you that this hotel is no period piece, in fact, it is impossible to date: the twenty-first century is subtly but insistently present in Ingo Maurer’s spaceship-like polished silver sphere light devised to preside over the entrance, the sensual Christian Liaigre black metal furniture, the Salvador Dali inspired floor lamps, and the chandeliers inspired by NYC’s Grand Central Station which are suspended over the tables in Berner's Tavern. The colour palette too, juxtaposes old with new— taking inspiration from the seemingly diametrically-opposed work of Johannes Vermeer and American artist Donald Judd: dusty rose upholstery against burnt ochre walls, khaki, pale green leather and mustard velvets all contrast harmoniously, the colour animating the impressive open spaces.
Away from the spectacular social spaces, the hotel is devoted to the personal, the private, the intimate—an individual experience of luxury and a retreat from the street. The hotel's rooms are panelled in either dark walnut or light oak (a choice to suit one’s own taste) subtly lit and furnished with tactile textiles, traditional tufted slipper-chairs by George Smith. Look again: those seemingly traditional images are 'remasters' by photographer Hendrik Kerstens - symbolising the hotel's unique and startling combination of old and new.
For EDITION, the individual is key - in the words of Ian Schrager, 'the definition of luxury has changed: we'd rather be known for service than anything else.' This is the new lifestyle hotel where you don’t have to sacrifice anything, whether it be fun or work, to stay in the coolest place in town. 'It's a different reality,' is how Schrager summarises The London EDITION, whose influences span three centuries, fusing the best of those ages into a multi-faceted jewel of a hotel glittering at the very heart of London town.
The London EDITION, 10 Berners Street, London W1T; edition-hotels.marriott.com/london