The new-gen luxury hotels have their own unique DNA. We asked the design teams behind this year’s three big UK launches what inspired them – and how we can get the same vibe at home.
For design lovers
Opening later this year, Vintry & Mercer is located between St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard in Central London, and was inspired by the area’s trading history. Design team: Lindsey Bean-Pearce and Giada Gemignani, Dexter Moren Associates.
How did the project evolve?
When the client approached us, plans to have bedrooms focused around a small internal courtyard had already been approved. We worked with the client to push the design – increasing the number of rooms with external views as well as improving the entrance and experience for guests. The project took just under a year.
What influenced the design?
Vintry & Mercer draws on the area’s links with medieval trade guilds, such as the vintners (wine merchants) and mercers (textile sellers).
Specialist joinery finishes have been used to tell the story of the local heritage of fine silks and wines from across the globe. In guest rooms, dressing areas are a modern play on a deconstructed travel trunk, featuring scraped, textured oak veneers with brass mesh inset panels, metal stud detailing and a plush palm print. Graphic maps, which merge the old and new city, are digitally printed as wall coverings; bespoke carpet designs and rich velvets and damasks give it a historic feel, and carefully curated artworks connect to each of the guilds.
At the time of the guilds, the hotel would have been a stone’s throw from open countryside. The lobby nods to this with plants, trees and calming green accents.
Vintry Kitchen offers elegant, informal dining: think geometric tiled floors and leather banquette seating. The Mercer Roof Terrace has views over the Southbank and St Paul’s; and the underground speakeasy bar, Do Not Disturb, resonates art deco style.
Rooms from £190; vintryandmercer.com
For glamour seekers
Recently opened, the Principal London is a Grade II-listed Victorian landmark in the heart of Bloomsbury where authentic character meets contemporary cool. Designer: Tara Bernerd, Tara Bernerd & Partners.
How did you become an interior designer?
I studied film and initially worked in production before honing my skills in building and construction. In the late 1990s I designed hotels with Philippe Starck and set up my own design studio 16 years ago. Moving from film to interiors was unconventional, but both involve a blank canvas: one to sell films, the other, rooms.
How long did the project take?
Four years. We opened last month.
Do your projects follow a formula?
Each has its unique DNA. There is never a set brief – it’s instinctive and something that cannot be taught.
How do you approach the design?
Once the building’s character is established, the interior architecture and layouts are defined. Finishes, fabrics and details always come later. I never follow trends and hope my designs will be timeless in their appeal.
Was the area an influence?
The hotel merges the old Bloomsbury Set heritage with the area’s new revival. It’s a homage to the past –with authentic materials, fabrics, wood-panelled walls and stone floors – combined with a modern aesthetic: striking bronze Crittall windows, statement lighting and mosaic floors. I want the hotel to be a place where guests and locals never want to leave; where the energy embraces you.
How can guests expect to be wowed?
With such a large-scale project there are so many incredible elements. The Palm Court is very special and so unexpected – an oasis in the heart of Bloomsbury. I wanted the discovery of each aspect to not be obvious – whether it’s luxurious four-poster beds, knockout bathrooms, statement lighting or small furnishing details, every detail is a treasure.
Rooms from £225; phcompany.com
For high-rise high-flyers
Opening in October, Manhattan Loft Gardens is a state-of-the-art build in London’s East End offering a mix of long- and short-term hotel living. Property developer: Harry Handelsman, Manhattan Loft Corporation.
What inspired The Manhattan Loft Corporation?
I was excited by the conversion of warehouse buildings into fabulous living spaces in 80s New York.
Who designed Manhattan Loft Gardens?
SOM, the architects behind the World Trade Center. Hotel interiors are by Space Copenhagen and our
in-house team designed The Lofts.
Why the East End?
The area is a creative mecca and one of the world’s most exciting postcodes.
Nothing’s impossible: 24-hour room service, housekeeping, private butler service, dog walking, grocery stocking… Work and relax in communal spaces and sky gardens on the 36th, 25th and seventh floors; dine at the seventh-floor garden restaurant or play in the after-hours members’ club.
How long did the project take?
I initially viewed the site in 2008 and construction started in 2014. The Lofts will launch in October, followed by The Stratford hotel and restaurants next March.
Where did the idea for long-term hotel living with all the perks come from?
Working habits have changed, with professionals keen to live in and explore different cities. Inspired by New York’s legendary long-stay hotels such as The Carlyle and The Chelsea, the concept offers service, convenience and infrastructure, while addressing high-rise living’s lack of social cohesion. It’s also a game-changing response to the Airbnb landscape.
From £860 for a minimum seven-night stay. To receive a 15 per cent discount on your first reservation, register your interest at manhattanloftgardens.com and enter code YOU2018
Report by Ali Heath