Modern glamour in a landmark London spot
From the outside, The London Edition looks like a period Georgian hotel with its columned portico and intricate moldings. But notice the all-glass entrance doors? They are a hint of something more modern inside.
To be sure, The London Edition leaves its Georgian heritage at that door and sweeps you through its grand lobby bar to a minimalist black reception desk, lit with chunky candles. The large 18th-century reproduction tapestry might catch your eye, but so will the staff, tapping away at an iPad as they welcome you.
Everything here has been installed with beauty in mind (even, it seems, the staff members themselves) and the eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary feels like a nod to both leafy, stately Fitzrovia neighborhood surrounding you and the hip Soho area just across Oxford Street. It’s a beguiling combination and the modern guest rooms and buzzy restaurant and bars attest to its appeal.
The ever-pioneering Ian Schrager has done it again here, with the fanfare of the vast lobby and its lavish 19th-century stucco ceiling somehow made intimate with pools of warm lighting and high-backed couches.
A pool table and well-stocked bar add a note of fun, while a corner given over to a black walnut communal table complete with sleek iMacs makes doing business here an enticing possibility. You’ll notice the copious silver blob chandelier by Ingo Maurer (look for your reflection standing beneath it) and be drawn through to the elevators and bar by Chul Hyun Ahn’s neon light portal.
It is not only the lobby that manages to be grand yet understated here. Modern rooms have high ceilings and vast white beds for a sense of space, in turn tempered with warm wood-lined walls and cozy fur (faux, of course) throws slung over that king-sized bed.
Suites have the wow factor of towering windows and large sinks, as well as a free gin trolley, with all the accoutrements necessary to make a mean negroni. The paintings by Hendrik Kerstens seem to sum it up, playing with old versus new with their napkins as bonnets and hoodies as timeless garments.
Homegrown chef Jason Atherton is taking over London, with multiple restaurants across the capital winning plaudits. His Berners Tavern sits just off the luxury hotel’s lobby and serves high-end comfort food with a staunchly British slant.
Take a seat surrounded by gilt-framed modern paintings and order dishes like Orkney Isles langoustines served with a fennel salad, Wye Valley asparagus, roasted Cornish cod or an aged Scottish beef burger.
If there’s two of you, the shared plates are the way to go, with options like Buccleuch Estate cote de beouf, Lake District chateaubriand or a Romney Marsh slow roasted lamb shoulder arriving piled high and carved tableside.
Whatever you decide, you simply must have the Flaming Alaska for dessert, it’s quite the show.
You’re a short stumble from Soho here but there’s no need to head out — the London hotel tempts you to stay in with a flurry of post-dinner drinks options. You could return to the lobby, for G&Ts at the billiards table, but better to tuck yourself in to the cozy corners of the Punch Room, which feels a bit like a Victorian gentlemen’s club but serves ladles of — what else — punch, laced with interesting flavors such as jasmine tea and oak moss.
Basement club is, naturally, in the basement and open to guests who want to dance (there are no tables).