Stepping through the entrance on Berners Street into the lobby, you’d better be prepared to crane your neck and look up; while there is lots to see at eye level, it’s the spectacularly extravagant ceilings that steal the show. To think the building was derelict for years is a little hard to believe. There are various seating areas both to the left and right, with Apple desktops and workstations (WiFi is free throughout the hotel) for guests who want/need to be productive, and a pool table for those who need a break. To the left is the lobby bar, with reception straight ahead. We liked the unexpected tapestry behind reception, a reproduction of a 1773 Louis XV Gobelin tapestry that made an appearance in the film The King’s Speech.
To the right of the lobby, but with a separate street entrance, is Berners Tavern, the hotel’s signature restaurant. Similarly elaborate ceilings vie for attention with art-covered walls in a space that seats 140 for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The display case behind the bar does remind us of Public Chicago, all the way down to the amber lighting. There is a private dining room for up to 14 guests above the restaurant. Past reception, opposite the elevator vestibule, is the unmarked entrance to the Punch Room, a cozy wood panelled bar, which will be reservation-only.
The Punch Room
Unfortunately, all available rooms (out of the 173 there will be in the end) were occupied, so we had to settle for a look at the 2,000+ square foot Penthouse. Wrapped in walnut panelling, it has an open plan living / dining room and office, and a master bedroom with lovely bathroom. Amenities in all rooms are by Le Labo. Two additional bedrooms can be connected, and being the Penthouse it of course comes with a roof terrace.
We’ll have to come back to see what regular guestrooms are like in person, and of course to check out the hotel’s nightclub. When it promises a ‘visually provocative theatrical experience’ from the man behind Studio 54, well, do we need to say more?
After the struggles Edition has had to get off the ground, we really hope London will get the ball rolling in earnest, which, by the sounds of the projects Marriott and Schrager are working on, would seem to be the case.
Rooms at The London Edition start at around £270 ($430), and lest we forget, there is of course Istanbul as well.
[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter, Berners Tavern photo credit David Koenig]