The words “achingly hip” aren’t generally associated with big hotel chains, but that’s precisely where the pioneering Ian Schrager comes in. Dubbed the “disco king”, he is the co-founder of iconic New York nightclub Studio 54 and widely credited with creating the concept of the boutique hotel.
The hotelier extraordinaire is not one to shy away from taking a risk, and it’s his unexpected yet fruitful partnership with Marriott International that paved the way for the opening of The London Edition in Fitzrovia. Housed in a series of rather ornate townhouses that date back to the 19th century, it opened in 2013, replacing the former Berners Hotel. And considering Schrager’s track record in the British capital – he’s also the talent behind the Sanderson – it’s no surprise that The London Edition’s glitzy opening party was attended by the likes of Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Pixie Geldof, and more.
Need to Know
After being greeted by the building’s historic façade and walking through a swanky lobby rife with activity, you may be surprised to step into a room that feels minimalist in nature. The 173 guestrooms and suites at The London Edition have been designed to create a cabin-like feel, reminiscent of a private yacht.
Regardless of which room you choose, you’ll find that it exudes warmth due to the combination of wood-paneled walls, oak flooring, an earthy color palette, and contemporary furniture. Down comforters and pillows enrobed with crisp white linens make for an indulgent night’s sleep, while decorative touches come in the form of a cantilevered desk and tufted George Smith lounge chair.
If money’s no object, the swoon-worthy penthouse is where it’s at. The 195-square-meter suite is flooded with natural light and features a living area, dining area, walk-in wardrobe, pantry, and state-of-the-art surround sound system. But all that pales in comparison to the wrap-around landscaped terrace with 360-degree views of London.
What You'll Like
Once you look past the chic simplicity of your room’s décor, it’s the stylish little extras that will make you feel truly special. To begin with, the size of the bathroom is surprisingly generous. It feels sleek thanks to white mosaic tiles accented by a leaning wooden frame acting as a towel rack, a rainforest shower, and an oversized vanity – but it’s the bespoke Le Labo bath products that you’ll likely delight in the most.
Over in the bedroom, the first thing that caught my eye was not the king-size bed, but what was nonchalantly strewn across it – there’s just something about that cozy faux-fur throw that feels downright decadent. Oh, and the gold-framed photograph by Hendrik Kerstens? It has a way of drawing you in, no matter how many times you walk past it.
The team at The London Edition is affiliated with the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or concierge organization, so no request regarding restaurant reservations, spa bookings, and theater tickets is too big. Keep an eye out on the hotel’s special offers, which cover everything from price discounts and breakfast in bed to family packages and even exclusive shopping experiences that allow access to VIP lounges, free delivery, and more.
What You'll Love
Every single inch of this boutique hotel will challenge you to sum up its design sensibility – and therein lies its appeal. Design buffs have labeled it as everything from headily embellished and 1970s glamorous to sexy and sophisticated. “A compilation of all unlikely pieces, designs, finishes, and details put together in a way where an alchemy happens,” is how Schrager once described it.
Like his other projects, the work-hard-play-hard lobby is the star of the show, starting with the Ingo Maurer mirrored pendulum that’s akin to a futuristic disco ball – an ode to Schrager’s Studio 54 roots, perhaps? It hangs from the beautifully restored stucco ceiling, proving that the past and present can, in fact, coexist in harmony. Within the lobby is a communal table fitted with desktop computers and outlets for personal laptop use, while an antique pool table entertains the city’s rich and famous.
Look around and you’ll notice eclectic floor lamps inspired by Salvador Dalí, metal furniture by Christian Liaigre, plush velvet sofas, and a statue-clad fireplace. You’re guaranteed to be distracted on your way to the elevator, courtesy of South Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn’s “Portal”. The 3D art installation is as impossible to describe as it is to figure out, once again highlighting the contrast between old and new at The London Edition.
You don’t have to look too hard for reasons to stay on the premises, as Berners Tavern is a veritable institution in its own right. Run by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, the eatery serves contemporary British cuisine with a focus on upscale comfort food – think: fish and chips, roasted Cornish cod, and mac and cheese that is believed to be the absolute best in London.
The dining room here boasts triple-height ceilings, striking bronze chandeliers, and a mishmash of gilt-framed paintings from ceiling to floor – all coming together to exude a level of charm that has to be experienced firsthand. You’ll want to linger to really take in the setting, and I suggest you do it over the recently introduced poached-pear custard tart with pear sorbet and toffee sauce.
For a signature experience at The London Edition, be sure to try ‘Scandal Water’ at the reservations-only Punch Room. This adult take on afternoon tea was inspired by the elite of London Society circa the 19th century, for whom the concept of work was a foreign one. In an effort to quell their boredom between lunch and dinner, they would engage in hours of salacious gossip over a cup of tea. And it is in honor of their tradition that the hotel has created five carefully chosen tea-and-food pairings, such as an “iced gem” shortbread biscuits with butter cream, miso-cured salmon with caviar, and more.
Once you’ve crossed British fare off your London bucket list, it’s time to explore some of the neighbourhood’s other culinary offerings. Start with the underground Attendant, a café that comes with a massive side of novelty factor, considering it used to be a gentlemen’s toilet during the Victorian era. The good news is that after a thorough cleaning (promise), the urinals have been converted into little booths where you can enjoy French toast or freshly-baked bagels alongside a strong cup of coffee – all while imagining the look of horror on the faces of those who hear about it.
If you’re hoping to explore something a little more conventional – and a little more sanitary – make a beeline for Liberty, which is still the city’s most unique department store. Between the designer accessories, luxury fabrics, and exclusive beauty offerings, you’ll be reminded why this is many a tourist’s first pitstop in London. Just a closer look at its Tudor-esque façade, built in 1924, makes the seven-minute walk from the hotel worthwhile.
Your wallet may need a bit of a breather afterwards and, luckily for guests at The London Edition, the plethora of high-street shops on Oxford Street is mere moments away. This is where you’ll want to shop at Urban Outfitters, one of the few retailers that hasn’t graced our shores – yet. Finally, end the day on a vibrant note with comedy and cabaret at Soho Theatre or head to Dominion Theatre to catch a production of An American in Paris, which will run until April 2018.
For more information or to book a stay at The London Edition, click here.