Everything about Artist Residence London feels wonderfully contradictory. It exudes a rather friendly and relaxed vibe, despite being located in prim-and-proper Pimlico. It offers great value for money, all the while offering easy access to central London. It’s only a five-minute walk from Victoria Station, yet surrounded by the peace and quiet that comes with an upscale residential neighborhood. It’s housed in a mid-19th century listed building, but brimming with youthful energy due to the cool and contemporary artwork hosted within.
Dubbed “London Hotel of the Year” in 2016 by Good Hotel Guide, this boutique hotel is part of a charming chain owned and run by hoteliers Justin and Charlotte Salisbury, who also operate properties in Brighton, Cornwall, and Oxfordshire. You won’t see any prominent signage on Cambridge Street directing you to Artist Residence, but the striped awning that frames The Cambridge Street Kitchen, the hotel’s signature eatery, is a telltale that you’ve arrived.
Need to Know
The story of the Artist Residence chain dates back to 2006, when Justin had to leave university in order to help out with his family’s B&B in Brighton after his mother had an accident. Inspired by the local arts scene, he sent out an ad inviting artists to decorate rooms in exchange for accommodation. Hundreds responded, and that’s how the concept was born and named.
With only ten guestrooms onsite at Artist Residence London – two of which are suites – it’s no surprise that it feels incredibly homely. Each of the individually designed rooms has its own personality, with the common denominators being plush beds, powerful rain showers, and an eclectic aesthetic.
What You'll Like
I opted to stay in the ‘Club Suite’, an Art Deco-style suite that features a generously sized sitting area with vintage club chairs and a velvet sofa contrasted by cheeky wall art – that print of the Queen vacuuming the tall, furry hat of a Buckingham Palace guard is nothing short of genius.
Shabby-chic elements like a retro-looking radio, a cabinet coated in biscuit tins, and even a rotary telephone means there’s something new and quirky to be discovered at every turn. I must confess that the confectionery by Rococo appealed massively to the kid in me, with the salted caramel “seagull eggs” and cocoa-dusted scorched almonds making for guilt-free additions to my hotel bill. The suite’s greatest asset, however, has to be its en-suite bathroom.
A large walk-in shower aside, it boasts a freestanding roll top bath by Catchpole & Rye complemented by deliciously scented bubble bath and bath salts by Bramley. The luxury of being able to end the day with a quiet and lengthy soak in the tub in a frenzied city like London is just another example of the delightful contradictions that await at Artist Residence.
What You'll Love
The passion with which the Salisburys ahave decorated the property is evident in the original artwork that adorns both the bedrooms and the public areas. It goes without saying that here lies the ultimate appeal of a stay at Artist Residence London, so be sure to walk around all the floors of the hotel, even if you end up booking a room on the first.
For a hotel that’s definitely on the smaller side, Artist Residence manages to give guests several reasons to stay put. You’ll want to start with The Cambridge Street Kitchen, the aforementioned and always-buzzing restaurant that is situated on the ground floor. The menu is simple and seasonal, but manages to cater to virtually all palates.
Predominantly British in nature, the dishes include the likes of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough bread for breakfast, butternut squash risotto with goats’ curd and truffle pesto for lunch, and cod with sea vegetables and new potatoes for dinner. In true Artist Residence fashion, the decorative accents here are as whimsical as the staff is friendly.
You may be tempted to walk off some calories by heading out after your meal, but a trip downstairs to the Club Room and Ping-Pong Room before that comes highly recommended. Why face the cold when you can curl up with a good book on a kilim couch by the fireplace? Alternatively, a spot of ping-pong will do the trick if you’re feeling competitive.
With Victoria Station a short walk away, the city of London is your proverbial oyster – tourist essentials such as Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace are easily accessible, so start there. Saatchi Gallery, the definitive pitstop for art aficionados, is less than a 20-minute walk from Artist Residence. The swanky Sloane Square, rife with luxury boutiques and trendy eateries, is also in the vicinity. Be sure to dine at quirky-cool Lebanese canteen Comptoir Libanais while you’re around.
No trip to London would be complete without a West End production crossed off your bucket list, so book tickets for the hit musical Wicked, which is currently playing at Apollo Victoria Theatre. The venue is a mere 15-minute walk from the hotel, as is Victoria Palace Theatre, home to award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton, come December 6th.
For more information or to book a stay at Artist Residence London, click here.