Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Artful Deco at the Newest Hotel in Mayfair

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Artful Deco at the Newest Hotel in Mayfair

Article excerpt


45 PARK LANE Park Lane, Mayfair MAYFAIR, and particularly Park Lane, has long been the home of the exclusively highend and very expensive hotel. It boasts the grand dame of all, the Dorchester, Grosvenor House, and the Four Seasons London at Park Lane, which re-opened this year after a [pounds sterling]125 million makeover.

The Metropolitan re-opens its famous Met Bar this month while the 45-room 45 Park Lane, little sister of the Dorchester, is the third hotel to open in the UK from the Dorchester Collection.

The lure of the London Olympics is obviously a factor in this flurry of hotel development (45 Park Lane is already fully booked), although this swanky postcode could always attract a wealthy clientele and not just for its hotels. It is in what was once Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club, the first in Europe, which until the early 1980s lured Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Joan Collins, George Best, Jack Nicholson and Muhammad Ali. More recently a drab concrete building, 45 Park Lane is a shiny, modern homage to Art Deco, which for me was the attraction.

I am not alone in loving this era -- there are websites devoted to it which, like architectural porn, have photographs ranging from Miami's classic line of pastel beach-front buildings to shots of the lavish lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Designed by French architect Thierry W Despont, whose previous projects include Claridge's, the Dorchester and restoring the Statue of Liberty, the hotel's streamlined, aerodynamic exterior has been ingeniously transformed with horizontal aluminium fins which highlight the lovely curves of the building. But it ain't all glamour -- they also stop the sun heating the building, reducing the power needed to run the air-conditioning. The hotel will also share cables and water with the neighbouring Dorchester.

Inside, the lobby isn't really a hotel lobby, more a clubby space that could double as a living room. To make guests feel as if they are in a private residence (perhaps also to avoid a lobby made ugly with computer systems and cables which definitely weren't around in the 1920s), each guest gets their own host (part concierge, part butler) who greets them before escorting them to their room for a private check-in. They are hot on service here, with any whim dealt with quickly and efficiently (but let's remember, we are in Mayfair at Mayfair prices).

My suite was stunning in all its reproduction Art Deco glory. Glamorous, yes, but equally homely. Chic purple lilies graced shined surfaces such as black-lacquered dressers and glass-topped tables while purple drapes swished at windows preventing the sound of the traffic below, with the tree tops of Hyde Park offering leafy greenery.

The attention to detail is impressive: polished mahogany contrasts with the soft leather doors and suede wardrobe linings in camel and pale aquamarine. …

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