The London Art & Architecture Guide
You can’t really walk a block without stumbling across a cultural monument, a great gallery, or one of the world’s best museums—and thanks to its long and storied history, most of its shops and restaurants occupy pretty notable environs, too.
The BeaumontBrown Hart Gardens, Mayfair | +44.20.7499.1001
Corbin and King—the team behind the Wolseley and the Delaunay—have created yet another fantastical place, this time in the form of an Art Deco hotel (in what was Selfridges' parking lot back in the 20's). The (fictional) story is that Jimmy Beaumont, a successful American entrepreneur frustrated by Prohibition, moves to London in the 1920's, and opens up a swanky hotel in London. And though it's fictional, the hotel does ooze that sense of history with Deco furniture, paintings from the period, wood paneling, velvet chairs, a glamorous marble-clad spa, an old-fashioned "Cub Room" just for guests, and an American bar (serving up all those drinks Jimmy couldn't get across the Atlantic). Somewhat anachronistic for the story is the rather grand Antony Gormley sculpture that crowns the hotel—guests can arrange to sleep inside of it.
Rough Luxe Hotel1 Birkenhead St., Bloomsbury | +44.20.7837.5338
Ignore the fading yellow 'No Vacancy' sign above the entrance and walk into this painstakingly artful hotel that features small rooms with perfectly cracked paintwork, fading wallpaper, and impressive contemporary art (Rough Luxe features two artists in residence). What the accommodations lack in size, the proprietor, Leo, makes up for in service and exquisite taste: Croissants fresh from famed local brasserie Ottolenghi served at breakfast are just one delicious example.
The Connaught HotelCarlos Place, Mayfair | +44.20.7499.7070
The Connaught was revamped in 2008, and the interiors are full of subtle and modern surprises while maintaining the institution's old-world charm. The décor is elegant, the service is top notch, and the Connaught Bar and the Hélène Darroze are tasteful additions. The top floor of the hotel is occupied by an exquisite apartment decorated by the late David Collins in his signature shades of blue and grey. It's available to guests for a luxurious stay, and at the very least worth exploring on the website.
London EDITION10 Berners St., Fitzrovia | +44.20.7781.0000
At Ian Schrager’s latest Central London foray, you'll find a sceney spot where sleek, almost Nordic accommodations contrast with a rococo dining room and lobby. Chef Jason Atherton’s restaurant is worth trying if for no other reason than to see the floor-to-ceiling gallery walls (the food is good, too), and the cocktail bar in the lobby draws a good crowd as well. A stay here is cocoon-like, in that you have everything you need for hours on end from plush bedroom amenities, including in-room TV yoga sessions courtesy of Yoga for Bad People, cocktails and haute cuisine—so much so that coming out to the city streets can be pleasantly disorienting. It's a true escape even for the city's own.