HENRIETTA HOTEL, LONDON
One of London’s latest boutique luxury hotels has opened in the middle of Covent Garden with intricate and beautiful design. Tonje Odegard from SPACE visited to take it all in…
Earlier this year the Henrietta Hotel opened, taking its name from its location on the attractive Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, with an adjoining private members club, Chess Club, located on Chesterfield Street in Mayfair.
The boutique hotel, located in a traditional Victorian townhouse, contains 18 luxury rooms and an already acclaimed restaurant, with beautiful design, influenced by the local area’s vibrant cultural heritage and the building’s rich architectural history.
Behind the concept are childhood friends Romeé de Gorianioff, Pierre-Charles Cros, Oliver Bon, and Xavier Padovani, who formed The Experimental Group. Henrietta Hotel is the group’s first London hotel and follows the very successful launch of the 37-key Grand Pigalle Hotel in Paris a few years back, a hotel that has been praised for its energy and hedonism in the spirit of ‘bed and beverage’. The group has 17 other internationally acclaimed cocktail bars, restaurants, wine bars, and hotels across Paris, New York, Ibiza and London.
French designer Dorothée Meilichzon, founder of CHZON design studio, who was announced Designer of the Year at Maison et Objet in 2015, has stood for the design of guestrooms and public spaces at The Henrietta Hotel. The Experimental Group has collaborated with Meilichzon on several of their other projects, and I can understand why. Her prowess is expressed throughout the hotel, characterised by her individual styling that blends sophisticated design with local inspiration.
“The hotel’s architectural heritage was our biggest design inspiration,” explains Dorothée. “The surrounding architecture on Henrietta Street varies across all the different buildings – each has different roof shapes and window ornamentations, so we have tried to reflect this through various design details across the hotel.”
Throughout the design process, Dorothée constantly looked to source and create pieces that spoke to the rich history of the hotel’s architecture.
The guestrooms at Henrietta Hotel are lavishly decorated to offer pure luxury in a subtle form. Dorothée has created four different colour harmonies to make each room unique. Bold colours combine with cleverly designed interior furnishings such as brass bedside lights, 70s retro armchairs with brushed aluminium elements inspired by Pierre Paulin, Terazzo-shaped carpets, and Carrara marble skirting – all of which cleverly reflect the building’s history and unique architectural assets.
Another signature look in the guestrooms is Dorothée’s famous hand-made headboards that resemble Milanese doorframes through a mix of materials including mirror, fabrics and hand-painted patterns. The impression is distinctly futuristic, much helped by the metal details in the furniture.
Commenting on the guestroom design, Dorothée said: “We blended elements of the past in order to achieve a feeling of ‘déjà vu’ that will allow the guest to savour the history of London.”
The overall experience of the guestrooms is modern meets traditional, effortless luxury, comfortable hues at the core with vibrant splashes of colour in the details. Curvy shapes with a strong presence of circles and half-moons add a soothing touch to the rooms, perfectly complemented by the views of London, seen from the large windows.
Dorothée’s French heritage has translated itself into the design – elegance, sophistication, romance and luxury – perhaps especially expressed in the bathrooms where patterned tiles, rain-showers and pastel colours throws you back to the Art Deco era.
The bathrooms are traditional yet contemporary in style, with large mirrors and Dorothée’s signature fountain basins – two pieces of granite placed at a 90-degree angle, inspired by the roof architecture on Henrietta Street – mixed with black and white octagonal floor tiles and cabochons.
Drinking and dining
The two-tired signature restaurant, Henrietta, is led by Michelin-star chef Ollie Dabbous, one of London’s hottest and in-demand chefs at the moment. The restaurant’s design is a tribute to the former garden of Covent Garden – glass roofs combine with more organic design elements such as terracotta tiles and oak flooring – all capped by a unique hand-painted mural of a tiger that fills the entire ceiling. French design elements play a significant part in the visual experience of the restaurant, drawing from the designs of Charlotte Perriand, such as the free-form tables that contribute to a casual and friendly atmosphere.
Having destinations such as The Experimental Cocktail Club and Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, both in London, under their belt, The Experimental Group is well equipped to open crowd-pleasing drinking and dining venues.
Situated on the hotel’s ground and mezzanine floors, the 80-cover restaurant features a simple, seasonal and ingredient-led menu with a subtle nod to France also in the food.
In the Experimental Group’s signature ‘je ne sais quoi’ style, the team partnered with Francesca Zampi of Found Entertainment to create their very first members club. With the aim of being a cultural melting pot for a diverse collection of enterprising members, it will try to break free from the shackles of the traditional Mayfair clubs, instead nurturing young talent and an entrepreneurial spirit.
This ethos is reflected in the design of the club, which was carried out by London-based interior designer, Fran Hickman, whose unique perspective has added a refreshing look to the place. Drawing on the concept of a modern-day salon, Fran’s interiors celebrate the townhouse’s original Georgian features while seamlessly integrating the finest contemporary design.
Layers of reference elide to create culturally nuanced, highly functional and exquisite environments in which to meet, eat, work and play. With a strong presence of blue, flower-patterned wallpapers perfectly contrast the brown velvet sofas.
“I have long yearned for a place like this in London and so I am thrilled to be opening a club with the Experimental Group, who have adopted London as their home and who share my passion for creating life-enhancing experiences that are quality-focused, but unfussy and fun,” said Fran.
The restaurant will be an integral part of the club with chef Jackson Boxer creating a menu focusing on the best quality British ingredients. Accompanying it will be a wine list that focuses on sustainable wines from smaller, independent growers and a cocktail list that brings together classic cocktails with modern interpretations.
The Henrietta Hotel is a real success design-wise – it’s easy-going and nicely wacky but still has a professional and friendly atmosphere. The luxury is subtle, but traceable, the design is playful and unusual, but still indulgent. It suits Soho perfectly!