THE PILGRM, PADDINGTON, LONDON
Aiming to reinstate Paddington as a London hub, and not just where you take the Heathrow Express from, The Pilgrm has opened in a face-lifted Victorian building and become a hip and inspiring hangout space…
The Pilgrm is a modern hotel with a modern approach to hospitality and the modern traveller. Dropping off the last ‘I’ in ‘pilgrim’ is not the only thing left out from the hotel, but that is not in any way a negative – smart design solutions and interactive perspective saves both space and time.
For instance, the check-in process has been removed and is left up to guests to do themselves online, and therefore there is no reception. The ‘lobby’, if you will, is a chill coffee shop just off the street with funky design features and trendy shrubs. Rooms are intimate – bare necessities – but cleverly designed to make you feel looked-after, and the dining room is small, but uses comfortable lounge furniture to properly relax in.
Situated just off Norfolk Square, the hotel is a joint venture by Jason Catifeoglou (of myhotels and formerly of the Zetter Group and IHG), Andreas Thrasyvoulou (of myhotels) and Steph Thrasyvoulou and is considered to be a reinterpretation of the traditional hotel. Aiming to remove the barriers between hotel and guest, The Pilgrm’s concept is interaction and comfort.
The lobby coffee shop portrays some truly beautiful periodic features, most notably the 200-year-old timber staircase that leads up to the lounge and dining area. More than 300 man-hours have been spent restoring the staircase, and the result is stunning.
An exposed brick wall, glossy tiles in a striking blue (inspired by the original tiles found underneath a layer of 1960s paint) and an outstanding chandelier made out of golden tubes with tiny light bulbs at the end, are some of the elements making the space elegant and playful. Reclaimed furniture and object is a big thing at The Pilgrm, such as the retro drinking fountain (taken from The Natural History Museum), the bar disk panelling taken from the Mayor’s office in Derby, and the brass wall lights taken from an old psychiatric hospital.
Walk upstairs and you’ll enter into the elegantly decorated Lounge, which operates as restaurant and bar. With food being served all day, it’s a natural drawing point for both guests and outsiders. Headed up by Chef Sara Lewis, the cuisine is interesting and tasty, inspired by food from around the world and intends to take guests on a journey. The bright, mid-century furniture is colourful and unique, comfortable and modern, and suits the hotel perfectly.
The balustrades on the limestone staircase leading up to the guestrooms have been lovingly and painstakingly restored to their original glory. Some 50 layers of paint that has built up over the past 100 years were carefully removed from the balustrades to reveal the original ornate cast iron.
Offering four different room categories (Bunk, Small, Medium and Large), the hotel has a total of 73 rooms across the four former townhouses. This is quite a large number of rooms for such a small space, so the designers had to be clever with the structure of the rooms in order to maximise the available space. Each room is different and unique and all show off interesting design features.
They are sparsely decorated, consisting of a bed, a ‘wail’ (a combination of a wardrobe and a rail – an original design by The Pilgrm’s design team), shrubs, and a couple of shelves with magazines ¬– in the Large rooms, they have managed to fit a retro wicker chair and a cool floor lamp in too.
The floor is a great feature. The designers have gotten their hands on some 200 year-old parquet flooring reclaimed from schools, military facilities and other institutions, and paired them with reclaimed radiators sourced from old schools and hospitals. Effortlessly cool Tom Dixon cloud carpets have been fitted in all bedrooms and corridors, creating an intimate feel. Artwork by Keith Cunningham, Jo Bondy and Lydia Makin was also been carefully selected for each of the rooms.
Thankfully space has not gone at the expense of great comfort and the modern amenities that make a good hotel stay. The Marshall Speaker in each room is both an awesome design element and a perfect way to settle into your room, the organic cotton mattress promises a great sleep and the giant, soft towels provide luxury.
The bathrooms too are tiny, but stylish. Covered in black & white tiles, they feature retro bathroom fittings such as a pull-flusher toiler and a vintage sink, and a circular mirror. To save space, some of the rooms even have the bathroom sink on the outside wall of the bathroom. Little details make you feel looked-after: the hairdryer in a bespoke tote bag, and the scented soap-on-a-rope hanging from the sink.
Jason Catifeoglou’s goal of making the hotel’s building beautiful again is certainly achieved – restored as a modern hang-out for the pilgrims of the world, The Pilgrm is a tribute to British craftsmanship and design with a forward-thinking approach to hospitality.