The Arts Club, London
The Arts Club in its original building in Hanover Square, London originally offered six rooms. Some 120 years later, in a nod to its heritage, the club is again able to offer its members premium accommodation as it opens 16 new rooms and suites. Hamish Kilburn writes…
Like those lucky creative minds who have stood here before me in this private pocket of London, one has to stop and take a moment to absorb it all in. The Arts Club feels on trend, relaxed of course, and straightaway it is clear that I am stood in a truly esteemed institution. It is, as it has been for 152 years, a private members-only club that has in recent years reclaimed its place at the heart of contemporary cultural life in London, for those who are lucky to be accepted in, that is.
The Arts Club, which counted Dickins and Whistler among its early patrons, has unveiled new hotel rooms and suites in the Mayfair townhouse, Dover Street, London. Members and guests of members can choose between 16 rooms that are on offer. These comprise of one Penthouse with roof terrace, three Suites, two Junior Suites, six Deluxe Rooms and four Superior Rooms on the third, fourth and fifth floors.
When arriving through the hotel-room door, it is the matched-marble tiles that first capture my eyes. Walk deeper into the chamber, dark-mahogany American walnut panels on the floor playfully balance wooden frames from the full-length mirrors in the hall. Cashmere throws on the oversized beds ooze comfort, while the over-sized headboards ensure that the bed is the centrepiece of the room. Opaque brown juxtaposes the light-cream, white and light pink walls. A traditional black dial phone is perched on the bedside cabinet; as it is the little attention to detail that remind one of the club’s location.
Scale-like marble slabs on the floor of the bathroom echo the same dove-grey that is seen in the foyer. At the centre, a majestic freestanding traditionally made cast iron tub is on show contrasting the soft white marble walls. Contemporary touches have been carefully given with a subtle TV screen conveniently placed at the foot-end of the bath.
Ranging in size up to 110 metre squares, the suites include furnishings in the manner of iconic designers in Europe, such as Jacques Adnet, Gio Ponti, Finn Juhl, Piero Fornasetti and Hans Wegner. The emphasis is on craftsmanship and quality finishes such as specially embossed leather headboards, eglomise mirror panels and hand-tufted rugs. David d’Almada of the London design house Sagrada commented, “We wanted to capture elements of the style of European glamour and elegance which were so prevalent in the first half of the 20th Century.”
Two armchairs sit on top of the teal and cream rug at the foot of the over-sized bed. The main room is clean, light and breathes freely. White walls provide a blank canvas, while a large brass side-adjustable mirror behind the bed carries colour around the room. The bathroom’s dark wooden cabinetry blends well into the marble floor and walls. The deep bath is silver and stands on four legs, next to the glazed window. Natural lighting floods through the large panelled windows into the room and balances appropriately to create a soft ambiance.
Outside, the private terrace is large and secluded. Cream-leather sofas and outside chairs are delicately framed with dark wood. An outside dining table for six is perched at one end, while the lounge area is at the other. The rhythmic hums of city life resonate in this area but guests are kept hidden within the terrace’s tiled banisters.
For the few who get to stay here, the rooms remain appropriately tranquil retreats, an upper extension to the already magnificent members-only club. It is one of the most stylish locations in London, but the irony lies in the fact that money can’t buy a stay here, not even a drink. One must first become a member by being elected, proposed and seconded and then pay the entrance fee, or know people in high places to become a guest for the night – long story short, if you’re not on the guest list, you’re not coming in!