Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The London Edition

30 Jan 2014 by GrahamSmith

BACKGROUND

The Edition brand was created by Ian Schrager (US entrepreneur, hotelier and co-founder of New York club Studio 54) in partnership with Marriott International.

The inaugural hotel opened in Waikiki in 2010 but has since been rebranded as the Modern Honolulu. The Edition Istanbul opened in 2011, with London following last September. Properties in the pipeline include Miami for 2014, Abu Dhabi and Gurgaon (Delhi) in 2015, two for New York in 2015 and 2017, and Bangkok and Shanghai for 2016.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The 19th-century building originally comprised five grand townhouses which were joined together to become the Berners hotel in 1909. It closed 97 years later, unloved, crumbling and nicotine stained.

Marriott bought it in 2010 and restored it at a cost of £33 million. There are now two street-level entrances – one for the magnificent Berners Tavern restaurant, the other to the lobby. Both are vast spaces with dramatic high ceilings decorated in creamy Belle Epoque stucco, but the golden lighting and roaring log fires make them feel warm.

The imposing classical opulence is also juxtaposed effectively with quirky modern features. Look up and you will spot a giant stainless-steel egg hanging from the lobby ceiling – created by German industrial designer Ingo Maurer, it is complemented by a reproduction of a Louis XV Gobelins tapestry behind check-in, and a luminous light installation called Portal by Korea’s Chul Hyun Ahn at the far end.

WHERE IS IT?

On Berners Street, a two-minute walk from Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road Tube stations.

ROOM FACILITIES

Entry-level guest rooms start from 22 sqm and take inspiration from Scandinavian design, with floor-to-ceiling walnut panelling, fur throws, parquet floors and a colour palette of fawn, caramel, cream and white.

The mosaic bathroom in my 40 sqm Loft room had a freestanding tub and walk-in rainshower (most rooms only have showers). Le Labo toiletries are Edition-branded in slender black bottles. The beds are incredibly comfortable.

Each room has an iPod dock, black-out blinds, free water and wifi, a well-stocked minibar with drinks and gourmet snacks, and a 46-inch Samsung HD TV (though the picture on mine was a little pixelated and the sound kept slowing down and speeding up).

Generally, the décor and facilities remain the same across each category (it tends to be space that differentiates them) although my Loft room also came with a couch and a coffee table. All rooms have a good-size workdesk and wardrobe, a safe and an iron/ironing board. Room service is available 24 hours.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

The Lobby bar is a classy place to pause for a coffee or cocktail. If you make a reservation in advance, you can also experience the Punch room – it feels like a cosy private members’ club and has its own bar specialising in gin-infused vintage punch.

Downstairs is the Basement nightclub – open Thursday to Sunday, it’s guest list or members only.

I had dinner at Berners Tavern, the much talked-about restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. It made me think of the Palace of Versailles meets over-the-top art gallery, as the walls are festooned with 185 closely packed paintings in elaborate gold frames, while the ceiling is a sculpted mass of shells, leaves and drapery.

For a glamorous high-end eatery it is surprisingly relaxed. Dishes are generously portioned and delicious, ranging from seafood and oysters to sandwiches and steaks.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

Up the lobby’s marble staircase is a mezzanine balcony that can be used for intimate receptions, while leading off it are two studios – one for 12 delegates, the other 60.

Berners Tavern has a 14-seat private dining room. The 195 sqm top-floor Penthouse can also be hired for private parties – as can the Basement, which holds 200 people. 

LEISURE FACILITIES

There is a subterranean gym with Life Fitness machines, but no spa.

VERDICT

A stylish luxury hotel that is hip and happening but also well set up for business travellers, with the benefit of being able to earn Marriott Rewards points.

FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 173 – 20 Guest rooms, 66 Superior, 61 Deluxe, 17 Loft, four Loft suites, two one-bedroom suites, two one-bedroom suites with terraces, and one Penthouse
  • HIGHLIGHTS The free wifi and Scandi design in the rooms, the excellent Berners Tavern and the impressive lobby
  • PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in March started from £315 for a Guest room
  • CONTACT London Edition, 10 Berners Street; tel +44 (0)20 7781 0000; edition-hotels.marriott.com
     

Jenny Southan

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