There is no shortage of suites in city centre hotels, yet when four and five star hotels refurbish, they often end up reducing their room count to create more suites, such is the demand.
For those of us used to booking the least expensive room in the most convenient location, this may seem strange. Our idea of luxury is a location close to work or the area we are visiting, with a good size work desk and a shower that isn’t over a bathtub. In contrast, suites often have sofas, and a table that could be used for in-room dining, and perhaps even sliding doors and a completely separate sitting room and so on and so forth into the thousands of pounds per night.
Part of the reason for the demand is rich individuals on leisure trips and, for London, visitors from the Gulf escaping the summer and taking over entire floors of the capital’s luxury hotels. But it’s also true that high level executives often book suites, partly because, well, they can, but also because they justify the extra expense by holding meetings in these suites.
Sometimes that extra room works for confidential meetings during the day, but in practical terms, it’s a function these suites weren’t really designed for. Interviewing someone in a room adjoining a bedroom isn’t the sort of environment many human resources managers would recommend.
Larger suites are often used (when vacant) by companies as event spaces. If you want to hold a meeting in a hotel without attracting notice, and avoid having the meeting advertised in a public area downstairs along with a list of all the other companies in the hotel that day, a large suite might make sense. And that’s where The Capital Suite at the Intercontinental London Park Lane comes along.
The hotel says that this is the first of its kind, and having stayed there for one night (at the invitation of the hotel), I have to agree. It has a very specific purpose, namely to be a business-orientated suite, one which combines sleeping arrangements (two double en-suite rooms) with a boardroom (two in fact) along with separate living rooms, vestibule areas with seats, a wonderful office area and even a separate lift and entrance.
Although it has been designed so the guest doesn’t have to leave, I think that would be more appropriate for celebrities. Group CEOs aren’t likely to feel worried about popping down to the restaurant for something to eat, or going out somewhere else in London. It would be a shame to miss the attractions of London, and after dinner in the hotel (Ella Canta – reviewed from a previous occasion here
we went for an evening walk down to Shepherd’s Market and Berkeley Square, lovely on a summer’s evening.
Still, when it comes to confidential meetings, this is a very well-designed space.
The interior is by RPW Design, and is as high-end as you’d hope for the price, with lovely lighting, furniture, art pieces and a great collection of coffee table books – in fact I probably spent more time reading these than I did working. Art Consultant Peter Millard helped select artworks “that function as intriguing windows into an artistic interpretation of the theme” (the theme being the nearby park and the idea of “The Capital”).
“An example is the resin sculpture on the bathroom mirror that evokes the Serpentine through the exploration of form, movement and materials.”
(I managed to miss this, though I did have a bath. I was reading a magazine.)
To finish with the design thoughts, I can’t do better than quote the accompanying release…
“Soft leathers, stone and walnut timbers as a basis for the colour schemes, resulting in a classic, natural and relaxing environment suggestive of Hyde Park itself. Design touches contain homages to the park such as bespoke bronze handles evocative of tree branches for the cabinetry. Artwork and accessories draw on Hyde Park’s equine traditions and the historic location of the hotel. Bespoke stitching details of the Plane, the tree that populates and represents London’s Royal Parks, are incorporated into the headboard design in the Hamilton bedroom. The green landscape of the park inspired textures, patterns and themes within the carpet designs and artworks, such as the bespoke carpet design in the Hamilton bedroom.”
The suite has various doors allowing for two or more meetings to go on simultaneously. In total there is 335sqm of space, though because there are so many interlinked rooms it never feels huge in a daunting way, though it can be slightly confusing to navigate at first.
It’s certainly the first suite I’ve seen with not one but two meeting rooms. The main one has direct access from the corridor outside via a private corridor, so no need for the awkward walk past a bedroom, while the office and second meeting room, in effect creating the potential for this being an entire office.
The advantage of all the rooms means that the experience of staying at the suite isn’t actually any different from staying in, say, a junior suite at the hotel, but with the added advantage of having a huge sitting room, a private office, and, I guess, a separate bedroom if you have an argument with your companion sometime during your stay.
This is an intriguing idea for a suite, one which combines extremely luxurious furnishings with a clear idea of who it is aiming at and the purpose for which it will be used. It might seem astonishing that companies pay these prices, but if you consider the combined cost of two suites, two meeting rooms and the extras, and the use of a private butler and private lift, all on Park Lane…. well., the Intercontinental obviously thinks there’s a market. It will be interesting to see if others follow suit(e).
- PRICE The Capital Suite at the Intercontinental London Park Lane costs from £10,000 per night
- CONTACT Intercontinental London Park Lane, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, Mayfair; +44 020 7409 3131, ihg.com