Play it again Sam, and again and again, but actually it’s play it again SEM, in this case. The whimsical can’t stop boogey-boy caricature combo above is a SEM original, one of 28 displayed in suite 401 at THE BEAUMONT, one of London’s delightfully personal places. There’s no brand, it does not need one. This beauty, supposedly named for fictional Prohibition hotelier Jimmy Beaumont, is its own brand. It relies on reputation, and Preferred.
Suite 401, like all the other 69 rooms, shines with lacquer woodwork and rounded corners, hints of Art Deco with new, softer colours introduced by Thierry Despont. DR Harris toiletries include sweet-smelling shampoo bars, thus saving 32,000 shampoo containers. 401, the Schiaparelli Suite, has seven magazines, including Conde Nast Traveller and Wallpaper, and no less than 95 all-enticing hardbacks. It also has the caricatures: SEM, it turns out, was nom de plume of Georges Goursat, born into a privileged French family in 1863. He died in near poverty in 1934, but he lived through the gay-Paree period of Belle Epoque as well as the hell of the Great War.
The Beaumont is a living museum of uniqueness. Where else do room supplies include new playing cards with a booklet of card games compiled, specially by former world poker champion Victoria Coren Mitchell, aka host of Only Connect super-quiz? And there is also a leaflet, The Beaumont 8 Little Book of Gin Cocktails. Learn how to make a Martini or a Negroni.
Or head down to the hotel’s Magritte Bar, which sensibly opens at 7 am for early arrivals – 50% of all hotel guests are from the USA. There will be even more people checking in by year end, when a new-build 30-room extension becomes operational: thanks to careful project management led by Beaumont MD Duncan Palmer, the new block is being constructed, and joined to the ‘old’ hotel, with no closure.
Duncan Palmer is an eternally creative mature hotelier, with every classic London hotel and the opening of THE MURRAY HONG KONG on his c.v. In Hong Kong he installed a Ciclotte monocycle in #2301, the Murray Suite. Here in London he commissioned, with ownership blessing, a bespoke marquetry humidor cabinet from an Italian super-star craftsman, and he has installed a 500 label wine display that has seen beverage sales soar.
Lasting memories of this crazily-gorgeous hotel include the finale. Take ordered New York Times out of its black linen bag, go down to The Colony for breakfast – every table, as every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, taken by groups of local high-success business people, talking ideas, ages late 20s to early 50s, not a tie (or beard) in sight. Clean teeth, get into waiting complementary house car and discuss London’s transport and Hungary’s politics as we purr to, and past, Buckingham Palace.
PS finish with a room tour of 401 – OK, Girlahead uses the wrong numbeer in the voice-over