Luxury Hotels

LONDON – 3

The Emory, London, is new – and DIFFERENT.  See the image above, taken while pedalling on a Technogym bike in the 24/7 super-gym. Read on to find out, today and in tomorrow’s edition, more reasons  why The Emory deserves serious attention.

Suite 6005’s yard-long skinny hot water bottle wearing a grey cashmere cover with stylish neck scarf, and pearl buttons all down its elongated side, almost thinks it’s a catwalk siren not a body-warmer. But The Emory. Knightsbridge’s newest luxury lodging, is a hotel that thinks it’s a speakeasy. There are no exterior signs, it’s entered down a nine-foot wide alley and ‘reception’ is a glass-enclosed booth big enough for desk, two chairs, ten copies of today’s Financial Times. The whole back wall is floral patterned glass.

The Emory’s owners, Maybourne, realized they could slot in an additional building next to their existing The Berkeley. The space, which had variously housed art or posh cars, faces Knightsbridge and Hyde Park to its north, Hyde Park Corner to the north-east, and directly, east, down to Old Barrack Yard, a commuters’ shortcut between Hyde Park Corner tube station and Embassy Land. Underneath the space, however, is the Piccadilly Line and all its paraphernalia. Instead of being able to dig down vertical supports, the late English-Italian architect Richard Rogers devised a gigantic sculpture best described, in layman’s terms, as a ten floor high cats’ cradle that miraculously supports the front, north-facing, part of the steel and glass building.

The exterior, therefore, is one big sculpture. Inside is a riot of complementary styles. Frenchman Rémi Tessier, handling all public areas, has gone for a pink emergency staircase. The 51 hotel units, all suites, are variously the work of a Portuguese-American, Alexandra Champalimaud; a Hongkonger, André Fu; another Frenchman, Pierre-Yves Rochon, and a Milan-based Spaniard, Patricia Urquiola. Champalimaud was dealt floors five and six.

Suite 6005 is a marriage of English oak and glass. See the video below. Two all-wall windows have full-height wood doors that can be opened for masses of fresh air while looking over to Hyde Park, or, to the right, to Hyde Park Corner. Hip-high glass modesty panels prevent overboards.

There’s more oak, massive sheets for the walls, zigzag marquetry for the floors. Everything is meticulously planned to look as if it ‘just happened’…..