If Virginia Woolf were to enter the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel today she’d hopefully be amused and flattered - a whole wall made up of pages from one of her most famous novel dominates the reception area.
But this is where any connection between the Bloomsbury Set, trend setters though they were, and the newly refurbished deluxe 4 star hotel ends.
This new luxury hotel is unquestionably contemporary chic with original art that would not be out of place in a gallery.
Setting the mood is the impressive art installation by Ian and Richard Able creating a huge backdrop to the reception area. Using the Virginia Woolf Bloomsbury connection as an original concept, the artists have set the pages of Mrs Dalloway within polished resin, which gives the impression of a wall of glass. While at first glance it might appear green in fact there are lots of subtle natural colours in the wall from amber and cobalt blue to precious jade. Overlaid on this is a copy of the original manuscript of the novel in the author’s own handwriting.
More of the artist brothers’ work can be seen in the monolithic sculptural blocks that as well as being a stunning feature have a functional purpose as they support the reception desk. Made in deep patined bronze and riddled with cracks and fissures, their inspiration for these pieces came from sun-baked desert earth.
Richard and Ian Able are also responsible for the striking, shimmering wall decorations of the immense Folio Room; one of the largest conference spaces in central London. Based on Bridget Riley’s iconic illusionary Op-Art, the new installation, worked in metal and in tones of silver and gunmetal, is a series of flowing lines in different widths and depths that covers the wall.
The restaurant is the perfect foil for chef Redmond Hayward’s superb cooking –imaginative and very, very stylish. This cool yet intimate space is flexible enough to cater for a hardworking business lunch, after-work cocktails or romantic evening meal.
The natural textures and surfaces - polished granite floor, larger than average black leather dining chairs, bronze leather screen and columns – provide a strong yet subtle statement but then there are the light, exotic touches like the monumentally tall scarlet vases set in alcoves, another splash of vivid red in a huge modern picture of lips and stylish arrangements of white orchids.
The bar (there’s a natural flow from reception into the bar into the restaurant) is welcoming and relaxing. There’s comfortable seating in the form of deep gold, crushed velvet sofas and armchair; designer chairs with curved backs decorated with shades of end pages in vintage books and modern art works on the walls.
With the addition of a whole extra floor but with only one more bedroom (174 in total) the bedrooms are spacious, with possibly the biggest bathroom spaces in London!
Here comfort, luxury and style combine to provide a tranquil haven from the busy capital. Colour schemes are soothing yet designer smart – for example neutral tones with sharp accents in black, white and rich mulberry. Fabric on the walls, individually designed furniture, fine leather headboards, Baccharat chandeliers and luxury bed linen all add to the ‘special’ feel.
The rooms also have the very latest in high definition audio/visual technology.
Warm sand coloured stone has been used in the bathrooms and for those who like a shower, these showers have giant sized heads (that really work!) and partially sunken baths for easy access.
In the King Suites – decorated in fantastic colours such as a citrus limey yellow and sunburnt orange red – there’s a lavish treat with freestanding baths in the bedroom.
Said general manager Karthik Ramamurthy “The new Bloomsbury Street Hotel is the perfect combination of exciting cutting edge style with great comfort and superb service.”
“And it has the great advantage of being in a fantastic location. While Virginia Woolf may have been an inspiration when it came to some of the art installations we mustn’t forget our closest neighbours – the British Museum. It’s literally a stone’s throw away.”
“Suite 7007, I call The Dome Room because it looks out on the Museum’s beautiful landmark feature.”
The Bloomsbury Street Hotel launched 5 January 2009.