Ian Schrager soared to fame in the 1970s as the co-founder of the infamous Studio 54 in New York City. Since then, the entrepreneur has served as a trailblazer in the hospitality industry. By fusing his knowledge of pop culture and nightlife with time-tested traditions of accommodation, Schrager practically invented the concept of the boutique hotel in the mid-’80s.
Schrager’s latest effort, as part of his ongoing Edition Hotels brand, can be found in London’s Fitzrovia neighborhood, a hip locale once favored by the likes of authors Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw. Dubbed London Edition, this hotel combines the best in modern sensibility with exceptional service and innovative features.
The historic landmark that now houses London Edition was once the home of the Berners Hotel. Schrager’s team sought to maintain the traditional charm of the building while adding updated design elements into the mix. The end result transcends time, offering echoes from its past and visions of its future. Just past the entrance, guests are greeted by “Portal,” a 3D digital piece crafted by Korean artist Chul Hyun Ahn. Then mere feet away? There’s the reception area, which contains a tapestry, itself an elegant recreation of one that once belonged to King Louis XV of France.
At London Edition, guests will also find a haven that offers majestic open spaces and luxuriously intimate rooms along with a restaurant, a fitness facility and two lounges. The hotel’s Lobby Bar looks like something that might have been dreamed up by the elusive aliens from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Green velvet couches linger beneath painstakingly restored interiors worthy of the Palace of Versailles. A portrait hangs over a marble fireplace across from a blackened steel bar, which rests besides four imposing antique mirrors. The Elderflower Power Sour, one the lounge’s signature cocktails, is definitely out of this world.
Berners Tavern, the hotel’s restaurant, is another jaw-dropper. Its intimate tables flow into a magnificent bar with golden shelves of bottles juxtaposed between rows of framed paintings and photographs. The menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner items that range from the savory to the sweet. Try one of the tavern’s grass-fed British steaks or the pan braised Atlantic halibut.
There’s also the reservations-only Punch Room, an oak-paneled den that recalls London’s private clubs or a study in a 19th century manor house. As you may have guessed, cocktails rule here. Guests can order from a list of eight exquisitely mixed drinks that include gin-infused punch with oak moss. The lounge often features impromptu performances and a curated music selection that includes ragtime, blues, vintage soul and additional genres.
Since its debut, and with good reason, London Edition has landed in the pages of Travel + Leisure, GQ and The Wall Street Journal. In terms of uniqueness and sophistication, Schrager’s most recent vision knows no equal.
10 Berners Street London England W1T 3NP United Kingdom
Whit Cook is the Founder/Publisher of GoodLife Report (GLR), a lifestyle website geared towards men and women who like unique products and experiences. GLR editors have written for prominent publications and web sites including Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, Travel+Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, Men’s Journal and Pursuitist.