The Beaumont: the ultimate art hotel?

The newest art hotel on the block is London's The Beaumont, which boasts a sculptural sanctuary for sensational stays

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Fancy living inside an artwork? Then book a sleepover in ROOM by Antony Gormley, an inhabitable sculpture squatting on the façade of London hotel The Beaumont. A monumental, three-storey, cuboid figure, it's crafted from welded stainless steel plates – pale and matte just as they came from the mill – and is based on the British artist’s own physique. ‘I take the body as our primary habitat,’ says Gormley. ‘ROOM contrasts a visible exterior of a body formed from large rectangular masses with an inner experience.’

Opened in October, the Beaumont is the first hotel by London hospitality wizards Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the genius duo who gave us grand cafés The Wolseley and The Delaunay, Gallic-glam Brasserie Zédel, convivial eatery Colbert and 2014’s Viennese-inspired Fischer’s (the Fizz loved its Euro-kooky interiors almost as much as its konditorei).

ABOVE: Gormley's dazzling ROOM sculpture squats alongside the listed Mayfair hotel
ABOVE RIGHT: Entry to its inner sanctum is via white marble stairs and a black curtain
BELOW: Gormley's minimal, wood-lined master bedroom creates a serene sanctuary

The radical ROOM sculpture sits on a low-level wing of the hotel’s façade, which serves as a readymade plinth. It's reached by ascending seven steps from a pure marble bathroom, then entering through a black velvet curtain. Once inside the crouching geometric giant, you’ll discover a sultry, fumed oak-clad bedroom, an elemental sanctuary that’s minimal, modern and mesmerising. It’s a space of mysterious contrasts; dark and light, cavernous yet enveloping, a meditative break from the norm. The room connects to a second-floor suite in the main building, where a conventional sitting room, hallway and guest bathroom beckon – Gormley intended to dramatise the passage between the two zones, as you leave the luxurious decor and bustling city behind to escape into another realm.

‘The interior of ROOM is only four metres square but 10 metres high; intimate at body level, but open above,’ explains Gormley. ‘The idea was to reveal this slowly. I wanted to structure night as a preamble to sleeping and dreaming, and reinforce the feeling of being fully enclosed so the window only gives a view of the sky. At night, the shutters allow total enclosure and blackout. The very subliminal levels of light allow me to sculpt darkness itself. My ambition is to confront the monumental with the most personal, intimate experience.’ 

FROM LEFT: Vintage sport murals and photos line retro-chic grill restaurant The Colony; The American Bar pours old-school cocktails, familiar to Hemingway or Fitzgerald

A world away from Gormley’s ultra-contemporary architectural extension, the hotel boasts a grand Grade II-listed 1926 exterior, with art deco interiors evoking the elegance of pre-war Mayfair. London's ReardonSmith Architects collaborated on Corbin & King's conversion, with interior design by Richmond International. Alongside 73 trad-modern rooms – including the lavish Presidential Suite – The Beaumont hosts a residents-only lounge-bar, The Cub Room, plus a spa with hammam and gym.

Open to the public are the Twenties- and Thirties-inspired American Bar, where photos of dandy Yankee and British personalities look down on drinkers, and pièce de résistance, The Colony restaurant, a classic, 100-seater space influenced by the trad American grill rooms originally found in New York and London. Vintage sport and travel murals, by San Francisco artist John Mattos, up the nostalgia quota, spanning stylish skiing and marlin fishing, along with elegant portraits of Clark Gable and co. Swing by for a Bourbon or some of Kenny's Meatloaf!

BELOW: Cutting-edge architecture meets the golden age of hospitality chez The Beaumont

The Mayfair garden square location, just a credit card’s throw from Selfridges, Bond Street's designer stores and leafy Hyde Park, attracts a well-heeled mob. Design aficionados, though, can’t beat bagging Gormley’s ROOM; think Jonah kipping in the belly of a futuristic whale…
www.thebeaumont.com   www.colonygrillroom.com

The Beaumont, 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, London W1. Double rooms from £395 a night, including Continental breakfast and tax.

All pictures by Nick Ingram except The Colony Grill Restaurant by David Loftus