The Trafalgar St. James hotel launched with a star-studded event at the stunning new Rooftop restaurant in London this month. Working with hospitality giant Hilton on its first Curio Collection property in the UK, SHH Architecture and Interior Design led the multi-million pound renovation, turning the only hotel in London’s Trafalgar Square into a ‘sanctuary of style’ in the heart of the city.
London based SHH, one of Britain’s most prestigious architecture and interior design practices, boasting clients including Ascot, Wimbledon and Faberge, were entrusted with the project as lead architects. ‘We didn’t want it to feel like a mainstream chain hotel, because it’s not, so staying true to the independent ethos, as well as creating a distinctly London aesthetic, was key,’ says SHH Creative Director and Founder Neil Hogan on the concept behind the transformation.
The Trafalgar St. James has 131 bedrooms including 15 suites. Each has been designed with Art Deco flourishes and references to the history of the building, which once housed the offices of the Cunard Steamship Company with news of the ill-fated Titanic breaking there. Tactile furnishings and bold colour choices have been used to create a sense of comfort, while art walls in the bedrooms pay tribute to London’s Trafalgar Square.
Design Detail – Carpet
The bespoke carpets are by Hotel Designs clients Brintons, a British carpet brand founded in 1783. The blue and white Axminster carpet design used in the bedrooms ties in with other items in the room, such as the red headboard, subtly representing the union jack. The corridor continued the deep blue palette and drew design inspiration for the star pattern from one of Lord Nelson medals: Trafalgar Square of course commemorating Nelson’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in the Napoleonic Wars.
Design Detail – Chandelier
A bespoke chandelier was created for the project working with British luxury lighting designers, CTO Lighting. Taking inspiration from the Array Opal range, the bespoke piece measures over 2.5 meters in length, and is the first thing that can be seen when entering the roof top bar from the lift.
Design Detail – Soft Furnishings
The ‘Napoleon’ feature scatter cushions in the guest rooms are from the Glasgow based textile designer Timorous Beasties. The luxurious crimson velvet and fun gold and black bee prints are representative of the hotel itself and match the British red and blue colour palette.
Working with the existing building was a challenge as all the rooms had a different footprint or window type so there was a lot or coordination and joinery tweaks to undertake.
The brief for the ‘The Rooftop’ was to create a destination bar and dining space that worked all year round, therefore a retractable canopy, and heated space, was the solution to ensure Britain’s changeable weather didn’t interfere. “We created distinct indoor and outdoor zones to provide multiple uses including a private glasshouse for intimate events. The Rooftop is all about the stunning, uninterrupted views across Trafalgar Square and London skyline beyond so we worked to maximise these wherever you were on the Rooftop.”
Working with a variety of international and homegrown design talent and manufacturers, Hogan and his team selected furnishings for The Trafalgar St. James that reflect its unique London heritage. An artfully curated blend of furniture, finishes, and light fixtures set the scene of The Trafalgar St. James giving the space an identity fit for its iconic location. “We wanted the space to be engaging and comfortable. The scheme is bold and inviting and the colours chosen are uniquely British. As a guest you’ll see a lot of deep blues with highlights of red and burgundy. The unique artwork was designed for the hotel to subtly remind guests of their iconic location.”
British craftsmanship in particular makes sense for such a quintessentially British hotel: Leading British and design manufacturers were specified by SHH including Brintons who delivered the bespoke carpets throughout the scheme; Peter Millard & Partners, tasked with creating the bespoke art work in the rooms; CTO Lighting who created a show-stopping bespoke drop chandelier upon entry to the Rooftop; textile designers Timorous Beasties’ crimson velvet cushions make statement accents in the bedrooms and Tom Dixon’s ‘London’ scented diffusers are used throughout the bedrooms.
Commenting on the re-launch design, Joanne Taylor-Stagg, General Manager of The Trafalgar St. James said: “It was paramount to us that the new look reflected the overall ethos of the hotel – we want guests to feel that every stay with us is a unique London experience. Working in close collaboration with the owners and SHH, we’re so happy with the results and the reaction from our first guests has been incredibly positive.”
The Trafalgar St. James is tucked away on the south-west side of the world-famous Trafalgar Square, in the heart of the West End and amidst the hustle of bustle of St. James. This part of London has long been seen as more of a tourist destination but the hotel wants to put it back into the hearts of Londoners and bring a whole new level of excitement to the area.