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Champalimaud Design

The Alchemy Bar at The Academy

The Academy Hotel unveils new Alchemy Bar & Library

800 537 Hamish Kilburn

The chic new bar will house books from the famous Bloomsbury Set, and other iconic authors…

YTL Hotels’ elegant Gower Street property, The Academy, revealed to the press last week details of the new bar and library spaces. Paying homage to its location in an undeniably literary and cultural pocket of London, The Academy now offers a peaceful and sophisticated space dedicated to the writings and works of The Bloomsbury Set, the famous group of individuals who once lived and worked in the streets surrounding the property.

Situated close to the heart of London’s West End, The Academy’s recently re-opened 50 guestrooms are sheltered in a boutique hotel made up of five Georgian houses. The now sumptuous and chic interiors by the award-winning Champalimaud Design are inspired by the influential group of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists that included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes and E.M. Forster – have been part of the inspiration behind the multi-million-pound reconstruction of the property, its elegant interiors and its new library & refreshed Alchemy Bar.

The Bloomsbury area gained notoriety in the early 20th century with the ascent of The Bloomsbury Set, whose life objectives included love, the pursuit of knowledge and the creation and enjoyment of the aesthetic experience. The book-filled bar and library, at the centre of the Academy, is the focus of the hotel’s homage to The Bloomsbury set. Here, in beautifully decorated & intimate spaces, hotel guests will be able to immerse themselves in the lives of The Bloomsbury Set, whose works will line the walls.

Just some of the books available to guests at The Academy’s library will include Mrs Dalloway, To The Lighthouse, Orlando and A Room of One’s Own by Bloomsbury Group member Virginia Woolf; The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin; David Copperfield and Pickwick’s Papers by Charles Dickens; and Journey Through a Small Planet by Emanuel Litvinoff.

The Academy has also collaborated with a number of modern-day Bloomsbury-based figures who have carefully hand-picked a selection of books that they would like to see in the library. These will include, amongst others: Atonement and Enduring Love by Ian McEwan; A Passage to India by E.M.Forster; Mr Darcy’s Diary by Maya Slater; Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple; and The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. The Bloomsbury area is famous for its quirky publishers & booksellers, and The Academy is proud to have worked with prolific bookseller, Nicola Beauman of Persephone Books, comedian Alexei Sayle, and playwright Polly Stenham, to name a few, when stocking their library.

Following the multi-million-pound interior refurbishment overseen by Champalimaud Design, The Academy is also part of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. Just moments away from the British Museum, fine-dining restaurants and designer shops, The Academy is perfectly positioned for those travelling for business or pleasure.

Supplier list:

Fabrics: Kravet, Lee Jofa, Osborne & Little, and custom fabrics
Flooring: Ege Carpets (Guestrooms)
Furniture: Custom
Lighting: Royal Contract Lighting
Paint: Dulux/Glidden
Hardware: Sourced by client
Wallpaper: Liberty/Cole and Sons

First look into the interiors of London’s The Academy

620 315 Hamish Kilburn

The 50-key hotel will open in the heart of London’s West End this summer. New York-based design firm Champalimaud Design explain how through the use of small details have made the interiors look and feel larger…

Following a full refurbishment by YTL Hotels, here are the first images that have been released of London’s soon-to-open Academy Hotel, Bloomsbury.

Situated in the heart of Bloomsbury in London’s West End, the boutique hotel is set to fully reopen this summer and will act as a base for both leisure and business travellers alike.

Renowned New York-based Champalimaud Design has overseen the comprehensive refurbishment, and has created an engaging blend of modern and antique throughout the 50 new guestrooms, Alchemy Bar, and cosy Library. Throughout the renovation, the design team, led by principle designer Alan Mainer have taken inspiration from the lives and loves of the Bloomsbury Set who lived and worked in the area in the early 20th Century. “The Bloomsbury group were a bridge from the Victorian era into modernity,” explains Mainer. “So too did our design want to feel electric in its choices – a mix of traditional English, art deco, and mid-century modernist forms, but forward-looking in its attitude.”

The lighting and furniture is made to look and feel particularly residential, including “things you would find in the home of one of our well-travelled guests,” said Mainer.

One of the challenges that the design team faced re-imagining the building’s interiors was the architecture of the hotel itself. “The UK is wonderfully protective its landmarked spaces and The Academy is composed of five 18th-century Georgian townhouses that are recognised as landmarks,” said Mainer. “There were many elements that we had to be mindful of when re-envisioning the design of the hotel including staircases, moldings, and other specific architectural details.”

Another challenge – “which was rather exciting,” admits Mainer,  was figuring out how to make the smaller guestrooms feel more luxurious.  Mainer explains: “We accomplished this by delivering a sense of expanded amenities for the guest: a great bar cart, beautifully detailed closet systems that were a small footprint but big on design detail and guest consideration, larger TV’s, completely new and modernized bathrooms. We also upgraded the rooms by adding stylish furnishings and luxe materials, such as authentic grasscloth wallcovering for a residential feel.”

Adding accents of colour and humour throughout the hotel, most of the brightly patterned wallpapers have lively motifs that inject charm to reflect their spaces – and “create real conversation starters,” explains Mainer. “We’ve also employed brightly coloured paints to help add vibrancy to areas that previously felt dark.”

All rooms feature a marble en-suite shower room and bespoke furniture. In addition to the elegant interior, and luxurious amenities.

Based on famous Gower Street, The Academy is set across five traditional townhouses, and includes a spacious conservatory and garden courtyard. The lower ground floor will house a breakfast bar Refectory, while cosy nooks and small spaces set the tone for convivial, intimate gatherings. Designed to become a new neighbourhood social hub for the young media and academic crowd, the public areas of the hotel have been made to be the beating heart of all individual houses.

Steeped in glamorous yet laid-back luxury, The Academy’s contemporary take on townhouse living – and its refined look and feel – is said to become the perfect spot for city breaks in the Capital.