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The Academy

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MINIVIEW: The Academy, London

1024 576 Hamish Kilburn

Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn joins Alexandra Champalimaud herself to take a closer look of the new London boutique hotel that is on everyone’s lips at the moment…

Located in London’s more literary neighbourhood of Bloomsbury, The Academy Hotel, has revealed details of its million-pound interior design refurbishment. The hotel, which is part of YTL Hotels’ UK portfolio, has been designed by Alexandra Champalimaud and her skilful team whose portfolio includes The Gainsborough Bath and Spa and soon-to-open Monkey Island in Berkshire. The team worked close with the hotel group to convert the five Georgian townhouses into a charming, sophisticated and historical experience for guests who are checking in.

Inspired by the Bloomsbury Set who lived and worked there in the early 20th century, the interior design of the newly completed hotel is a tasteful blend of modern and vintage. The design team have perfectly balanced giving a nod to the building’s past while also drawing on inspiration from modern-day London.

The guestrooms

Each of the 50 elegant guest rooms have been designed to celebrate 240 years of the Georgian hotel’s history. High ceilings and sash windows give light-filled rooms an immediate sense of calm, which en-suite marble bathrooms and high king-sized beds (something I have noticed Champalimaud to love) add to the luxury. The soft furnishings of each guest room have been meticulously chosen to combine timeless glamour and fresh, contemporary city style. Statement walls feature fanciful wallpaper from Cole & Son, which arm chair, cushion and curtain fabrics have been sourced from Lee Sofa, a company that has been producing prints and fabric since 1823, and British brand Osborne & Little, among others.

Quick-fire round

Hamish Kilburn: What is your favourite colour this season?
Alexandra Champalimaud: I favour classic colours that don’t abide by trends. Rust orange, rich shades of blue, and green.
HK: What’s your advice to emerging designers?
AC: Believe in everything that you do.
HK: What is your number-one travel essential?
AC: Floracopeia Aged Patchouli oil
HK: What’s the secret to success in this world of hotel interior design?
AC: Challenges are opportunities to create something more awe inspiring than you may have initially thought – there are always changes, change in budget, change in schedule, perhaps the entire project gets scratched – but these are opportunities to bring more to the table. Charisma and good humour will also take you far.
HK: Biggest inspiration in your career?
AC: My team. At Champalimaud we have an unparalleled group of individuals in our New York based office, they make coming into work an absolute joy.

Beyond the guest rooms the hotel is brimming with personality and thoughtful design touched. On the ground level, the cosy Alchemy Bar which feature stunning olive-green velvet armchairs, marble-top tables and statement Liberty wallpaper, which leads out onto a sunlit-flooded garden, a rare feature for a hotel located in the centre of London. “Tapping into Bloomsbury’s storied past, we were inspired to create a space that is intimate, fresh and rich with charisma and narrative.”

 

 

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