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Behind The Scenes: It’s Maximalist And Magical – The New Beaverbrook Town House In Chelsea

There’s something in the air. And, in London, right now, it smells like the return of optimism. Normality is not quite here yet but it is returning. While we can’t ignore the sad demise of the restaurants, boutiques and boltholes of this great city – casualties of Covid, of course – there is truth in the fact that creativity often thrives in hard times, and, at the moment, it seems as though we are in the thrust of a mini-renaissance.

Capturing the rebirth of London right now.

(Credit: Beaverbrook Town House)

Streets are suddenly abuzz with people again, bars have a fizz of energy, start-ups and pop-ups are back, and, on the hotel scene, a whole tranche of openings are happening apace. One of the most exciting of these is the new Beaverbrook Town House, found on Sloane Street, which threw open its doors two weeks ago.

The property is the much-anticipated outpost of the quintessential English country house hotel that is Beaverbrook. Once the home of Lord Beaverbrook, press baron and wartime MP, the Surrey hotel, found on a rambling estate, expertly brings to life the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. 

The new London outpost, on the other hand, gives a nod to Beaverbrook’s colourful lifestyle in London (although his home was actually in Fleet Street) and it also seems to perfectly capture the zeitgeist that is the new Roaring Twenties of our time. 

Detailing with tassels, pleats and trims.

(Credit: Beaverbrook Town House)

Opened in partnership with Cadogan – the historic property investor and developer – the new hotel has been carved out of two Georgian townhouses (originally commissioned by Charles Sloane Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan, at the end of the 18th century) to the tune of £25 million.

If minimalism is your thing then look the other way. There are no white walls and bare surfaces here. Beaverbrook Townhouse’s interiors – by Nicola Harding (who also designed The Garden House at Beaverbrook) in collaboration with Sir Frank Lowe (Beaverbrook’s creative director) – do not hold back on colour, cosiness or sumptuousness. It’s all about flashes of flamboyancy.

One of the hotel’s Studio Suites gives more, more, more.

(Credit: Beaverbrook Town House)

Inspired by the theatre world, each of the 14 bedrooms have been named after London theatres – from The Old Vic to The Criterion. Inside each there’s a whimsical multi-layering of styles – the aubergine-hued lacquered bedside table boasts a retro dial telephone; an antique bureau has a vintage paperweight, next to a posy of flowers and a 1940s lamp with a pleated shade; a petrol-blue half-tester bed has an elaborate canopy. The effect is full of charm yet somehow fun and witty, too. It’s less grandma and more your stylish but irreverent aunt.

The decor gives a sumptuous feel.

(Credit: Beaverbrook Town House)

In each room there are nods to the theatre it is named after – with old bills, vintage posters for original productions (such as: A Little Bit of Fluff – a 1915 play by Walter Ellis) and archive photos of the theatres from different eras, as well as actors on stage. There are also little curated piles of books relating to London and the theatre world, which happily give even more insight into the inspiration.

There are subtle nods to Beaverbrook’s Spitfire logo, too, from the tiny badges the staff wear to the insignia printed on the bathrooms amenities, making a nice reference to the brand’s history. (Lord Beaverbrook instigated the famous wartime ‘Saucepans for Spitfires’ campaign, asking people to give up their aluminium pans so that they could be melted down to make much-needed Spitfires.)

Where you can put decoration – you will find it: so there’s tassels on cushions; pom pom trims on blinds; side-tables are draped in fabric; dressing tables have skirts and edges have scallops. But why stop there? There’s a further layering of eclectic decorations and a confident use of colour everywhere, with rooms being painted in ‘off-key’ complementary shades – olive green walls with sea-green skirting, for instance, and accessories and textiles coming in clashing shades and differing prints. Even the oak floors are not left alone – they are inlaid with seagrass carpets and overlaid with 1970s-style thick rugs, in shades of candy-pink and emerald-green. It shouldn’t work but it does.

Dive into maximalism.

(Credit: Beaverbrook Town House)

Look a little deeper and it turns out that Nicola Harding’s choices go some way to paying an homage to historic London – with the designer sourcing fabrics, furnishings and fittings from an array of local London-based suppliers. It reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of interiors. Antique chairs are from Howe; cushions are by Penny Worrall; lampshades are by Rosi de Ruig; decorative lighting is from Vaughan Designs; ironmongery is by Joseph Giles and trimmings are from Samuel & Sons.

Bathrooms also keep up the maximalist vibe with turquoise and sapphire glossy tiles, Art Deco-inspired lighting, lacquered mirror frames in jewel-box hues and full-sized products by Bamford.

The entrance hall.

(Credit: AVC)

With posters and eclectic artwork lining the stairs of the hotel, and curios and antique pieces dotted about, it feels like you’ve stepped into someone’s well-appointed, albeit slightly quirky home. Instead of a traditional check-in area, for instance, there’s a small snug, wallpapered in a vibrant pineapple print, complete with cosy armchairs, footstool and bar trolley. It’s the perfect introduction as to what’s to unfold.

Check-in in the snug.

(Credit: AVC)

One of the standout features of Beavebrook in Surrey – and quite unusual for a country house hotel – is its Japanese restaurant. This is echoed here at the in-house Fuji Grill and Omakase Sushi Bar. The menu is extensive with sushi, sashimi and nigiri offerings, tempura (the Popcorn Shrimp is a must), soups and salads. Signature dishes include the ‘Charcoal’ Wagyu with Juniper Miso and Scottish Langoustine with Japanese Salt and English Bergamot. On the Robata Grill, sandouts include the Jumbo Prawn with Yuzo Kosha and Sansho Pepper and Black Cod with Den Miso and Yuzu Miso.

“London is saturated with Japanese restaurants,” a member of staff says. “So we had to make sure that what we offered could not only stand its ground but improve on what’s already out there.”

The Fuji Grill.

(Credit: Beaverbrook Town House)

The result is fine-dining Japanese style, in a characterful dining room that feels intimate and almost bistro-like. The rooms green walls are hung with a collection of 19th-century woodblock prints depicting the eponymous Mount Fuji by the Japanese Masters, Hokusai and Hiroshige. Vintage lighting and Japanese-sourced cabinetry also give nods to the elevated cuisine. Meanwhile, the adjoining bar ramps up the glamour with it stained glass features, private booths, raspberry-pink bar stools and lacquered walls. Tables are decorated with new and vintage matchbox covers, sourced from Japan, and there’s an inventive cocktail list to kick off your night.

As well as a hotel terrace area, guests can also access the private Cadogan Place Gardens – found opposite the property. There’s also the hotel’s ‘little black book’ of addresses and exclusive experiences for those wanting to explore London.

It’s lights up for London, at the moment, and Beaverbrook Town House is making its star appearance on the hotel scene. It’s a standing O.

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