The Berkeley Hotel
The Berkeley in London is a luxury hotel which delights guests with its welcoming atmosphere and sense of style.
Located in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge, Sloane Street and Hyde Park are on the doorstep of the hotel. Moving from Berkeley Square the hotel came to Knightsbridge in 1974 transforming into the hotel that is known today – a special favourite with London connoisseurs of the finer things in life and an essential reservation from the well-informed international traveller.
The hotel has been undergoing an extensive refurbishment over the past 18 months, which has included the transformation of bedrooms, suites, terraces, the lobby, the all-day restaurant which is named The Collins Room, the iconic Blue Bar and the entrance.
Premier Hospitality magazine spoke to Anthony Keenan, Senior Contracts Manager at Mastercraft Construction UK Ltd, the main contractors on the project and Robert Angell from Robert Angell Design International, the main architects on the project about the refurbishment.
Anthony Keenan said: “Mastercraft have undertaken several projects at the Berkeley which include the phased refurbishment of suites and rooms on various floors. However the largest single project which we have undertaken at the Berkeley is the major facelift to the front façade and entrance on Wilton Place designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners.”
Commenting on the design brief for the hotel, Robert Angell said: “The lobby brief was really to evoke what The Berkeley is and wants to be and to give the interior a welcoming presence and a modern contemporary Englishness that is both of London and unique to The Berkeley.
“For the brief I was asked to create something in keeping with the original David Collins design whilst enhancing the DNA of the Blue Bar and updating it with new furniture and lighting, taking it into a new glazed pavilion structure to the front of the building designed by Sir Richard Rogers. We stripped everything back to the brick walls and labelled each of the original Lutyens oak wall planks before we refitted them all back and made a whole new section in the same style. The contemporary contrasting furniture was designed to sit comfortably in both a very high tech glass pavilion and also the panelled Lutyens panelled bar.
“For The Collins Room the idea was to evoke a timelessness and lightness of touch. It should seat around 70 covers and should incorporate the new glass pavilion. The Room will have a counter to act as a display for warm breakfast breads and pastries through to afternoon tea, cake and pastry displays. The seating should be comfortable and conducive for groups and couples looking to experience what The Collins Room has to offer. The room also has to respect the access to Marcus Waring’s restaurant which is at the far end of the room. The glass pavilion must be respected and a design was required to partly screen the interior of the pavilion from the direct sunlight and also glaring car headlights in the evening. The overall layout of the seating and tables must allow ease of access for both service and also for guests to have private conversations and feel intimate, yet be able to experience the vibe that room creates. The name Collins will reflect the late designer David Collins’ lasting legacy and his association with the Maybourne Hotel Group.”
As stated, several suites in the hotel have undergone refurbishment. The suites provide a stylish, spacious and well-equipped space that blends modern and traditional features to create an idyllic oasis in the heart of Knightsbridge.
The hotel now enjoys a range of new suites from the Chelsea Suites launched last summer by Robert Angell to the new terrace suites by John Heah which are still undergoing work and due to open later this summer. These are the newest addition to the hotel and combine spacious, contemporary and exquisite excellence to create a laidback and confident style throughout.
The biggest transformation to the hotel has been the “major facelift” of the entrance to the building.
Anthony said: “Visually, the original Berkeley front entrance and facade was understated and quiet however the introduction of the glass, carbon fibre and stainless steel designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners have given it a fresh new look while still maintaining a continuity with the past in the form of stone cladding and teak features. Below the entrance is a basement which houses the staff quarters, storage rooms and plant rooms. In order to carry out the re-modelling work on the ground floor associated with the new entrance, the electric cables, the pipe work and the air conditioning ductwork had to be re-routed; this required major coordination to ensure that the live services were kept intact so that the remainder of the hotel remained unaffected and undisturbed.”
Anthony commented: “This project has been very important for our company and continues to be so. Mastercraft, like all companies, like to work on the high profile projects that get our name mentioned and by doing so this opens other doors for us. We are really pleased with the whole project.”
Robert concluded: “I was very honoured to be asked to work on this as the protégé of David Collins. I am so pleased with the results and it is very satisfying to know that what we create has a resonance with today’s luxury travellers in search of that ultimate hotel experience.”
Mastercraft Construction UK Ltd
Mastercraft Construction UK Ltd specialises in the delivery of fit-out and refurbishment works for the construction industry. The company has been in operation for more than 20 years and within this time has worked on numerous prestigious projects, including Claridge’s and Everyman Theatre Philharmonic, Liverpool.
Most recently, Mastercraft Construction UK Ltd was appointed as the principal contractor on the extensive refurbishment of The Berkeley.
Raymond O’Kane of Mastercraft Construction UK Ltd, said:
“The prestige of working with the Maybourne Hotel Group on The Berkeley is important for my portfolio.”
“At Mastercraft Construction UK Ltd we pride ourselves on the quality of our work, the professionalism of our staff and our ability to work through construction and design challenges with clients and architects.”