A London Institution is Reborn – Athenaeum Hotel
Following an intense and comprehensive renovation, led by award-winning designer Martin Hulbert; the five-star Athenaeum Hotel & Residences has unveiled 134 new bedrooms, 10 new suites and an exciting new guest destination.
The Grande Dame of Piccadilly has re-emerged reinvigorated by a transformation of all ten floors; including bedrooms and suites and the decision to transform the hotel’s top real-estate – The Penthouse – into ‘the View,’ a members-style club accessible to hotel guests only.
Commenting on the work Martin Hulbert said: “I have been working on The Athenaeum for about 15 years on and off and this is probably the second time around I have done some of these rooms. The rooms were looking a bit tired and in need of an update. At the back of The Athenaeum, there were some houses that were long let style properties with the facilities of the hotel and on the top floor of The Athenaeum, there was a large suite overlooking Green Park, which I first did 10 years ago. We have now taken that out and replaced it with a large private lounge for the “extra special” hotel guests, which is called The View, which has the most sensational views over London.”
The View takes the concept of a ‘high-end’ guest experience quite literally. A constantly evolving space of surprising and inspirational experiences, The View, offers one of the most spectacular skyline panoramas in London. Previously reserved for privileged Penthouse Suite guests, The Athenaeum has opened up the top floor and rededicated it to hotel guests. A private members club – where your membership is your room key – to relax, socialise and connect with London.
In true grandiose style, guests at the hotel can consider themselves amongst the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Christian Bale, Harry Styles, Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman, Kim and Kayne and countless world leaders. Residents may be surprised to know that it is within the four walls of The Athenaeum that many London legends have been made: Take That announced their split, Steven Spielberg edited E.T, Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark from The Athenaeum suites and Russell Crowe was famously made to tidy his bedroom. With thanks to the creative vision of Hulbert, for a tailored approach to design, the Athenaeum’s bedrooms are now back and more beautiful than ever, paying a definite nod to its Mayfair heritage, cue its Art Deco loveliness, whilst keeping the contemporary, discerning traveller in mind.
Martin added: “Architecturally, we worked with what we had but we changed the soft furnishings, colours, updated the quality and look of the wardrobes and just gave it much more of a richer palette than it previously had.”
Each of the superior, Deluxe, Park View bedrooms and Suites at The Athenaeum have been adapted and repurposed with the aim of maximising the hotel’s extraordinary aspect across the historic Green Park. Floor to ceiling windows now effortlessly open up the outlook and flood the room with natural light, whilst clever design, innovative lighting and tailored use of colour has been applied to enhance the interior space. Attention has been paid to every last detail with textiles being carefully sourced or if required, specially made, from classic Herringbone weaves and linen-lined wardrobes, to silk-clad furniture, plush velvet cushions and bespoke carpets showcasing the very best of British craftsmanship.
Saskia Haining from Martin Hulbert Design added: “We had a really nice feedback email from someone who stayed in one of the accessible rooms saying that they had appreciated the design and thought through elements of the design so it was nice to get that. It seems to be going down really well and the design is reaching out to a wider variety of age groups so is meeting young and old and not alienating anyone is any way.”
Encouraging guests to #lookatlondondifferently, the hotel has also reimagined local landmarks through a series of exclusive artworks. These specially commissioned whimsical pieces harness The Athenaeum’s English design ethic, eccentric spirit and artistic DNA. Based on the concept of old theatre sets, the select multimedia collages replicate local landmarks; Buckingham Palace, Burlington Arcade, Fortnum & Mason and the Royal Academy of the Arts (RA) and insert quintessentially British characters in sometimes surprising scenarios, from David Attenborough riding an elephant and the Queen with her Corgis, to representations of Grayson Perry, the Rolling Stones, Einstein, Alice in Wonderland and even the hotels owners.
Martin said: “Art in hotels can be so boring. It was important to create something that was fun and that you could look at for a long time. The more you look, the more you see.”
Commenting on the re-launch of The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences’, General Manager Bernard Murphy said: “We have breathed new life into the art deco walls of The Athenaeum, but respectfully retained all of the English quirks and addities that made her great. We want guests to rediscover The Athenaeum – our restaurant, created by Michelin-starred Galvin Brothers, our award-winning bar team – and all the hidden treasures of Mayfair. And when they do, we want them to enjoy an unexpected and surprising experience; surprisingly good!”
Formed in 1913 by Joseph Preedy, Preedy Glass is a family-run business specialising in the supply and installation of bespoke mirrors and frameless interior glass for high-end refurbishment projects. Preedy Glass supply niche and new technological products such as TV mirrors and magnetic glass and between 1987 and 2016 the company held the Royal Warrant for supplying glass table tops.
Every day, Preedy Glass works closely with interior designers to devise new ways to utilise glass and mirror in inspirational ways. The company works with a range of clients from well-known kitchen and furniture specialists to hotels and exhibitors, as well as prestigious retailers including Harrods.
More recently, Preedy Glass has been involved with the work on The Athenaeum, supplying mirrored table tops to all of the rooms. This included a collection of unusual tinted mirrors which was ideal for this project as the designers wanted a mix of blue and peach/copper coloured mirrors for the hotel.
Commenting on the project, Mike Preedy, Preedy Glass, said:
“To work on an iconic building such as The Athenaeum is a privilege and the ideal showcase for the quality frameless mirrors we produce.
“It is always a pleasure to work with Martin Hulbert Design who have introduced us to The Athenaeum Hotel and Abrahams and Carlisle, both of whom we hope to work with in the future.”
“At Preedy Glass we pride ourselves on being customer focused and reactive to all our customers’ needs. Our Mission Statement sums it up best: To exceed our clients’ expectations by mirroring quality products with outstanding customer service.”
Abrahams and Carlisle
Established in 1952, Abrahams and Carlisle is an interior fit-out specialist, delivering work within the hotel, leisure and entertainment sector. The family-run company manufactures and installs bespoke joinery including hotel case goods and has been involved with various prestigious projects over the past 66 years.
In recent years Abrahams and Carlisle has completed hotel projects at The Grove Hotel, Watford; The Runnymede Hotel, Egham; and The Sheraton Grand Hotel, London. Within the leisure sector, Abrahams & Carlisle are a preferred contractor for David Lloyd Leisure.
Most recently, Abrahams and Carlisle has been involved with The Athenaeum, refurbishing all 114 bedrooms, along with suites and bedroom corridors. In addition, the company converted the Presidential Suite on the 10th floor into The View – a new guest lounge – and were also involved with the refurbishment of the hotel’s apartments.
Garry Abrahams, Managing Director of Abrahams & Carlisle, said:
“Abrahams & Carlisle have been partners with The Athenaeum for over 15 years, providing various interior fit out projects in the process. Throughout our involvement with the hotel, customer satisfaction and minimal guest disruption is our key objective.”
“Working for a 5 star hotel demands a 5 star finish, and that is what our company is based upon.”