The Doyle Collection, the privately owned and managed group of luxury hotels in Ireland, the UK and US, has embarked on a major redesign of The Bloomsbury, a 1928 Sir Edwin Lutyens, Grade-II listed building on Great Russell Street in London.
Following the successful relaunch of The Kensington in 2016, The Bloomsbury redesign will be completed in November 2017. The hotel will be transformed following a multi-million-pound investment programme led by Bernie Gallagher, chairman of The Doyle Collection, in collaboration with Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.
The transformation of The Bloomsbury has been a long-term focus for Gallagher, whose vision for the brand is to create a group of hotels at the forefront of cool design and product innovation with superb service, that are deeply rooted to their local area.
Patrick King, CEO of The Doyle Collection comments: “Our aim for The Bloomsbury is to create a hotel that is a hub for the local area, offering guests a vibrant and fun place to come and stay, relax, meet and socialise. Having evaluated the kind of spaces that our customers like to use and live in, we are creating a hotel with a private club-like feel – informal yet luxurious, with the highest quality materials and design. As the Bloomsbury area continues its journey of redevelopment and rejuvenation, our hotel is poised to embrace and be part of these exciting changes within the cultural heart of London’s West End.”
The transformation will include the redesign of the public spaces of the Grade II-listed building, including a new reception area, guest lounge and stunning new bar, The Coral Room. The original entrance at the side of the property has been restored, incorporating a new glazed canopy to enhance the arrival experience. The original flight of Portland Stone steps leads guests into the new reception area, an intimate space which includes a beautiful Lutyens-inspired Living Room for the exclusive use of guests to relax and unwind. A colour palette of muted greens and pinks will be accented with an electric mix of furnishings, artwork and lighting.
Mindful of the original Lutyens design and the building’s listed status, this bar area is being sensitively reimagined. The original panelled walls will be retained and given a high-gloss lacquer finish in vivid coral – a colour that Lutyens was fond of. A striking feature of the new interior will be the five bespoke Murano glass chandeliers which will be specially created for the space.
This refurbishment is the final chapter of the wider restoration of The Bloomsbury, following the very successful launches of the award-winning Dalloway Terrace and The Bloomsbury Club Bar, which were added to the property in 2016.
Dalloway Terrace quickly became one of London’s most sought-after al fresco dining hotspots, serving brunch, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. The quintessentially English space, named after the eponymous character created by Virginia Woolf, is an indoor/outdoor restaurant, fully heated in winter, offering the peace and charm of a secluded garden.
The Bloomsbury Club Bar, launched soon after, in the summer of 2016, brings old-school romance and the magic of a bygone era of glamour to the hotel. The bar has a members’ club feel and is furnished with leather armchairs, atmospheric lighting and mahogany panelling, taking inspiration from the lives of the famously hedonistic Bloomsbury Set. The bar leads on to the outdoor space; a twinkling grotto perfect for long summer evenings, while the drinks menu takes influence from the 1920s and 1930s, with a selection of original cocktails named after literary icons and their libertine lifestyle, such as: ‘Virginia Woolf’, ‘Leonard Woolf’ and ‘Vanessa Bell’.
The Bloomsbury continues to embrace its literary heritage with its wood-panelled Seamus Heaney Library, an ideal event space filled with the work of the area’s former residents. To complement this unique facility, the hotel also has a Poet in Residence.
Bloomsbury the borough
Coinciding with the refurbishment of the hotel, the Bloomsbury borough is itself experiencing a transformation, not seen since the heady days of ‘The Bloomsbury Set’ in the first half of the 20th century. This influential group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, which included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E.M. Forster and Lytton Strachey, all lived, worked or studied together in Bloomsbury and were united by an abiding belief in the importance of the arts. Their works and outlook deeply influenced literature, aesthetics, criticism and economics. The new Bloomsbury crowd are still rooted to these literary and creative roots, with many companies such as Google taking root in the locale.
A modern-day Bloomsbury set will emerge as access to the area rapidly increases with the arrival of Crossrail in 2018, making the journey to and from Heathrow and other parts of London even more accessible. The neighbouring British Museum will complete a refurbishment by the end of 2018, with plans to open three new galleries. However, what continues to make Bloomsbury such a timeless hidden London gem, is its elegant garden squares and streets lined with an eclectic selection of shops and boutiques. The Bloomsbury is just a stone’s throw from Soho and Covent Garden and along with the rest of The Doyle Collection, is very much involved in the local area, which is highlighted via its ‘Slice of the City’ initiative and packages.