Curating the Curio Experience
We were tasked with transforming the F&B and FOH areas of the newly launched 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel in Kensington, London. Our client’s ambition was to convert the DoubleTree property into a Curio by Hilton hotel. To achieve this, we curated a unique narrative for the property, forming a personality that creates a strong sense of place.
We immersed ourselves into the historical archives of the property and drew upon the distinctive persona of the original land owner – William Henry Alexander, who was well regarded within the 1800’s for being an avid collector of curiosities from his travels as well as a notable patron of the arts. The narrative of the design pays homage to William Alexander, creating a sense of ‘his residence’ through the individually designed spaces; showcasing the collectables and celebrating his adventurous character.
From the outset of the project, Our strategy team collaborated closely with the client on the positioning of the hotel, undertaking a detailed reconnaissance visit of the Kensington Borough and examining amongst other areas the core demographics and competition. The study established the overarching design narrative as well as defining the F&B offers to suit the day part and clientele’s diverse desires.
A Collection of Curiosities
The heterogeneous and contemporary palette of the hotel reception and lounge creates a warm and inviting ambience for guests introducing them into the luxury of the Curio brand. The two main lounge areas are divided by a beautifully lit cabinet of curiosities displaying an assortment of discoveries which reflect the origins of William Alexander’s travels. Reminiscent of a Victorian gentleman’s drawing room the space features a grand bookcase, writing desk and drinks trolley alongside plush furnishings and artwork.
The large, light and airy reception area creates a distinctive first impression with three bespoke timber reception desks taking centre stage. Further pockets of lounge seating are placed around the space leading out to a relaxed atrium terrace that takes guests down to the ESQ cocktail bar.
The ESQ Bar
The design curation was based around a traditional Victorian parlour room, where Alexander would bring his guests and business associates to discuss his latest confidential endeavours. Adorned in a rich, warm colour palette with bold decorative fabrics the space provides a refined and relaxed ambience perfect for pre and post dinner drinks. Ambient lighting seamlessly transitions from day till night in keeping with the sophisticated tone of the hotel.
The lower ground floor also offers access to two private meeting rooms decorated in a deep hues of blue and dark wood projecting a masculine undertone with curious collections of artwork and relics.
Botanica Tea Room
The ‘Botanica’ tea room is housed in an elegant double height atrium space with abundant arrays of luxurious greenery and planting. Evocative of a classic Victorian orangery, the space offers vast amounts of natural daylight making it the perfect place for relaxation over a spot of afternoon tea with friends.
A particular highlight of the design is the exquisite pendant lighting that imposingly suspends from the ceiling, highlighting the elegant marble finishes and statement floor tiles.
Hotel Dining with a Difference
The W/A Kensington restaurant utilises a rich palette creating a relaxed dining environment that transitions seamlessly from breakfast through to dinner. A sumptuous yellow velvet banquette lines the side of the room alongside round booths of seating that overlook the charming streets of Kensington. Displays of artworks and marvels from Alexander’s expeditions are scattered around the space injecting a sense of interest and intrigue for guests.
An important element in the scheme was to ensure that the practical hotel operations of breakfast service were also accommodated within the design. The front of the restaurant delivers this requirement through a dedicated breakfast service station designed with rich marble and bespoke joinery.
“The overall ambition of the interior was to inspire, stimulate ideas and create social conversation – encouraging guests to look around and be captivated by William Alexander’s bold personality. Curio’s brand voice is heavily imbedded into the aesthetic, creating an unforgettable hotel experience that distinguishes itself from others. I’m truly proud of the beautiful design results that we have achieved and feel that we have really created something that is spectacularly unique.”
Lisa Robertson, Associate Designer