Like a canny theatre company polishing its latest production in the ‘burbs rather than the West End stage, Artist Residence began life not in London, but in Brighton. It clearly honed its strengths at the seaside, if Pimlico is anything to go by. Set above a welcoming all-day restaurant are ten rooms that are a study in laid-back chic, each one showcasing work by different artists but all sporting free Wi-Fi, Roberts radios, TVs and all-too-tempting mini-bars (besides alcohol, sweet treats such as Rococo jelly babies and scorched almonds are typical). Rooms vary in size and are priced accordingly: some have standalone baths, most have en suite rain showers; complimentary toiletries are by English firm Bramley. Furniture is an engaging mix of old and new; exposed brickwork, jewel-coloured furnishings and electrical goods, tweed cushions, and gleaming white tiles all feature in the decor. So far, so good, but man and woman cannot live on Serious Pig snacking salami alone.
Downstairs, the Cambridge Street Café proves to be just as popular with locals as it is with guests. The modern European dishes are worth ordering, there are generous roasts on Sunday, and the cooked breakfast (not included in the room rate) is a corker. In the basement is moodily decorated basement bar the Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, a ping pong room and a guest lounge. The casually attired staff are all smiles, and this relaxed attitude permeates the hotel.
Nearby Victoria’s transport hub offers easy access to almost everywhere in London, but Tate Britain, Buckingham Palace and the King’s Road are within walking distance from the Artist Residence. And dining options are tip-top too, from Jason Atherton’s Hai Cenato (an all-day Italian in the huge Nova Victoria development) to long-established favourites such as Hunan Chinese restaurant. And perhaps best of all, it’s on one of the quietest streets in Pimlico, so noise is not an issue. With outposts in Penzance, and South Leigh in the Oxfordshire countryside, this is one production that could run and run.