How do you turn an outdated brutalist council building unfondly nicknamed ‘The Egg Box’ into an ultra-hip hotel? Book designer Shawn Hausman, who has reimagined the former Camden Town Hall Annexe as a ’70s futurist fever dream (fans of JG Ballard’s ‘High Rise’ will feel right at home here). The ground-floor lounge is a surreal recreation of a public library, packed with pot plants and sofas. Psychedelic opulence gives way to Scandi mid-mod in the bedrooms. And if you don’t like brutalism, book a room with a balcony bathtub from which to admire the Victorian grandeur of George Gilbert Scott’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Ah, the glamour of travel. ‘Priority boarding’ queues, sad sarnies and hand-luggage Nazis – it surely doesn’t come from flying anymore. Fortunately, London’s best design hotels have stepped up to the mark. As we tire of cookie-cutter guest rooms (often pre-fabricated, natch), no self-respecting newcomer to the scene opens without the services of a designer or two to bring some style and individuality to your stay. It’s no longer enough to deploy a Le Corbusier copy or a glass wall or two: for real designer bang, look for innovative new-builds, refurbs of historic buildings, artsy goings-on and digs in private members’ clubs. The shock of the new is (mainly) out; a more subtle interplay with the past is the designer order of the day, with a pleasingly luxe, louche vibe. Let our list of the best design hotels in London help you sort the chic from the sheep.
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