The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences
A multimillion pound refurbishment of one of London’s most iconic hotels.
The Athenaeum Hotel is one London’s most iconic hotels. Its great history includes legendary associations with Hollywood, with former guests including Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Shirley Maclaine, John Wayne and Steven Spielberg.
The hotel asked us to transform its public spaces, from the lobby, lounge and first floor meeting areas to a spectacular new bar – ‘THE BAR at The Athenaeum’ – and an elegant, day-to-night restaurant offer – ‘Galvin at The Athenaeum’.
Our redesign has brought new layers of warm and subtle glamour to this family-run, five-star, thoroughly independent jewel in the heart of Mayfair. The Athenaeum is a hotel of individuals (the doorman, Jim, has his own blog!) and they have always done things differently. Our redesign celebrates this individuality and brings the hotel’s unique personality to the fore.
We developed the new ‘Stay Individual’ brand ethos based on the hotel’s strengths – its heritage, attitude and location. The brand is delightfully English (in all the right ways), and independently-owned, with an art deco spirit.
The new brand ethos, ‘Stay Individual’, is brought to life at every touch point and across all branding materials. The repositioning also led to the renaming of the hotel as The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences (formerly ‘& Apartments’) to stay true to the brand’s English heritage. It is also the reason why The Galvin Brothers are offering British classics on their restaurant menu for the first time.
We transformed the hotel's exterior with an impressive new entrance and a new, beautifully-detailed ground floor bronze façade. The aesthetic is ‘authentic deco’, featuring brass details referencing the modernist style of the original 1930s building.
Inside, we opened up the lobby in terms of light, space, circulation and visibility. The design is playful and geometric, but not overly symmetrical – referencing the hotel’s art deco roots but with a thoroughly contemporary sensibility. The materials palette is rich, understated, indulgent and luxurious, full of contrast and texture. We chose an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary British and European furniture, reflecting the hotel’s strong heritage. It’s mismatched with a curated eye.
We worked with both The Athenaeum and Galvin Brothers on the F&B spaces and opened up the restaurant, making it subtle and refined. The spectacular new bar is a sensual delight that really comes alive at night, featuring a deliciously dark, tactile palette and full-height windows backed by greenery. There’s a sense of being in a secret, subterranean destination – a million miles from the busy streets of London’s Piccadilly.
Wallpaper Magazine says “its sparkle has now been reignited” thanks to the redesign, while The Telegraph has asked, “is this London’s swankiest hotel makeover?”