Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Special Preview: The 38th San Francisco Decorator Showcase

The prestigious San Francisco Decorator Showcase opens officially on Saturday April 25, at 3630 Jackson Street, Presidio Heights, San Francisco, after several evenings of opening celebrations.

The fantastically successful annual showcase, a benefit for University High School, has raised countless millions for this top school—and it is a tribute to San Francisco’s brilliant and generous design community that the event continues to be a highlight of the city’s design year.

Bravo to all the inspired interior designers and architects who are participating this year—and special applause for San Francisco’s talented decorative artists, craftspeople, painters, and many specialist professionals who donate their work so generously.

This week I’m highlighting the dining room, ‘Street Soirée’ designed by San Francisco designer, Cecilie Starin. I was particularly impressed with the design boards she presented—and she captured my attention when she noted that her original inspiration was a dining room by Orlando Diaz Azcuy. In particular, I’m excited to see commissioned wall painting by street artist Ian Ross, an important talent who has also created mural art for Google and Facebook and other leading tech companies. Come with me today to learn about the street art movement, and see newest art concepts.

San Francisco interior designer Cecilie Starin is a veteran (this is her fifth room) of the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase, a benefit for University High School. The event is now well into its fourth decade and is considered one of the most prestigious in the US. 

Cecilie’s dining room combines black and white graffiti-inspired street art walls, chic Louis XVI chairs, a dramatic chandelier, and a striped ceiling, illuminated by Julie Morgan’s beautiful natural light.

She dubbed her dining room ‘Street Soirée’ as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the spray-painted walls and the inspiration of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy's chic style.

See my conversation with Cecilie Starin below to learn about her ideas, her concept, her wit, and her inspiration. Dramatic ‘process' shots are at the end of the informative text.

In Conversation with Cecilie Starin

I recently sat down for a conversation with Cecilie Starin to discuss her inspiration, her ideas, her process and concepts. Come with me and listen in.

DDS: Cecilie, this is your fifth Showcase room. Congratulations. You said one of your inspirations was a glamorous showcase dining room designed by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy about twenty years ago.

Thank you. I am honored to be invited to participate in Showcase and excited to be working in a Julia Morgan designed house. I am a huge fan of Orlando’s work. His ability to pull away the non-essential and leave only the elements that convey his pure message is impressive.

The restrained color palette of black white plus grass green and gold drew me to Orlando’s dining room initially. I like to create juxtapositions and tension in my own work. 

DDS: Your initial presentation and final room reflect the chartreuse colors Orlando loves.

I wanted to keep the color palette very concise for the room. It is black white and acid green with a touch of gold. I saw the black and white street art mural as the update to the classic, shades of grey, grisaille mural in Orlando’s space.

Initial Design Presentation Board

Initial Design Presentation Board

Initial Design Presentation Board

DDS: The room has pretty light and excellent proportions.

The large south- facing French door with sidelights and ten-foot ceilings make the room feel light and airy. The room measures twenty-two feet x seventeen feet.

DDS: Street art. Graffiti. What was your concept? How did you find Ian Ross, the mural artist?

I would like to make the distinction between Street Art and Graffiti as defined by Ian Ross and others. Ian believes that Street Art is about beautification. Most of the Street Art in San Francisco is sanctioned and approved and often paid for by the building owners. It is regulated and protected by art commissions in the city. Ian is a Street Artist. He does not consider himself a graffiti artist. There is some crossover between the two areas however. There are many websites with information about street art. There is streetartsf.com, which pictures street art and makes it searchable by location and artist. 1amsf.com is a site and gallery. It sells spray paint to aspiring street muralists and give street art tours.

I have been intrigued by street art for many years. Jean-Michele Basquiat is one of my favorite painters. I had just seen the Keith Haring show at the De Young. What I see in the streets is so exciting to me because it is the return of illustration which died with the take-over of photography in the mid-70’s/early 80’s which is just about the time the Street Art movement began. This is all part of the Maker Movement.

As I was preparing my presentation boards, I was drawn to Ian Ross’s work because it was graphic, non-representational and organic in nature and I especially liked his black and white work.

For my Showcase dining room, I was taken by the idea of juxtaposing the contemporary Street Art with classical architecture. It is the idea of honoring the present and the past simultaneously.

DDS: I admire your selections of crafted pieces, local talent, artists and artisans.

I love the idea of combining the classical architecture and accessories like the Louis XV style mirrors and the Louis XVI style chairs with contemporary art (Ian’s Street Art Mural and Spray Can Sculptures) with natural and hand crafted pieces.

San Francisco has a long tradition of street murals and the city is decidedly supportive of the Street Art scene. Ian Ross is a noted Bay Area/international street muralist and is known for his murals at numerous tech companies including Facebook and Google and others. The mural in my room is typical of his organic swirling forms inspired by nature.

DDS: Today's best rooms mix vintage and new, and are enlivened by the juxtaposition of raw and refined, and crafted and artful.

That is exactly what I have tried to achieve in this space and in all my work.

DDS: What was the final effect you wanted? Mood?

This is a very formal house and I wanted to shake it up a bit. I wanted the mood to be exciting and new, maybe a bit uncomfortable, moody, yet glamorous. I wanted the viewer to experience the edge and grit of the Street Art Mural and Spray Can Sculpture against the alluring dark high-gloss charcoal walls, but to experience this in a space with elegant architecture, furniture and accessories.

DDS: Cecilie, Orlando's design was a fantastic inspiration. It was one of the most polished showcase rooms—and for reference, it is in my book on the designer, 'Orlando Diaz-Azcuy' published five years ago (Rizzoli).

Thanks to Ian Ross and thank you for a provocative room. I love it. Thank you.

Key Credits for Cecilie Starin’s Dining Room:

Mural and Spray Can Sculptures: Ian Ross and Rocha Gallery, SF, Contact: Daniel Rocha

Europa Sconces: By Sylvan from Coup d'Etat, SF, contact: Darin Geise

Root table: Groundwork Group, Pennsylvania

Trim painting: MB Jessie, Contact: Mat Jessie

Lucite benches: Jonathan Adler, San Francisco

Chandelier: NIDO Living, SF, contact, Daniel Killar

Mirrors: Aedicule, SF, contact, Peter Werkhoven

Ceiling: Elan Evans, Elan Evans Decorative Finishes, Sonoma

Centerpiece, fireplace plants: Living Green, SF

Plates, bowls: Lorna Newlin, Sausalito Pottery, Sausalito

Stemware, Flatware, Tabletop: Hudson Grace, San Francisco, contact: Monelle Totah

Sisal: Stark Carpet, San Francisco, contact, Annmarie Cusma, Scott Mills

Curtains: Fabrication: Susan Chastain Fine Sewing, SF

Curtain Fabric: Sloan Miyasato (Scalamandre and Andrew Martin), Contact: Avner Lapovsky, SF

Reeded shades: Conrad Shades, SF, Contact: Buck Irwin

Stone planters on Console Tables: Restoration Hardware

The 38th San Francisco Decorator Showcase: Designers and Talent—Everything You Need to Know

3630 Jackson was designed by famed architect Julia Morgan for Abraham Rosenberg and his wife Alice. Its original interior style mostly intact features a spacious reception hall with a dramatic grand balustrade staircase, gumwood paneling and beams, along with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms, a large, remodeled kitchen; and a wine room in the lower level. Beatiful California daylight glimmers throughout the house, reflecting Morgan’s art and craft of creating cohesive and well-lit interiors.

The following designers/design firms are transforming the 2015 Showcase:

Street Level

Facet: Katharine Webster, Inc.

Grand Entry & Staircase: Candace Barnes

Powder Room: Julie Rootes Interiors

Living Room: Phillip Silver Design

Kitchen, Family Room & Butler’s Pantry: Navarra Design

Salon de Thé: JUTE, Ali Davin

Street Soirée: Cecilie Starin Interior Design

An Ode to Innocence: Five Senses Art Consultancy and Neo-American Gardens

Second Level

The Genius of Julia Exposed: Butler Armsden

His Office Study: Authenticity B Designs

Master Bedroom & Entry: Wick Design, Will Wick

En Vogue Salon: Artistic Designs for Living

Her Dressing Room: Heather Hilliard Design

A Gentleman’s Private Lounge: ECHE

A Gentleman’s Bathroom: Evars + Anderson Interior Design

Second Floor Landing / Gallery: Catherine Clark Gallery

Third Level

Jeune et Sophistiqué: Weaver Design Group

Karter’s Krash Pad: Willem Racke Studio and Susan Chastain

Karter’s Bathroom: De Meza Architecture, Inc.

Twin’s Music & Play Room: Allison Caccoma, Inc.

Pent Room: Green Couch

Laundry Room: Evars + Anderson Interior Design

Lip Service: Nest Design Co.

Third Floor Landing: University High School Visual Arts Instructors

Lower Level

The “Stare Well” and Wine Cellar: Jane Richardson Mack

The Gallery: Lizette Marie Interior Design

Emergence, An Essence of Julia Morgan: Siol

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase will be open from Saturday, April 25 through Memorial Day, May 25. Open Tuesdays through Sundays and closed Mondays, except for Memorial Day. Hours are 10:00am – 3:00pm (last entry) on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Fridays, the home is open from 10:00am – 7:00pm (last entry); and on Sunday and Memorial Day from 11:00am – 4:00pm (last entry).

In addition, each Friday, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, Showcase will host “Friday Nights at Showcase,” a weekly happy hour event with wine and opportunities to meet designers and hear about the latest trends. Check www.DecoratorShowcase.org for additional information on designers and special Friday Night events.

Tickets are $35 for general admission and $30 for seniors (age 60 and over); and are available at the door and online at www.DecoratorShowcase.org. Group can be arranged in advance (415) 447-5830.

About the San Francisco Decorator Showcase
For the past 37 years, the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase has benefited the San Francisco University High School financial aid program, raising over $13 million and benefiting hundreds of students. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, the participation of hundreds of accomplished designers, the school's trustees, parents, faculty, alumni, students, friends, and the thousands of Showcase visitors each year, the San Francisco Decorator Showcase allows San Francisco University High School to offer financial aid to its students. 

The Great Julia Morgan

The showcase residence—which some interpret as Spanish Mission-inspired is a classic example of architect Julia Morgan’s residential work.

During her long career—Hearst Castle in California is a highlight—she leant an engineer’s skill with a creative stylistic and architectural eye. Her best buildings are always cohesive, elegant, informed and polished. Situated in Presidio Heights, the house is understated and quietly luxurious.

The Jackson Street residence was completed in 1917 for Abraham Rosenberg, the Dried Fruit King, and his wife Alice. The concrete structure is timbered with redwood and approached from a graceful side entrance. Originally two and half stories, now three, the 9,758 square foot residence sits on a 10,145 square foot lot, overlooking the forested and historic expanse of the Presidio and San Francisco Bay. The original construction cost of the house was $20,000.

A stepped brick path leads to an arched entrance with clustered stone pilasters that continue across the arch as ribbing. A second level L-shaped façade shelters the doorway, with an overhanging bay that wraps around the second story. The bay features latticed windows set behind paired Ionic pilasters and framed by arches that repeat the line of the doorway. The mullioned downstairs windows are framed in timber. A high-peaked, gabled roof faces the street, with a five-light, lead-latticed bay below it. A simple concrete arch over the driveway echoes the arch above the front entrance.

Process Shots Show the 'Before' of Cecilie's Dining Room

The process included painting all walls and ceiling, adding 'graffiti' and 'eliding' the cabinets:


Interior design:
Cecilie Starin

Cecilie Starin trained to be a fine art painter at the University of California at Davis under revered California artists Wayne Thiebaud, Bob Arneson, William Wiley, Roy De Forest and Manuel Neri. She received her BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where she studied graphic design and illustration. She attended the University of California at Berkeley Interior Design Program and focused her study on architecture and antiques.For nearly twenty years, Cecilie was a clothing designer for Smith & Hawken, Levi Strauss & Co. and The Lee Company where she led design teams that conceived and developed apparel, textiles, custom colors and fabric finishes. Cecilie’s work as a fashion designer took her to New York, Paris, London, Florence, Rome, Milan and to the Far East where she identified and analyzed emerging trends in design, shape and color. Cecilie brings her extensive training in fine arts, decorative arts and fashion design to each of her interior design projects.

Painting on canvas and applied to walls. Mural and Spray Can Sculptures: Ian Ross and Rocha Gallery, SF, Contact: Daniel Rocha. www.ianrossgallery.com

Cecilie Starin's dining room photographed and published exclusively on THE STYLE SALONISTE by David Duncan Livingston: www.davidduncanlivingston.com

David Duncan Livingston
Exterior of the showcase house: Clay Seibert for the watercolor sketch and Alissa Kinney Moe for the photos.

For more information:
San Francisco Decorator Showcase: 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Where to Stay Now in London: The Beaumont

Exciting Hotel News in London: The Beaumont, super-chic and ultra-elegant, has just opened in the heart of Mayfair.

I love the location—in the middle of everything I adore in London.

And I love the classic style and grace of this new hotel that was built in a classical Art Deco style in the twenties.

Come with me this week to learn all about The Beaumont—and to meet Jeremy King, the genius 
who dreamed up its concept, it’s spirit, it’s heart and soul.   He is the hotelier whose superb staff offers ultra-professional service, and a sense of privacy and discretion.

I sat down recently for an exclusive chat, published here just for my fantastic STYLE SALONISTE readers. Jeremy King is the striking man who brought us some of London's best and most stylish restaurants...The Delaunay, for example.

Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, famed restaurateurs of The Wolseley and the Ivy and The Delaunay fame, sited The Beaumont in an elegant and tranquil corner of Mayfair. It’s my new favorite in London—just 78 rooms, and very discreet and stylish with lots of old-school stately English glamour and verve.

Springtime in London: It is time to check in to The Beaumont and learn why it’s the new place to stay in London, and the perfect refuge after long-distance travel.

Smart Londoners in the art and design and creative worlds, I hear, are even checking in for a mini-break, hiding away at The Beaumont for a weekend of secret pleasures.

The Beaumont is situated in Brown Hart Gardens, a few steps from Claridge’s, leading art galleries, and all the delights of historic Mayfair mews and street strolling. It has just fifty rooms, thirteen studios, and ten luxurious suites. 

Why I Love the Beaumont

The surprise and delight of The Beaumont is that its elegant, refined exterior suggests it has been standing overlooking Brown Hart Gardens since perhaps the twenties, and was recently refreshed.

The steel and oak Antony Gormley sculpture—public art at its best—suggests, however, that the building is recent. Gormley, one of the greatest contemporary British sculptors, created a dramatic abstract seated figure high up on the building façade. It looks like ‘The Thinker’ or perhaps an Android or cuboid about to leap. The interior of this ROOM is also a room…accessed from a suite. Guests can spend time within the sculpture.

In Conversation with Jeremy King

I recently caught up with The Beaumont hotelier Jeremy King. After spilling the beans on his secret desire for a hotel, he gave me insider recommendations and observations on his favorites hotels around the world, and the delicious and compelling backstory of The Beaumont.

He’s been a successful restaurateur for over thirty years, with Chris Corbin at Corbin+King. The partners were recently honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth with OBE medals (Order of the British Empire) for their services to the hospitality industry and voluntary service to the arts and medical research.

Jeremy, charming yet taciturn, seldom courts the limelight. I learned later that Jeremy has not given an interview in thirty years. True.
The exception: a witty ‘lunch’ with his good friend the writer (and Lucian Freud daughter) Susie Boyt, published September 2014 in the Financial Times. To Boyt, Jeremy King said, “I love hotels. They are exaggerated versions of restaurants; I think they are incredibly sexy, and I enjoy being in hotels by myself.”

Come with me for an exclusive chat with Jeremy King: We spoke of its origins, his plans, and 'what makes a great hotel'.  I admire his directness, his personal beliefs about how to take care of guests.

DDS: You said you had been thinking about opening a hotel for some time—and had even first thought of the Wolseley site.
The search for a hotel began soon after we sold our first restaurants in 2000 (Le Caprice, The Ivy & J.Sheekey’s) but every time we closed in on an acquisition we were gazumped (British word for being outbid after a deal agreed) by chequebook wielding conglomerates. The Wolseley space was offered to us in 2003 (at the time a rather strange Chinese restaurant) and we decided to return to our roots whilst the search for a hotel continued… many think that The Wolseley is a hotel and we did investigate the possibility of converting the apartments but just wouldn’t work it out.

DDS: What was it about 'opening a hotel' that appealed to you? 
JK: It seemed a natural extension to what we were doing with the restaurants and an opportunity to broaden our particular form of hospitality. I had always been beguiled and fascinated by hotels as being glamorous, mysterious and sexy.

DDS: Which are your four favorite hotels that you return to year after year?
This is indubitably difficult because the list changes and sadly some of my old favorites have been subsumed by international groups and have changed remarkably. There are many that I adore but don’t regularly patronize, but ‘golden’ favorites have been La Gazelle d’Or in Morocco and La Colombe d’Or in Southern France. Neither will answer a request for great luxury but they have wonderful heart and history. Another recent favorite has been the Villa San Michele overlooking Florence. I also like hotels to capture the spirit of their city or location and that’s why I will never be separated from The Sunset Tower when in LA – to have that history, view, terrace and of course The Tower Bar restaurant with the inimitable Dimitri Dimitrov presiding over some of LA’s most interesting people, make it the essential venue when visiting California.

DDS: The Beaumont: How long in the planning and creating?
Actually six… it was 2008 that we persuaded Grosvenor that we were the best candidate to take the site and of course within months the markets had crashed and money receded. But at least it gave us time to think about what we would do with it.

DDS: You wanted Mayfair.
Yes, although we did consider other areas Mayfair was our prime target for our first hotel. We are always somewhat innovative but within a classic and traditional mode and Mayfair is the home of a large proportion of London’s classic hotels. It is the perfect location for any visitor whether business or leisure. It’s a ‘neighborhood’ with character and authentic life. People live there. One-of-a-kind boutiques and services are all around. 

DDS: The Beaumont now looks as if it has been standing there since the twenties, refreshed and renewed. In fact, it is a brilliant new hotel—for which you dreamed up a storyline.
I have to be careful here because I could talk for hours on this subject! The big question on having acquired the lease was what sort of hotel would we build? Originally built in 1926 as a Garage and Car Park, servicing Selfridges in the golden age of motoring, I had to decide what form the hotel would take as I didn’t want it to join the ranks of some of the recently built or refurbished hotels which somewhat lack character and feel somewhat homogenized.

Heart and soul are essential ingredients for any restaurant or hotel. The building needed history and it was out of this that I dreamed up the fictional James Beaumont. James (Jimmy) Beaumont was born in Michigan circa 1885 and after college at Yale he entered the hospitality profession and moved to New York. Come the early 20’s and after his rise to GM at one of new York’s grand hotels he was to be found lamenting to two wealthy clients how miserable the life of a Hotelier was during Prohibition and was contemplating a move. They persuaded him not to turn his back and instead ply his trade outside the USA and what emerged was that he had enjoyed his time as an attaché to the American Embassy in London after the Great War and the plan was hatched that the clients would ‘bankroll’ him in the opening of a hotel with American sensibilities in the enclave that had developed around the Embassy. From thereon I immediately knew what the hotel would look like – from the arrival in the porte-cochère through the revolving door into the art-deco lobby where through the double doors a guest would enter the American Bar (known as Jimmy’s) and on again sweep into The Colony Grill Room that would evoke memories of both East & West Coast grill rooms such as Stork, ‘21’ and indeed the influential Colony of New York.

In writing the subsequent ‘history’ I had him hosting the American ex-pat society up till his retirement in 1950 and all the characters he would have known from both sides of the Atlantic are featured in the 300 or so period photographs in the bar and the caricatures of The Colony. After Jimmy’s ‘retirement I imagined The Beaumont being taken over temporarily by a hotel group before becoming a hostel for the US Government until they vacated in 2011 and we discovered this dilapidated Art-Deco jewel and restored it to the former glory with all the advantages of early 21st technology. Of course the truth is that we demolished the old building behind the facade and built what you see today.

DDS: Well, The Beaumont and the large-scale Antony Gormley art is a gift to the city. I hear there is a hidden bar only open to guests? What secrets can you whisper?
Well of course your question elicits a dilemma as the hotelier or restaurateur’s essential ‘stock in trade’ is integrity and discretion! But I love you saying that The Beaumont and the Gormley sculpture being a gift to the city - and I hope also to travellers from the US too.

I can confess that my love affair with America endures (exemplified in my American wife!) I have secretly been cultivating that relationship and was delighted when someone told me that “you have created a West Coast Entertainment Industry unofficial clubhouse in London”. I like that very much.

As regards the bar I was struck by how often I had visitors to London lamenting that they often couldn’t use their own hotel bar because of non-resident’s patronage, which persuaded me to turn a designated private dining room into a ‘Residents’ Bar’ (The Cub Room - so named after Sherman Billingsley’s extension to The Stork Club so that he could drink and play Gin Rummy quietly with his friends – you might remember that much of ‘All about Eve’ was set there?)

The Cub Room

DDS: My dream is to arrive in a hotel room—and my favorite papers (The Financial Times, the New York Times) are already on my desk. And the tech set-up is perfection—but discreet and reliable. In the mini-bar, the chocolates and candy and nuts and chips are removed. And instead there is a special selection of loose-leaf Assam teas, fresh milk in the refrigerator, and there's an electric kettle and a teapot, and everything is there to instantly make a fresh cup of tea on arrival.
That’s a cinch for The Beaumont. In this day and age of technology any preferences such as this should easily be accommodated – once established. I remember that pre-computers Claridges had two rooms and permanent staff dedicated to a filing system in order to check on past ‘customer histories’. However what I have been impressed by is how our Reception staff ingeniously, whenever possible, often discover through their contacts guest preferences in advance which never fails to delight an arrivée.

The secret for me though is to know what the guest requires but not being intrusive. I shudder at the gratuitous questions I have been asked in hotels that I don’t want to answer and often the ‘asker’ is not really interested in the answer. Luxury is when it ‘just happens’ – without fanfare or expected recognition of it. Assam tea, everything you like—for us, it’s natural.

DDS: Mayfair is a lovely quiet and private corner of London. The Beaumont is ultra-private and yet wonderfully congenial if you're meeting friends for dinner or celebrating a special occasion, or planning a weekend escape. You're all set to welcome LA film industry leaders in town for business, or a chic San Francisco couple on a honeymoon, or a Santa Barbara artist in town for Frieze.
The secret to a great hotel or restaurant is that it can accommodate the needs of a wide-ranging constituency and whether young or old, traditional or avant-garde, affluent or aspiring, that the guests feels they belong. Gratifying for us is the number of UK residents who use the hotel – including Londoners. We love to greet guests from near and far. 

DDS: I'll be back in London as soon as the weather warms up—and the blossoms and roses are blooming in Green Park, and the lilacs are scenting Belgrave Square. My favorite season in London.
One advantage Europe has over much of the world is those changing seasons and all they entail - whether in the weather, the foods, the blooms or indeed social events. We celebrate the seasons at The Beaumont, menus change, seasons and festive times are enjoyed.

DDS: Thank you, Jeremy. Congratulations and I wish you continued great success.

Jeremy King painted by Lucian Freud, who was a longtime patron of The Wolseley and other Corbin+King restaurants.

The Interiors

The interior design takes its cue from the building, in this case, a Grade II Listed building by Wimperis & Simpson in a ‘stripped neo-classical style with quirky, exaggerated neo-classical mannerisms’, which was featured in the 1927 RIBA Exhibition of Modern Architecture.

The interiors of the hotel appear to have been restored to their former glory, retaining echoes from the different decades of The Beaumont’s life. They reflect a more European Art Deco aesthetic but with distinct, occasional references to North America.

In some respects, in common with the Grand Hotel tradition, The Beaumont has been conceived with the food & beverage areas (The Colony Grill Room and the American Bar) integral to the building (much more so than in most hotels). Aimed at the local community, they atypically form the hub of the hotel. 

The bedrooms and suites have been given a restrained and refined Art Deco treatment, with of- the-period rosewoods used for the high-gloss, lacquered wardrobes and the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that shut the rooms off from the generous entrance halls and bathrooms.

All the rooms feature wood headboards; bronze mirroring; shagreen detailing on the large desk and bedside table fronts; mohair velvet chairs; bronze Art Deco door and wardrobe handles; bespoke, neutral wool carpets based on geometric period patterns; coffered ceilings; large casement windows with generous, pale silk curtains, to create a comfortable, streamlined look. Original paintings and photographs of the period have been sourced for all the bedrooms. 

When in London: Fine and Fun Dining at Corbin+King Restaurants

The 100-seater Colony Grill Room is quite classical in style, taking its lead from the traditional Grill Rooms originally found both in London and New York. The menu features, as well as grills, appropriately classic dishes from both sides of the Atlantic – whether a Caesar salad, grouse with all the trimmings or The Colony’s ‘do-it-yourself’ ice-cream sundae.

Nathaniel Newnham-Davies captures the spirit in his 1914 ‘Gourmet Guide to London’:

“The modern Grill Room we owe, I think, to the Americans for the travelling American [...] has his own very sensible ideas as to what comfort is […].

The grill-room gives him an excellent dinner, just as long or short as he likes, served quickly, in luxurious surroundings, and he can dress as he likes, to eat it.”

Open 7am to midnight, seven days a week.

“The Beaumont is sheer British heaven.”— Los Angeles hotelier, Jeff Klein, one of the first guests to check in.

Cuisine at The Beaumont 
Highlights from the menu, classic things that are always on the menu:

New York Shrimp Cocktail (starter)

The Colony Club Salad

American Sandwiches (including New York Hot Dog and The Colony Hamburger)

Veal Pojarski

Rib-Eye Steak

Chicken Pot Pie

Ice cream sundaes (very popular)

Breakfast on the menu
The English (full English breakfast - eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushroom and black pudding)

Portobello Mushroom and Spinach Hash

A selection of Viennoiserie including cinnamon buns, croissant au beurre, double chocolate brioche.

At the Bar: Special Drinks and Cocktails
The American Bar is naturally an ‘American Bar’ style prevalent in London and Paris in the 20s and 30s.

Specializing in Bourbons and American Whiskies, nothing new-fangled! Hemingway and Fitzgerald would have felt at home.

Cocktails include ‘The Beaumont,’ a Champagne cocktail of gin, dry sherry, elderflower, pineapple and lemon juices, sugar, Champagne. The Beaumont specializes in the classics from that era—Martini, Manhattan, Negroni.

Special Services and Features

The Beaumont offers a courtesy car, a vintage Daimler to take guests anywhere within a mile of the hotel, on a complimentary basis (subject to availability of course!)

The Presidential Suite on the top floor (fifth floor) can be opened up to include up to five bedrooms, incorporating the entire floor in total privacy. It also features a large terrace overlooking Brown Hart Gardens with uninterrupted views across the city. Some of the rooms also have terraces.

The hotel is a stone’s throw from London institution Selfridges on Oxford Street, as well as the world-renowned Mount Street, which features an array of international fashion and accessories brands including Roksanda Ilincic, Goyard and Céline as well as restaurants and art galleries.

Close-by Duke Street is now a prime retail destination, and Brown Hart Gardens, which sits at the front of The Beaumont Hotel has recently been refurbished by Grosvenor. It also plays host to a monthly Mayfair Market (a monthly food market.)

Grosvenor Square is a few steps from The Beaumont, as well as Berkeley Square, and Hyde Park is not far away.

Ken Fulk's New Favorite Hotel in London

I sat down recently for a chat with international interior designer, Ken Fulk, about his recent stay at The Beaumont.

Ken, based in San Francisco and New York, travels constantly—Paris, Los Angeles, Provence, New Orleans, Miami, and top style spots—and spends a lot of time in hotels.

I asked Ken for his impressions of The Beaumont after his March visit.

Ken told me:

“The Beaumont is a Deco jewel. It's as if you stepped into another bygone era of glamour. You might expect to see F. Scott and Zelda canoodling in a corner at the guest only bar

“On arrival I was greeted by name by the numerous courteous staff - it seemed as if there were three of them for every guest. Without delay I was escorted to my large suite complete with a rosewood outfitted dressing room, a terrace as large as the suite, and a bath swathed in beautiful marble with a large soaking tub and a separate shower that could accommodate four (I was tempted…).

“That evening I was a guest of the proprietors Jeremy and Lauren King for dinner at The Colony, the oh so very swank restaurant in the hotel. We first met in the private bar (for guests only) just off the lobby. Guests included my dear friend Denise Hale, David Downton the renowned fashion illustrator, artist Matt Colishaw and Polly Morgan who is an accomplished artist in her own right with works often featuring taxidermy which she practices herself. Television producer Sebastian Scott and his handsome partner the designer Peter Mikic joined us.

“All of the swell set of London seemed to be on display in the restaurant. Power booths lined the back wall. Charles Saatchi at one table holding court. Kate Moss shimmied by. Jeremy of course was the consummate host. The menu featured all the classics, but with modern twists.

“Early I headed to The Battersea Antiques Fair. To assure I arrived in style I was given use of the hotel car. In true Beaumont fashion this was not just any car, but the Queen Mum's Daimler limousine. A real head turner with a handsome chauffeur to match. Naturally the idea of negotiating any bargains on antiques went out the window so to speak when I arrived in a vintage silver limo complete with driver!

“The Beaumont: I spent my last evening in the room enjoying the bountiful amenities and the delicious room service. True DECOdence!”

Thank you, Ken. 

The Beaumont
Brown Hart Gardens
London W1K 6TF


DÉCOR: The interior design of The Beaumont has been realized by Fiona Thompson and John Lewis of Richmond International, in close collaboration with Jeremy King. Many of the antiques and decorative pieces were sourced by Lauren Gurvich.

ARCHITECTURE: The hotel has been designed by Reardon Smith Architects.

ANTONY GORMLEY: Gormley's work has been widely exhibited throughout the UK and internationally. His many successful projects include the Angel of the North (1995-1998) and One & Other (2009) for the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1994, and was knighted in the New Year's Honors list in 2014.

All images here courtesy Corbin+King, The Beaumont, used with express permission. Photography by Nick Ingram.