Travel: The Beaumont, London

The unmistakable exterior of The Beaumont features a self-portrait sculpture, ROOM, by artist Antony Gormley.
The unmistakable exterior of The Beaumont features a self-portrait sculpture, ROOM, by artist Antony Gormley.
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Do Not Disturb – Scotland On Sunday

The older I get, the fonder I become of London’s Mayfair and its quiet, old-school sophistication. The Beaumont is a relative newcomer to its hotel scene, having opened in 2014, but it feels like a longstanding presence, housed in a 1920s art deco building and maintaining the style of that era inside.

It also marks the debut in the hotel industry of the restaurateurs behind London institutions such as The Wolseley and The Delaunay. Tucked away on a garden square, its unmistakable exterior features a cubic, crouching, self-portrait sculpture, ROOM, by artist Antony Gormley, that spans three storeys and forms the bedroom of a prestigious suite – in which I am staying.

The Beaumont occupies 1920s art deco building in Mayfair and maintains the style of that era inside.

The Beaumont occupies 1920s art deco building in Mayfair and maintains the style of that era inside.

Room service

There is something almost theatrical about entering the suite, with a small corridor leading to a stunning living area. Decorated in cream, offset with browns and greys, it houses a sofa facing a coffee table covered in glossy magazines, while there is a small collection of books under a flatscreen TV. Additionally, there is a desk, and a cabinet with more books and topped with bottles of water, a coffee machine and chocolates. The overall impression is James Bond’s living room.

The living area leads to the vast bathroom, including a bath with TV embedded in the surrounding white marble. The bedroom, accessed up marble stairs and through heavy curtains, has a quiet but immediate presence, magnified by the fact that it is home to only a bed clad in white. Once my eyes adjust to the low lighting, I look up and see the cavernous interior – the hollow inside of the sculpture visible outside – stretching up above in oak panelling.

Gormley aimed to allow the guest to “enter a different state of consciousness, to enjoy at the very least a meditative pause, and the chance to withdraw, for a while, from the busy world outside”. That has certainly been achieved, and although there are different levels of strategically located lighting, you can plunge the space into total darkness. There is something slightly unnerving about the room’s almost tomb-like atmosphere that would not be for all tastes, but I welcome its distraction-free sanctuary, my only concern that I won’t stir in time for my early flight the following morning.

Budget or boutique?

Most certainly boutique, with a night in ROOM north of £1,000. But how often can you bed down in an artwork? There are smaller and more conventional rooms for those on more modest budgets.

Wining and dining

I eat dinner in the Colony Grill Room and feel like I’ve crossed the Atlantic and gone back to the 1920s, in the room decorated with cartoons of personalities of the day, murals and dark red leather upholstery. While I’m tempted by American classics such as buttermilk fried chicken, I can’t resist the Carlingford Lough Rock Oysters.

Had I a sweeter tooth, I would have had the Colony Room bespoke sundae, custom-made with your preferred flavours, toppings, and sauces. There is also the American Bar, specialising in bourbons and American whiskies. The Beaumont’s “help yourself” morning coffee, tea, orange juice, homemade Viennoiseries and preserves is served in the Cub Room each morning.

Worth getting out of bed for

Oxford Street is a stone’s throw away, while Hyde Park is a few blocks to the west. Guests also have the considerable perk of complimentary access to the hotel’s vintage Daimler for drop-offs within Mayfair. While I am heading to Gatwick in less elegant style, it is a straightforward journey nonetheless.

Little extras

Guests have exclusive access to the Cub Room, a cosy space where you can have breakfast, read the paper and later have a drink.

Guestbook comments

Elegance, comfort and an artwork that keeps me contemplating its meaning long after I check out, all in a prime location.

Prices for a classic room start at £395 per night, including breakfast of coffee and pastries in The Cub Room, priority booking at The Colony Grill Room and bill-signing facility at any of the Corbin & King restaurants in London during your stay. The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, London W1K 6TF (