Design tour of the Baglioni London.

by Andrea on July 17, 2012

From the outside, the Baglioni is a typical Kensington mansion; white stucco ground floor, red brick above, graceful and elegant and unexceptional, just across the road from Hyde Park.

Inside, though, you’re instantly aware that this is something a bit different.

The reception’s gleaming black glass chandeliers are unusual, there’s a huge eighteenth century painting that might be a Canaletto of Venice (but isn’t) and there’s a cascading water feature and echoing stone pavement.  You’re in a drama apparently, not a hotel!

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That same flamboyance is carried through in the rest of the hotel – Italian style, as practised in Milan or in the dolce vita of Rome, is inherently theatrical.  There’s a lot of black and a lot of gold, and some wonderfully rich colours, as well as lots of space and a definite feeling of being on show.  It’s a world away from the shabby-genteel we Brits do so well.

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I adore the wonderfully rich colours of the hotel’s rooms – red, purple and orange, with golden vases full of gilded twigs; or red and gold striped upholstery.  It’s a world away from the light colours of the Haymarket for example – with the brightness always undercut by black accents (like those black chandeliers) or the black and white geometrical prints found in many of the hotel’s suites (currently subject to a suites special offer).

That gives the décor a sense of gravitas and masculinity, as does the rich patina of the gold – also dominant in the Royal Suite, the most extravagant of the hotel’s London luxury suites.  This is an old-money world – colours are either richly saturated or gently faded, giving a feel of ancient wealth, as if you’ve stepped into a villa untouched since the time of Hadrian.

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The Baglioni pays great attention to detail.  A single large picture will be juxtaposed with three smaller pictures, hung asymmetrically, to offset it.  A room with red and gold stripes will have a single piece of flower-patterned tapestry or brocade in those colours to focus it.  Throughout, there’s a sense of the bold gesture – no fussiness in the detail.

Where there are carpets, they’re as likely to run up the walls as across the floor.  Other rooms have shiny dark wood floors – again darkening the palette, in contrast to the Scandinavian beechwood or stripped pine aesthetic.  You’ll see what I mean through our Baglioni London Flickr set.

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And there are stripes, stripes, stripes everywhere.  Lots of colour but no fiddly patterns – just big bold stripes and the very occasional pinstripe just to set it off.

I sometimes stay in five star hotels where you wonder just what your several hundred pounds a night was spent on.  At the Baglioni, you don’t have to wonder.  The décor tells you – it’s a palace.

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Photo credits: Baglioni Hotel.

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