In “Jolly Ol’ London,” there are an endless number of hotels to pick from when coming to town. From historic inns and lodgings that transport you back in time to modern behemoths filled with state-of-the-art luxuries, London has it all. One five-star hotel in particular, in the heart of the Mayfair neighborhood in London, does an excellent job of combining the two.
With a whimsical play on American history and all the modern conveniences of the 2020’s, The Beaumont Mayfair is the place to be in London. And while visiting, guests have the chance to stay inside of a 3-story sculpture created by Turner award-winner Antony Gormley. CELEB takes a look inside ROOM and the Beaumont.
When approaching the Beaumont, it’s impossible to miss the stunning, 3-story sculpture perched above an entrance near the main doors. Known as ROOM by Antony Gormley, the sculpture is a bold modern contrast to the classic architecture of both the Beaumont and the Wayfair neighborhood.
Once you pass in through the doors of the semi-abstract sculpture, the living room looks elegant but relatively normal. With rich, dark wood floors and a cream-and-yellow palette, it looks like the kind of living space you’d write a great American novel in. But across the living area, a set of stairs leads up to something entirely extraordinary.
The bedroom in the ROOM suite is an artful masterpiece of a sensory oasis. Dark, almost cave-like, the room is encased in intentionally placed dark wooden panels. The all-white bed is a simple stark contrast to the dark and mysterious walls, floor, and ceiling. Backlighting provides illumination along the walls, and behind the headboard is a recessed alcove with a drip-light sculpture to provide light without an obvious source. It feels like a complete step out of time with the rest of the historic-minded hotel, but it provides a sensory oasis from the hustle and bustle of a busy city.
ROOM embraces the philosophy of artist Gormley, which is that art helps us relate to our place in the cosmos and the universe as a whole. Gormley’s website describes his philosophy; “His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.”
Although ROOM has all of the elegance, comfort, and amenities of the larger Beaumont, it’s certainly a one-of-a-kind destination that will lift you out of your daily routine for a time.
Perhaps, though, you’re looking for something with a bit more history. The Beaumont offers 50 rooms and 22 suites and studios, with a style that is both grand and intimate. Situated at the heart of the historic Mayfair district in London, Beaumont recalls the elegance and timeless class of the American 1920’s, with touches of design throughout to evoke the Roaring ’20’s.
The hotel first opened in 2014 in what was opened in 1926 to be an elaborate garage and car space. Over the years, it played home to a variety of car-related businesses before being bought by hospitality duo Corben & King and turned into the Beaumont in the mid-2010’s. In 2018, the hotel’s freeholder Grosvener Estate sold its lease to the Barclay Brothers, and the hotel underwent a renovation in 2021 which means that every corner of the property is state-of-the-art and ready to delight.
Rooms and suites range from the relatively simple – if anything in a 5-star hotel can be considered simple – all the way up to the grand Roosevelt Suite. The Roosevelt can be used as a 1-bedroom or opened up to 5-bedrooms that comprise the entire fifth floor of the hotel. The room is a combination of light creams and elegant gold-tones, and dark wood to give it a weighty feel that isn’t too imposing. Cream walls with defined panels make it feel like a sitting room taken from a rich country estate, but with convenience and comfort abounding.
Dining at the Beaumont is truly a delight, so even though you’re in the heart of the best cuisine destinations London has to offer, you won’t even want to leave the property. Options for dining include the Colony Grill, Le Margritte Bar & Terrace, or The Gatsby Room – the perfect place for a light afternoon tea.
The hotel’s entire premise revolves around a fictional character – James Beaumont – a frustrated American hotelier who fled Manhattan’s prohibition-era restrictions to open the Beaumont. While there is no Jimmy, it’s a fun origin story for a hotel that manages 5-star elegance, comfort and class – but doesn’t take itself too seriously. To plan and book your stay, visit the Beaumont’s website.
The sculptor who dreamed up ROOM is a Turner award winner with a breathtaking grasp on the human place in the universe. Gormley is celebrated the world over for his ability to relate the relationship between the human body and the space we occupy.
Perhaps one of his best-known pieces is titled Angel of the North, a once-controversial contemporary sculpture in England. Angel gazes out over the land in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, its semi-abstract arms spread wide – whether to embrace the land or take flight is up to viewer’s interpretation. 71-year-old Gormley’s sculpture was once considered controversial, and locals fought against its installation. Now, however, it is often referred to as the Statue of Liberty of Gateshead, and people have come to fondly embrace the out-of-place-and-time and yet perfectly placed sculpture.
Of the Angel‘s creation, Gormley said per the Gateshead government site, “‘People are always asking, why an angel? The only response I can give is that no-one has ever seen one and we need to keep imagining them. The angel has three functions – firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years, secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age, and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears – a sculpture is an evolving thing.’
Gormley said of the Angel: ‘The hilltop site is important and has the feeling of being a megalithic mound. When you think of the mining that was done underneath the site, there is a poetic resonance. Men worked beneath the surface in the dark. Now in the light, there is a celebration of this industry. The face will not have individual features. The effect of the piece is in the alertness, the awareness of space and the gesture of the wings – they are not flat, they’re about 3.5 degrees forward and give a sense of embrace. The most important thing is that this is a collaborative venture. We are evolving a collective work from the firms of the North East and the best engineers in the world.'”
Gormley’s touch brought to life in Beaumont makes it a singular and unique destination in the heart of London. For guests with a love for all things classic that also need the soul-enrichment of contemporary art, Beaumont is the place to stay.