I had a chance to tour one of London’s newest hip designer hotels, the 5 star ME London, as part of the Meet the Blogger Conference a couple of months ago.
photo: ME London
The hotel was designed in its entirety by Foster + Partners (of Lord Norman Foster fame) and is sleek and beautiful. This practice is unusual in the first instance. Usually, the interior design is handed over to designers and not left with the architects. You can easily tell the interior was done by people with an architectural background – it’s all geometric lines and hard surfaces. The hotel itself is on a triangular site which lends itself to angular design. There is lots of gleaming metal everywhere, such as in the large rods separating spaces in the restaurant. It’s all very dark and moody with giant groups of flowers everywhere as a softening effect.
The hotel is located in a fairly convenient location (the Strand) near the City and Covent Garden. Next door is the Marconi building, the former home of the BBC from which they first broadcast radio in 1922. You are reminded of this history with the Marconi Lounge located near the entry to the hotel. The ME design is very inward looking — all the focal points are inward. For example, the hotel check-in is on the first floor in a large pyramid-shaped room with no windows except a great rooftop light soaring high above.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland because the designers have played with scale. The seating area comprises of a long organic-shaped couch and a giant stone book. Very Alice.
There is little natural daylight in the corridors and rooms. Granted London doesn’t have much sunshine, and the idea must’ve been to try and embellish on that theme. In addition, the interior hallways are decorated with dark materials which leads to an intimate, cocooned feel. Brilliant for nighttime, but I expect for me an extended stay at this hotel would lead to seasonal affective disorder. If it weren’t for the stunning rooftop view of London, you would be hard pressed to say which city you were staying in.
The rooms are likewise sleek and modern with a monochrome colour scheme. The windows in the rooms are a triangular projection onto the street. It’s a bit disorienting to stand on them because you feel you are hanging over the street below.
There is a 2 story penthouse as well which sadly I didn’t get to see. The penthouse sounds spectacular with 360 degree views of London from a glass cupola which is the living room space. The closest I came was the Radio Rooftop Bar which also has amazing views over London. The Bar terrace has lounge seating and seems perfect for a drink on a balmy summer night.
For you pet lovers, dogs are allowed to stay in the rooms and a range of doggie treats are available in the mini bar.
Overall I thought the hotel was cool. I couldn’t stay there very long though without feeling claustrophobic. I’m just not a clubber at heart. Also, I like hotels with big windows because I actually think city life is beautiful in its own right, especially at night.
What do you think? Do you think hotels should emulate clubs?
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