St. Martins Lane Hotel, London, England ***

Q: What is it? A: London’s first hotel bearing the signature of M. Philippe Starck. Formerly packed with party-goers; these days more of just a good hotel in a superb location. And the lobby is still a dream!

A restaurant interior concept that has been copied countless times since 1999; the Asia de Cuba, designed by M. Philippe Starck.

A restaurant interior concept that has been copied countless times since 1999; the Asia de Cuba, designed by M. Philippe Starck.

A few years ago I used to go to London quite often…
I was then told about a hotel that soon would open and we would soon see the end of all other hotels. Late in 1999 this hotel opened its doors and yes, it quickly became the talk of the town, fat of the land, top of the pops… Everybody wanted in. And getting a reservation at the restaurant Asia de Cuba was something you could only dream about.

Since then, the temperature has gone down.
But still you can be happy if you manage to talk your way past the bouncer at the entrance to The Light Bar; a guy who traditionally has given priority to hotel guests and Kate Moss. Well in there, the experience have sometimes been crazy and sometimes downright boring. But the place invites you to some heavy drinking. So far I’ve managed to lose two cell phones while at The Light Bar. That’s a personal best.

Never underestimate a revolving door…
The hotel sticks to the Schrager/Starck formula with a first impression that lasts. Inside a yellow glass façade and what must be London’s highest revolving door the lobby will make people go ‘aaaah’. The mix of Arne Jacobsen, Starck’s plastic gnomes, Indonesian handcrafted chairs and man-sized pieces from a Chess game is still spectacular.

Rather spacious rooms with a funny button.
The 204 rooms are not tiny compartments like at the Hudson, nor do they offer you the space you get at the Sanderson. They are just about right. The wacky design is not to be found. But the window is dominating one of the room’s four walls from floor to ceiling. At the upper end of every bed there’s a round touch button. If you move your finger around it, the light will change colour. Blue turns green turns blue trough a polychromatic system, developed by light designer Arnold Chan. This means that every guest will add a colourful piece to the façade puzzle. Quite funny.

Stay here. Or drink here.
You don’t need to stay at the St. Martins Lane Hotel. The place is a pretty good stop if you want nothing more than a drink. But of course St Martins Lane would never be the same without the hotel guests. And if you want to make your mark in London, then book a dozen rooms for you and your friends. And just prior to bedtime you send out the tweet: Tonight’s color is red.

St. Martins Lane Hotel
45 St. Martins Lane London
England WC2N 4HX
United Kingdom

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