Great Scotland Yard Hotel — London, UK
Once the royal residence for visiting Kings of Scotland during the Tudor period, but better known as the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police force, the stately Grade II-listed Great Scotland Yard building in London’s Westminster has now been given a new lease on life as a soigné hotel.
Architecture firm HBA International tastefully nods to the building’s notorious past with quiet, playful visual references such as a deconstructed Lewis Carroll-inspired clock hanging above the entrance, custom-made carpets inspired by police badges, sniffer-dog handles in the elevators, and a series of key-inspired details from the bathroom hooks to the minibar handles.
Upstairs, the 152 guestrooms are enticing cocoons with pleasing textures, plush, bespoke furniture in classic champagne and duck egg tones, and a selection of artwork that also nods to the building’s history.
The artwork, in fact, has been curated by consultant Sarah Percy-Davis, who pulled together more than 600 specially commissioned pieces, including a collection by prisoners who are part of the Koestler Arts rehabilitation programme, which can be found in the lobby, and a dramatic ’shattered’ glass chandelier in The 40 Elephants bar, which is named after the 19th-century all-female shoplifting gang, best-known for their smash-and-grab antics.
The bar itself is the best spot for a preprandial cocktail, followed by a bite to eat at The Yard. Here, chef Robin Gill - of the Dairy in Clapham - sends out modern British dishes, with a strong focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, like the steak tartare topped with quails eggs or the tasty monkfish with XO sauce, against a casual background of bare bricks walls, comfortable tan leather banquettes and a stand-out open kitchen lined with blue and white tiles.
End your evening with a tipple at the hotel’s hidden late-night bar Sibín, where the walls are lined with whiskeys from around the world.§