After a two-year face-lift, The Franklin has reopened in London’s tony Knightsbridge just around the corner from a clutch of local institutions like the V&A and Harrods. Its Italian owners Starhotels enlisted hotel doyenne Anouska Hempel to carve out 35 rooms from a trio of Victorian terrace buildings that back onto Egerton Gardens.
These days, Hempel is busier than ever, and her eye for studied opulence remains as sharp as ever. For The Franklin’s interiors, the echo of Venice looms large by way of velvets, alabaster, etched mirrors and Canaletto prints of London, mixed with ikats and silks. In particular, she channels her trademark love for grey and patterns by swathing the ground floor with limestone and Carrara marble, and the rooms with Frette bed-linen, oak floors, and mirrored furniture.
The best rooms in the house look out onto the garden and majestic stands of London Plane trees and, weather permitting, there’s something to be said for taking afternoon tea on the terrace lined with espaliered pear trees and Indian water bowls.
Meanwhile, the mirror-lined bar stocks seven champagnes and 22 gins, which might just leave you with enough steadiness to make your way to dinner in Michelin-starred Alfredo Russo’s dining room.