“It’s like walking onto a film set,” marvels one googly-eyed diner at Berners Tavern, the insanely photogenic restaurant located just off the lobby of the new London Edition hotel and manned by “King of Soho” Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. Perhaps she’s talking about the 100-some-odd portraits arranged just so, which put the work of any set designer to shame, or maybe it’s the fact that practically everyone—male and female, young and younger—nibbling on avocado toast and poached eggs radiates Vogue-caliber beauty.
Hers was the only awestruck observation I overheard; to almost everyone else, the Edition is so natural a fit for London’s high-end Fitzrovia neighborhood, it’s as if it’s always been there. With a $53 million makeover, the hotelier with the Midas touch Ian Schrager reinvented the Georgian building of old (sky-high ceilings, marble everything else) with the new (an underground dance club with lighting by Lady Gaga’s go-to guy, Patrick Woodroffe). With the first Edition already open in Istanbul and a Miami Beach outpost debuting later this year, all eyes were on London—and stepping inside from Berners Street, just two minutes north of Oxford Street’s shopping bag bedlam, the lobby itself is a stunner. An Ingo Maurer orb dangles from the ceiling and dances light from an in-progress billiards game in one corner to a Donald Judd-inspired table with Macs in the other. It’s impossible to tell where work ends and play begins. (Further blurring this line were two very different lobby visitors, a businessman from Texas and a guy sporting a Lilliputian version of Pharrell’s infamous hat.) The juxtaposition is part of what makes the space so inviting, and upstairs the 173 rooms and suites feel like cozy apartments—or spacious apartments, as with the 2,098-square-foot penthouse and its 360-degree views of The Big Smoke.
But of course the night must start downstairs. There’s a reason the Edition was named “most talked about party pad” so soon after its star-studded opening, where Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss and that scamp Harry Styles dropped by during Fashion Week. At the hot hub of a bar visitors partake in a Slap & Pickle (with gin) or a Cereal Killer (with rum and Coco Pops milk). More reserved guests who don’t mind making reservations can head to the oak-paneled, manor home-inspired Punch Room, and slide deeper into tufted banquettes with each dip into the silver punch bowl—the gin with jasmine tea and oak moss is a good bet. Now, finally, it’s time to retire to the seventh floor’s secluded penthouse, where the faux fur rumpled artfully on the bed is as tempting as the creative minibar. (Bacon jam or Earl Grey lip balm, anyone?) But seeing as guests up here have a full kitchen and butler service, why not just go for the gold?
Below, London Edition’s general manager David Taylor reveals more about the very popular penthouse, which guests—usually A-list—tend to book by the week.
The most sought-after room in the hotel:
“The Penthouse has been in high demand since we opened for both hotel guests and as a venue for VIP private events given its unique characteristics, residential feel and stunning views of London.”
What makes it special:
“The Penthouse itself at 195 square metres [2,098 square feet] makes it one of London’s largest suites but it also benefits from an extensive wrap-around terrace and 360 degree views of London. It has a very residential feel and many guests have commented that it feels more like an apartment than a typical hotel suite.”
The discreet manager wouldn’t divulge names—“a hotelier never comments on such things,” he says—but a little British birdie told me Ellie Goulding stayed there after performing at the Brits, it’s where Alexa Chung celebrated her 30th birthday party—and that Brad and Angelina checked in last month after the BAFTAs.
£5,700 (or $9,476 US) a night
Your personal favorite room:
“My favorite room is 217.”
“This is one of our loft suites and is situated on the corner of the building (Berners Street and Eastcastle St). It has a high ceiling and is so bright and airy.”
The odds might be better for getting into the Iowa Writers Workshop than for locking down a job at the Edition: “We went through 10,000 resumes to find and carefully choose the final 255 employees for our opening,” Taylor says. “Together they speak 31 different languages fluently.”