The Adria boutique hotel is housed in a Grade II Listed Victorian townhouse in the heart of South Kensington. Originally built in the 1870s as two individual houses, the building was merged into a single property in the 1940s before falling into disrepair. Award-winning design practice, Jestico + Whiles, was responsible for the architecture and interior design of the refurbishment, and has created an aesthetic reminiscent of the 1950s post-war era, as Hospitality Interiors’ Katie Sherry reports.
Creating an authentic representation of a past era is never an easy task, but is one that Jestico + Whiles has carried out admirably. The design firm worked closely with the client to envisage their experiences of the 1950s, which it subsequently worked into the design.
“The Adria is designed to reflect a sentimental journey into one person’s memory of the hotel from 50 years ago,” comments Emma Richardson, interior design director at Jestico + Whiles. “The hotel in turn feels like it belongs to another century, without descending into pastiche. The Adria has period charm and an accent of 1950s’ nostalgia, mixed with a contemporary feel and functionality. Our aim was to create a warm, homely atmosphere within rooms restored to their original grandeur.”
The result is a hotel experience that combines reminiscence with modern flair. Owing to the building’s Listed status, every effort has been made to keep some original features of the property – such as the fireplace in the lounge, and the staircase. Where it has not been possible to retain the originals, Jestico + Whiles worked with historic advisers and British craftsmen and artisans to replicate them – as seen in the cornice on the ground floor and the fireplace in the dining room.
Jestico + Whiles also researched interior design elements of the 1950s to inform its choice of fixtures and fittings in the hotel. The overall design is eclectic – contemporary, Danish furniture is placed alongside pieces reminiscent of the Victorian era in the lounge, which, as a result, has a refined yet comfortable feel. The combination of furniture styles gives the impression of a space that has been lived in for decades, gradually being added to with more pieces as the years go by.
The homely decor is exemplified by the hotel’s personalised service, which lends itself to a truly boutique experience. Each of the 22 guest rooms and two suites has been individually designed, and is labelled with a name rather than a number. Upon arrival, guests are appointed a butler and handed a book with their room key enclosed – adding yet another personal touch.
Attention to detail has been paramount in the refurbishment, and although the design features many individualised touches, the hotel has been designed as a whole – giving a consistent look and feel. The wooden floorboards in the dining room, for example, have been cut to the same dimensions as the marble panels in the spa, and books about London are scattered throughout the hotel.
Jestico + Whiles had great freedom in the project, taking control over many features of the refurbishment. A selection of furniture and screen-printed wallpaper and fabrics, for example, were made in Jestico + Whiles’ design, while a number of custom-made chandeliers and light fittings were created in close collaboration with the firm. Andrew Costa, associate director at Jestico + Whiles, attributes the success of the project to the flexible collaboration with the client: “We had free reign to capture the spirit of the client’s vision, with elegance and quality at the heart of every decision,” he says.
The overall result is a refined boutique hotel which successfully balances the charm of the past and the comfort of the present. The property is at once luxurious and familiar, and presents the guest with a personalised hotel experience that will continue to surprise and enchant with each visit.
Curtains and upholstery George Smith, The Garvey Brothers
Fabrics Emery and Cie, Lelievre, Dedar, Ben Whistler
Public space furniture George Smith, BBDW and Hudson Furniture (NY), Frank Hudson (UK)
Bedroom furniture Ceccotti (Pisa), The Garvey Brothers, George Smith, William Yeoward
Oak timber flooring AJK Flooring
Oak panelling, cabinetry and joinery Abrahams and Carlisle
Rugs The Rug Company
Carpets Tai Ping
Chandeliers Hudson Lighting (NY), BBDW, Tom Kirk Lighting
External lighting SUGG Lighting
Bathroom brassware and sanitaryware Drummonds Bathrooms
Artwork and accessories Selected by Jestico + Whiles, procured by Urban Velvet
Graphic design and branding Gregory Bonner Hale
UK marble fabricator and carved panels Gormley
Cararra marble supplies Marmi (Italy)