Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has announced the brand’s highly anticipated debut property in the UK with the opening of Six Senses London in 2023.
Residing in the former art deco department store – Whiteleys – in Bayswater, West London, the hotel will comprise 110 guest rooms and suites, and a Six Senses Spa. There will also be 14 branded residences available to buy.
Whiteleys takes its name from visionary entrepreneur, William Whiteley, who opened his first drapery shop in Westbourne Grove in 1863. A little over a decade later, the shop had grown to a department store described as “an immense symposium of the arts and industries of the nation and of the world”.
Once a vibrant destination that formed the focus for the surrounding residential neighborhood, Whiteleys was then redeveloped in the 1980s into a shopping centre with a cinema and bowling alley. It subsequently closed its doors in December 2018 as its popularity diminished.
The redevelopment of Whiteleys is headed by a Meyer Bergman-advised fund, with the preeminent residential real estate developer Finchatton as development manager. In collaboration with the British architectural firm, Foster + Partners, renowned for its eco credentials and responsible design approach as architect, this historic landmark will become a sensitively restored mixed-use development.
The original Grade II façade, central courtyard and dome will all be preserved, as will the majestic internal staircase (modelled on the La Scala opera house in Milan), which features as the centerpiece on the ground floor of the hotel.
Inspired by the building’s origins, the interiors of Six Senses London will be designed by internationally celebrated AvroKO in conjunction with executive architects, EPR, and combine nostalgic nods to classical detailing and art deco along with modern streamlining. To add a touch of local culture to the preserved Great Exhibition mood, contemporary art from British artists will be showcased throughout the hotel.
The Six Senses brand philosophy of connection to people and nature is central to the convivial and biophilic tone of the ground floor. It will feature a cosy lobby bar and lounge, all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen and seating area in the courtyard.
Much of the lobby’s character derives from its verdant, elegant and eclectic style. Imaginative planting, textured fabrics, bespoke flooring, reclaimed wood furniture and upholstery in natural tones with glass display cabinets flanking its walls cleverly bring about coziness in 1,300 square metres of public space which encourages guests to socialize, eat, play or simply be.
Photography: Lightfield for Foster + Partners