The Metropolitan was among the capital’s first hotels to embrace a completely contemporary aesthetic when it first opened in 1997 and superlative contemporary design remains an important signature of the hotel.
The Met, as it became known, has been in the spotlight as a popular destination for international and celebrity guests from the beginning. Just as guests evolve, so has the design at The Metropolitan over its years in operation. The new luxury accommodation reflects the hotel’s shift towards an emphasis on wellbeing and the integration of the latest technology, underpinned by the continuing commitment to passionate service.
The design team at Forme UK has been responsible for the design of the hotel’s interiors over the past ten years. More recently this has included refurbishing guest room bathrooms, adding a spa facility, Como Shambhala Urban Escape, Events spaces, the gym and redesigning the Met Bar. This phase has involved redesigning the public spaces of the reception, lobby and all guest rooms, including the creation of nine new suites and a re-configured tenth floor resulting in an additional two opulently spacious Penthouses.
Linzi Coppick, of Forme UK, says: “Our challenge was to refurbish the hotel to meet today’s guest’s expectations in terms of design , technology and comfort whilst retaining the ethos of The Metropolitan.”
In the lobby, Forme has introduced a large slot window, which, on entering the lobby, gives an added dimension to the view of the exterior. Sitting within this slot is a linear fireplace. The deep recess of Brazilian stone takes the eye through to a level water table, exquisitely designed with a central funnel, into which the water flows away.
The concept is that in winter the flames dance whilst the external water table is more still. In summertime, the flames die and the water table is enlivened with gentle bubbling jets.
A new reception desk sits regally in front of a distressed two-tone leather panelled alcove with an eye-catching etched mirrored central niche for innovative flower displays. The leather evokes old cowboy chaps that have worked hard for their entire life in shades of Zulu and Barley. The desk has a light toned geometric stone fascia with bespoke tiles by Giles Miller, discreetly lit to enhance the undulating, textured effect.
It is topped with a slender panel of the same distressed leather which will develop its own unique patina. There is also a bag shelf incorporated to assist when at the desk.
Forme UK sourced an eclectic mix of contemporary furniture from the UK and Italy for comfort and purpose with tactile upholsteries to add warmth and atmosphere and tables of varying heights some with Emperador marble inserts.
Distinctive, beautifully crafted Kiko stools have a charming organic appearance which interplays within the space. The designers retained the iconic sculptural clock and enhanced it with luxurious burr walnut panelling which exudes exceptional quality. The burr panelling extends behind the new conceirge desk, discreetly housing storage to assist with the easy running of this busy area.
The upholstery palette is influenced by the natural beauty found within the flora of Hyde Park in shades of green and berry complimented by rich walnut timber in both burr and crown. Intimacy is created with high back chairs strategically positioned along with large retro style solid walnut hoops which hang down from the ceiling, subtly dividing up the space into more individual areas. Lush tamarind green carpets are inset in natural Italian Radica stone.
A contemporary lighting scheme is in place with fittings that enhance features and detailing whilst also able to create various moods and ambiance, depending on the natural light. In addition, there are electrically operated blinds which drop from a discreet recess to shield against the low sun later in the day.
Along with the refurbishment of the existing rooms, Forme UK has cleverly created suites from larger awkward shaped rooms resulting in separate sleeping and lounge areas.
On entering a typical guest room, the wardrobe hanging area is revealed behind a beautifully crafted tambour door. This enables guests to maintain easy access to the wardrobe and their case without doors being left open, subsequently getting damaged and obscuring access.
Large desks with adjacent media hubs sit below state-of-the-art Loewe TVs. Full height, angled mirrors shroud hospitality units comprised of small fridge, bespoke drawer for accoutrements, a zone for Nespresso machine and kettle with shelving for crockery and glassware. This is cleverly positioned so as not viewable from the bed.
The artwork is a backlit, fret-cut panel of abstract design inspired by organic forms that the nearby park. This is sometimes displayed in a door concealing services or otherwise as sliding screens within suites.
In each room, a luxurious King size bed appears to float on a timber base, with the white linen offset by a barley-coloured tactile headboard placed within a dark walnut timber frame, topped with an oyster-toned leather capping.
Etched bronze mirror recesses create bedside ledges for the all important telephone which displays facilities to operate electric window treatments and lighting. The white reading lights sit flush within the headboard. To use, they cleverly angle out from the joinery.
An oversized window seat, fully upholstered in mocha chenille, creates a chaise-like piece for relaxing with views of Hyde Park or the city. This doubles as a single bed for greater room occupancy. Silk-effect curtains patterned with horizontal stripes of burnt umber, silver and bronze frame the windows. A large sculptural ceramic pendant lamp adds domesticity to the scale of the room.
Forme UK has introduced fresh palettes of natural hues and textures in the guest rooms. This includes the use of American walnut, sycamore, pale and dark timbers in all of the rooms and suites. Contemporary sun-soaked whites are uplifted with accents of vibrant yellow. All in-room technology, from air conditioning to roller blinds, is designed to operate intuitively at the touch of a button on a single console.
The Forme team completely reconfigured areas of the top floor. The Como Suite now includes a pantry offering catering facilities and a super-size bedroom complete with dressing room.
The Penthouse has a raised bedroom with a separate dressing area and lounge, complete with dining area and desk space.
All top floor bathrooms are fully refurbished with Japanese style WCs, rainfall showers set off against backpainted glass, lacquered joinery and double vanity units.
Opulent furnishings by Morgan and Porada, along with bespoke specifically designed items and handmade Indian rugs, exude a sophisticated luxurious quality all synonymous with the Como label are set off against pale timber floors and tactile upholstery of denim tones.