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Online Exclusive - ME Hotel, London

Jun 4, 2013

Built on the site of the 19th-century Gaiety Theater, the new-build ME Hotel integrates into London’s Theatreland with a dramatic design. “The new scheme repairs the urban grain and restores a little lost glamour to the heart of the West End,” says Giles Robinson, partner of London-based Foster + Partners, which completed the entire design. “Our overall objective was to create a memorable, exceptional experience for guests. This translated into a range of spaces that were rich, varied, and sometimes surprising.”

                                                                            Reception Area

The drama begins with a white marble lobby housed within a nine-story-high pyramid. Lit with an angular oculus above, the stone pyramid defines the ME Hotel’s black and white theme. “The sense of drama and the monochrome palette follow the striking formal language of the hotel, with minimal decoration,” says Robinson.

                                                                                    Pyramid Top

Centered around the pyramid’s steel-lattice peak, the rooftop Radio Bar continues the palette with simple, white and black furnishings and a backlit onyx-clad bar. “Our main challenge [here] was to maximize views and to create a space that would work at different times of the day,” explains Robinson.

                                                                                    Radio Bar

As the result of oriel windows, city vistas also play an important part in the guestrooms. “Guests can walk out into this clear, glazed space and feel like they are in the midst of the city and can enjoy the views along the Strandall from the comfort of their room,” says Robinson. The windows are screened with two layers of opaque, glass sliding panels⎯⎯rather than curtains⎯⎯in keeping with the minimalistic and monochrome design of the rooms.

                                                                                  Passion Suite

“The bold black and white palette gives the hotel a strong identity,” says Robinson. “It allowed us to define the individual character of each space through variations in tone, texture and scale, and a tactile, sumptuous range of materials.”


The room interiors fuse contemporary and classical styles with white leather walls, backlit onyx shelves, textured cast glass, and black-lacquered cabinets. “The experience draws on the idea of yin and yang, as guests move from dark to light spaces,” explains Robinson. “The crisp white bedrooms are reached by reflective black marble corridors⎯⎯sculpted by the angled walls of the central pyramid.”


Though also following the formality of the central atrium in spatiality, the Marconi Lounge on the ground floor breaks the theme with brown furnishings and gray textures. “It’s a luxurious, welcoming retreat,” says Robinson. Vertical chrome tubes provide a sense of privacy, while a fireplace centered on a disc of chocolate-colored marble adds warmth.

                                                                                 Marconi Lounge

“A welcoming sequence of bar, restaurant, and lounge spaces bring the ground floor to life,” says Robinson. “It brings the glamor of Theatreland into the heart of the hotel.”

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