The city ho­tel of the fu­ture

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE - Jade Con­roy

A Vic­to­rian-era build­ing brought back to life as a “rein­ter­pre­ta­tion” of the tra­di­tional ho­tel. All the frills have been stripped back so you’re left with sim­ple, but con­sid­ered, hall­marks: a smooth check-in, metic­u­lous de­sign, a world-class cock­tail menu and de­cent cof­fee in the morn­ings. In short, it’s the fu­ture of city hote­lier­ing.

In the thick of Padding­ton, from the out­side this ho­tel looks like a cof­fee shop. Ask for a room higher up or at the back of the prop­erty to avoid street noise. Ex­cel­lent trans­port con­nec­tions in­clude Lan­caster Gate un­der­ground sta­tion.

It has been a labour of love for the trio be­hind The Pil­grm, one-third of which is Ja­son Cat­ifeoglou (an ex-part­ner of Zet­ter Town­house), who has over­seen the painstak­ing restora­tion of the Vic­to­rian build­ing back to its full glory. The orig­i­nal ma­hogany stair­case – which took 300 hours to re­store – dom­i­nates the down­stairs, and is the only sug­ges­tion that there might be some­thing else to this oth­er­wise neigh­bour­hood cof­fee shop. It’s a paean to Bri­tish crafts­man­ship – think souped-up Bri­tish board­ing school. In­te­ri­ors were ei­ther metic­u­lously sourced or cus­tom-made to fit the style: the lapis lazuli tiles at the en­trance are as close to the orig­i­nals as they could find; the hall­way lights were sourced from a hos­pi­tal; and the par­quet floors are from a for­mer army gym. Come here if you want a hands-off stay; don’t if you want white-gloved bell­hops. There’s not even a re­cep­tion desk: guests check in and out on­line, and pay be­fore they ar­rive, so all they need to do is pick up their room key from a 24-hour host sta­tioned in the down­stairs café. Though the ho­tel’s style is lais­sez-faire, the staff are any­thing but. Ja­son hand-picked peo­ple he’s en­coun­tered over the past 20 years of work­ing in the in­dus­try and it shows, with at­ten­tive and friendly staff. Fa­cil­i­ties, as ex­pected, are lim­ited, though the ho­tel has links with a lo­cal dry cleaner and gym.

Seventy-three rooms are set across three “wings”, cat­e­gorised into Small, Medium and Large. They are com­pact, with the em­pha­sis on the be­spoke beds, backed by par­quet pan­elling and topped with hand­made mat­tresses. Dinky, white metro-tiled bath­rooms

hold Vic­to­rian-style lava­to­ries (but not plumb­ing), de­cent show­ers and an enamel sink. No phones (you can text) or room ser­vice – each floor has its own 24-hour pantry with snacks and hot drinks.

The bar has a se­lec­tion of drinks cherry-picked from the world’s best cock­tail menus. High­lights in­clude

Cots are avail­able but no ex­tra beds can be added. There’s one bunk room (£99), which is suit­able for teens. For more lux­ury ho­tels in Lon­don, see: tele­ tt-lux­u­ry­lon­don

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