Afternoon Tea | August 15, 2016 | Lifestyle
Print, pattern and mythical creatures:
How Kit Kemp's hotels seduced us
Husband and wife team Kit and Tim Kemp once quipped that ‘hotels should be living things, not stuffy institutions’ and this could be a motto for each of their celebrated Firmdale hotels – eight in London and one iconic New York outpost.
Distinctive, bold and carefree aren’t words usually used to describe the hospitality industry but Kit’s design prowess means that these spaces aren’t your average room factory. In fact, her strong sense of the lyrical and the whimsical has even led to a unique collaboration with Wedgwood, resulting in the folkloric Mythical Creatures collection.
Her design was based on a collection of embroidered fabrics produced for Chelsea Textiles. The characters and patterns have a folkloric feel that’s characteristically Kit.
We looked at her design inspiration in our article about how three creative powerhouses had become their own muses but let’s take a look at three of Kit’s hotels – along with a Mythical Creatures design classic to suit each.
Dorset Square Hotel
Image source: Dorset Square Hotel
All the hotels in the Firmdale stable bear Kit’s fresh English style but the Dorset Square has an even greater claim to Englishness: it overlooks the private garden square that was the the site of Thomas Lord’s original cricket ground. Fans of the game will adore spotting the memorabilia displayed around the hotel.
The Marylebone townhouse’s bar and restaurant is called The Potting Shed, giving you the chance to spend a busy day in the city before announcing, like so many Englishmen before you, that you’re going to retire to the potting shed for the evening.
Take Kit home: This Mythical Creatures covered sugar box takes a classic shape and adds a twist with quirky patterns and figures.
Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York
Image source: Crosby Street Hotel
From archetypal Englishness in London to New York individuality; the Crosby Street Hotel has all the features of a contemporary luxury hotel, with a few extras thrown in for good measure – including a sculpture garden and state-of-the-art screening room.
With international designer stores in one direction and NoLita’s criss-cross of cobbled streets and indie shops, it’s the perfect location for a culture-packed stay in New York.
Inside, the public areas have the same unorthodox, colourful feel guests have come to expect from the Firmdale stable. The 86 rooms and suites are flooded with light, thanks to floor-to-ceiling warehouse-style windows. Fresh and contemporary, they’re individually designed, with Kit’s trademark flair for textiles.
Take Kit home: Enjoy tea for one with the Mythical Creatures plate, cup and saucer set. What will you serve on yours?
Charlotte Street Hotel, London
Image source: Charlotte Street Hotel
The Charlotte Street Hotel has long been a hangout for the media set who frequent the area and now Kit’s makeover has given it an appropriate Bloomsbury Group theme, complete with original art from the period.
It may be in the heart of London but guests can relax with beauty treatments in their own room, watch hand-picked films in the 75-seater screening room or indulge in afternoon tea – served in Mythical Creatures, of course!
Take Kit home: Order the pastries, pour the champagne and serve tea from your very own Mythical Creatures teapot. Afternoon tea just got whimsical.