Take 3: Fairytale Hotels
Sanderson, UK, 50 Berners Street London, tel: 0044-2073001400, sandersonlondon.com
Salvador Dali hits you in the form of a red-lipped sofa as you enter Sanderson hotel, just off Oxford Street in London, but from there in, the furniture takes on a fairytale quality, not only in its colourful form but also in the way the interior designer has played with scale. It’s not one-size-fits-all here and you will encounter tiny chairs on a magical carpet, and an oversized Louis XV armoire. The decor brings a surreal, fantastical quality while also being playfully chic.
This hotel is in the former Sanderson fabric and wallpaper showroom and the designers have kept the integrity of the mid-century, modern office-like building – unlike some hotels which aim to please all-comers with a compromising period look in a new building.
Even the spa here has been divided into “corridors” with long white gossamer curtains which you drift through as in a dream.
Meals can be taken in a courtyard – a treat in the heart of London (and locals meet here) –- and tea is called the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Rooms:there are various room types from a standard through a double, deluxe king with gym, loft with balcony and an apartment. Bathware is by Philippe Starck and boundaries between bed and bathroom are negligible, with glass walls and sheer white curtains – although those who want more privacy can opt to close a thicker curtain. Doubles from £212 (€265).
Seven, Paris, 20 rue Berthollet, Paris, tel: 0033-143317421,
The Seven in the city’s Latin Quarter is a place where filles et fillettes can come out to play with fairytale offerings including an Alice Suite – a veritable wonderland of pink decor, chess sets in the toilet and curious clocks (drawing from, as they say in these parts, l’Alice au Pays des Merveilles) – and a 007 suite for those who want to bond with their inner spy.
Seven of the suites in the hotel were handed over to different designers who floated off into fantasy worlds to include levitating beds and baths, rooms that change colour at the flick of a switch and a Marie Antoinette room splattered with touches of Versailles, including chandeliers, grand mirrors and a bath bathed in pink fibre optics.
Rooms:there are 28 rooms including the seven themed suites but even the standard offering come with suspended beds and baths. Doubles from €177.
Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Avenue, New York, tel: 001-212-9203300, gramercyparkhotel.com
Artist, designer and filmmaker Julian Schnabel directed the decor of this hotel, bringing it the feeling of a film set and, as with fairy tales, unexpected pieces, juxtaposed with unlikely neighbours, that add surreal, magical touches.
These include a solid bronze concierge desk, a lobby carpet made from 14th-century-style remnants, black-and-white chequered floors in the lounge, Venetian mirrored sconces and bronze-studded barstools in the Jade bar, pink velvet upholstery and walls in the Rose Bar, black curtains and an 8ft Venetian glass chandelier, suspended from a 20ft lobby ceiling, supported by beams of “reclaimed fumed Cypress wood”.
Among the world-class art in the hotel are pieces by Julian Schnabel himself, including Teddy Bears Picnic which adorns the lobby and speaks to inner children of not only fantasy, but fears of unforeseen horrors that could lurk in the woods. As with fairy tales, as with art: there are unexpected, sometimes dark, ideas behind the façade.
The Gramercy Park Hotel began life in 1924 and Humphrey Bogart married his first wife here. Sadly they didn’t live happily ever after as a couple, but he did marry three more women.
When the hotel was revamped in 2006 its then owner Ian Schrager said the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan would not be welcome in its rather exclusive bars.
Rooms:there are 184 rooms in eight categories – from superior to Park Suites. Expect Renaissance colourways, photographs and other art on the walls and velvet curtains. Doubles from $400 (€313).