As far as Instagram gold mines go, London’s got plenty. The red telephone booths. The colorful Victorian houses of Notting Hill, which have become such an influencer magnet that residents are begging them to stop crowding their doorsteps. The spread at Ottolenghi. Anything with wisteria hanging off it
The fresh design of the lobby is Instagram gold for Mayfair’s demimonde.
Now, there’s one more to add to the list: The lobby of the Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte property in posh Mayfair. A complete overhaul of its front hall was revealed last month and it’s pretty enough for even the most jaded traveler.
What was once a paean to dark woods has transformed into a colorful, floral eden with chairs covered in Colefax and Fowler fabric, blooms courtesy of Ellie Hartley Flowers, wallpaper by interior designer and artist Adam Ellis, and a 1930s chandelier from John Bly Antiques hanging from the elevated skylight.
Brown’s was founded in 1837 by James Brown, Lord Byron’s former valet, and his wife Sarah, at the beginning of what would be Mayfair’s—and London’s—hotel boom. (Claridge’s, then called Mivart’s, opened in 1812 while the Connaught was founded as the Prince of Saxe Coburg Hotel in 1815. The Ritz and Dorchester would follow in the early 20th century.)
In its 182-year history, Brown’s has welcomed guests like Queen Victoria, Evelyn Waugh, Teddy Roosevelt, Stephen King, and Rudyard Kipling, who wrote The Jungle Book here during one of his many stays. The 1,800-square-ft Kipling Suite pays homage to the author with its quirky details, like a hanging monkey sculpture in the doorway and the lacquered elephant figure that sits on a mantel in the sitting room. The floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto Albemarle Street are another luxurious touch—and a surefire way to cure anyone’s writer’s block.
As for the new lobby, it’s a matter of time before this little corner reaches the same level of fame and ubiquity as Mayfair’s other hotspots like Annabel’s or Claridge’s. Best get your shot before everyone else catches on.
By John Cicioni