Usually, one would not use “luxury hotel” and “underground station” in the same sentence. Yet The Wellesley, a Luxury Collection Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge, is so proud of its origins as the Hyde Park Corner tube station that it wears its iconic facade as a badge of honor.
Originally designed by Leslie Green, the British architect behind the underground’s classic oxblood red facades and demilune windows, The Wellesley pays homage to its history while luring modern travelers with impeccable design. Interiors are expressed in classic Art Deco motifs — geometric shapes, sunbursts, concentric circles and colonnades — and 1920s-inspired materials, including fluted and etched glass, and brass accents. There is a sense of procession from the moment of entry: a series of arches topped with cascading crystal fixtures leads the way across the inlaid-marble flooring to various public areas of the hotel. Among those are two recently reimagined cigar terraces with cantilevered glass panels, glass columns and vertical bronze fins.
Though these are outdoor spaces, they are completely private thanks to a bespoke sculptural screen covering the front and sides. Conceived by artist Lee Simmons and executed by Make Architects, the screen incorporates cast bronze “buds” connected by intricate bronze lacework and subtly lit. Together, the iconic architecture and the edgy, post-industrial artwork are the perfect articulation of old and new.
Photography Courtesy of the Wellesley, London
Text by Daphne Nikolopoulos