Metropolitan by COMO, London continues to evolve with a shift from its hedonistic past towards a growing emphasis on wellbeing, smooth technology and redesigned luxury accommodation where comfort is everything. The mood has changed from the late-night antics once centred around the Met Bar to a more holistic experience that balances work and play while still underpinned by COMO’s commitment to passionate service.
Opened in 1997, ‘the Met’, as it became known, was among the capital’s first hotels to embrace a completely contemporary aesthetic, when Keith Hobbs of United Designers stripped back the non-essential elements of a traditional English hotel room to create something relevant to the Brit-pack, Brit-pop and Brit-art generation. These loyal guests, many of whom remain regular visitors, embraced the Met’s bold identity while the paparazzi lurked outside waiting for scandal.
But just as the guest evolves, so do hotels in a dynamic capital like London. In September 2015, a full top-to-toe redesign of the hotel will have been completed. Linzi Coppick of Forme Partnership, London, who previously worked with Hobbs, has introduced fresh palettes of natural hues and textures. This includes the use of American walnut, sycamore, pale and dark timbers in all 144 rooms. She has also introduced intricate fretwork inspired by the organic forms that define nearby Hyde Park. Contemporary sun-soaked whites are uplifted with accents of vibrant yellow.
In each room, a luxurious King size bed appears to float on a timber base, with the crisp white 400-thread count linen offset by a barley-coloured headboard placed within a dark timber frame. An oversized window seat upholstered in mocha chenille creates an extremely comfortable chaise-like piece where one can relax with views of Hyde Park. Windows are framed with silk curtains patterned with stripes of burnt umber, silver and gold while the introduction of a large sculptural ceramic pendant lamp adds domesticity to the scale of the room.
All in-room technology, from air-conditioning to roller blinds, is designed to operate intuitively at the touch of a button on a single console. Complimentary internet provision is now provided by hard wire and Wi-Fi solutions with super-fast speeds. Loewe interactive TVs feature extensive on-demand music and over 70 channels, including a dedicated yoga channel.
“We wanted to retain the ethos of the Metropolitan while sensitively redesigning the heart of the hotel, which is the lobby, to create an informal, versatile space where guests can wait, meet and relax in stylish comfort,” says Coppick. The palette is influenced by the natural beauty found in the flora of Hyde Park in shades of green and berry complemented by rich walnut timber Intimacy is created with high back chairs strategically positioned along with large retro style solid walnut hoops which hang from the ceiling subtly dividing up the space into more individual areas. Lush tamarind green carpets are inset in natural Italian Radica stone. An eclectic mix of contemporary furniture from the UK and Italy features tactile upholstery while the introduction of a slot window creates a perfect recess for a linear fire which glows with warmth in winter, but in summer, bubbles with water against a Gran Violet granite Brazilian stone.
The wellness offering, which has built up a considerable following among Londoners, will increasingly feature new collaborations with international experts, from intuitive counsellors to Reiki specialists. Guests will notice a greater emphasis on healthy COMO Shambhala Cuisine and juices. The Met Bar, which opened up to non-members in 2011, continues to be a leading London bar for cocktails, with masterclasses led by the bar’s mixologists. What remains unchanged and no-less popular than on the day it opened is the hotel’s Japanese-Peruvian restaurant, Nobu.