The ME Hotel (the first flagship hotel in which everything, from the shell of the building to the bathroom fittings, has been designed by Foster + Partners) has opened in London. The scheme integrates a new 157-bed hotel and the restoration of the adjacent Marconi House, whose interior has been entirely restructured to accommodate 87 apartments.
The new hotel building occupies a triangular site and is clad in Portland stone, corresponding in height and scale to its neighbour. An elliptical tower on the corner of the hotel defines the end-point for the Aldwych Crescent and marks the main entrance at street level, which is sheltered beneath a wide glass fan. The corner tower is topped by a glass cupola – a contemporary reinterpretation of the Edwardian-style domed roof across the street – that houses the ME penthouse suite with its 360-degree panorama of the city. Arriving guests pass through the ground floor lounge, public restaurants and bar, and ascend to the hotel lobby and champagne bar on the first floor, housed within a nine-storey high pyramidal space, clad entirely in white marble. On the tenth floor, the Radio Rooftop Bar offers views of the Thames River and the Westminster skyline. Further guest facilities are located beneath the central atrium at lower ground level and include conference suites, a gym and a 25-seat screening room.
The interior design draws on the idea of yin and yang, as guests move from dark to light spaces – the white bedrooms are reached by reflective black marble corridors, sculpted by the angled walls of the central pyramid. The white interior of the rooftop bar creates a relaxed environment and draws the focus outside, while onyx wall detailing and a black counter continue the hotel’s interior themes. The hotel rooms (offered in a variety of types and layouts, from rooms with private terraces on the upper two levels, to individual suites with large, separate marble bathrooms) combine clean, minimal lines with a monochrome palette of luxurious materials. Suspended from the white leather walls of each room is a black lacquered cabinet that incorporates a television and entertainment system, back-lit onyx shelves and a mini bar. Full-height triangular bay windows project to reveal long views of the Strand.