industrial bar

The Cumberland Hotel, Grand Dame and Hipster

The Sleep Hotel asked designers to envision a hotel which had been redone from the 1960’s to give it a contemporary look.  Last week I visited an actual hotel, The Cumberland, which had its heyday in Swinging Sixties and, after an extensive refurbishment, has emerged as a sleek contemporary oasis of 21st century chic.

I love hotels with history.  Built in the 1920’s, the hotel opened its door for guests in 1933 with luxurious mod-cons for the day (en-suite bathrooms and telephones in each room).  King George V and Queen Mary even attended the grand opening.  Fast forward to the Sixties, and the hotel’s most famous guest, Jimi Hendrix.  He lived here prior to his death in a suite of rooms which had fabulous views over Hyde Park.  The hotel was even listed as his residence on his death certificate.

I hadn’t appreciated how large The Cumberland Hotel really is.  The main building has almost 1000 rooms including a variety of singles, doubles, and suites.  Across the street, there is a separate building with 1 bedroom apartments which have access to all the hotels facilities.  The rooms are contemporary and quietly elegant.  There are small touches which tie the rooms together into a cohesive scheme such as the headboards.  The headboards on each floor have etched glass designs reflecting elements of the building’s outside architecture.

twin room

The hotel lobby is filled with cool life-size sculptures by Sean Henry representing movement.


The reception area has a wall shrine to Jimi Hendrix.  His rooms which now make up the Jimi Hendrix Suite are very popular with guests.

Carbon, the industrial-style bar is very cool and very popular with the after-work crowd.

industrial bar

You can get the edgy, alternative vibe of Shoreditch at Carbon without leaving the comfort and convenience of the West End.

industrial bar


I love the use of materials and textures in this bar – the metal chain, the leather chairs, the wood of the floors and casks, the concrete floors and the steel beams.


casks and steel beams

As part of the remodel, the former entrance is now a small, moody private dining room with an Art Deco feel.

private dining

The large dining room has been designed by Kelly Hoppen and has its own entrance and bar area.   The whole space feels incredibly indulgent with Spina chandeliers, velvet chairs, and antique mirrors.  It hosts events regularly including a Lipsy launch and a travel blogger conference recently.

The conference facilities are all located on the lower ground floor which makes for good circulation for attendees.  Alternatively, hotel guests are insulated from feeling they are in a business hotel.

I feel this hotel has two halves. The modern but neutral guest rooms and the contemporary, public areas with its modern art and edgy bars and restaurants.  The location is also hard to beat with the hotel pretty much next door to the Marble Arch tube, across from Hyde Park and at the end of Park Lane and Oxford Street.

This grand old dame has transformed herself in a big way.  There’s definitely life in the old girl yet!

I was provided with a tour of the hotel and lunch at the Brasserie free of charge in exchange for my review but all words and opinions are my own.

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