Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet and playwright, was one of London’s most popular writers in the 1890s. Though he died in exile and destitute, he spent many years as a spokesperson for aestheticism, indulging his love of beauty and fashion. Now, the author of The Picture of Dorian Gray will have a London hotel dedicated to him.
The writer’s former London stomping ground, which has undergone a $48 million renovation in the past four years, will reopen as the Belmond Cadogan Hotel in December. The Cadogan Hotel played an important part in the writer’s life. After he lost a libel suit against the Marquess of Queensberry, who alleged he was gay, which was a crime in 1800s England, Wilde was arrested at the hotel on April 6, 1895. Later, he wrote a poem entitled The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel, which recalls the event.
The hotel was built in Queen Anne style in 1887 and was part of the social fabric of the Kensington and Chelsea area. It was once the home of Lillie Langtry, who received distinguished guests such as the King of England. Two talented young designers worked on the hotel: Mac Collins and Toni Packham. Collins, a product and furniture designer who will soon graduate from Northumbria University, and Packham, who specializes in sustainable designs, were chosen from among more than 3000 designers. Belmond also collaborated with such creative talents as British Designer Tara Bernerd and French mosaicist Jérôme Clochard.
The renovation of the hotel has refurbished many of the nineteenth-century design details, including the wood paneling, stained glass windows, and fireplaces. The hotel has 57 elegantly decorated rooms.
The new hotel also features several dining options, including a terrace café, a tea lounge, and a classic British bar. The hotel’s main restaurant, which is headed by chef Adam Handling, offers a modern and sustainable menu selection. Breakfast, which is served in the rooms, includes pastries, croissants, bread, and crumpets. The hotel also features lush private gardens and tennis courts.
Belmond, which owns luxury hotel around the world, was established nearly 40 years ago with the purchase of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice. The company now owns and operates 46 upscale hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in some of the world’s most venerated destinations.