Monday, September 20, 2010

Hotel Stories: Decor

For our Tenth Anniversary getaway, Yasha and I went back to the hotel where he had a conference and we had taken the elder children the previous weekend.  Long story short, it was closer and a bit cheaper than another close but not so cheap hotel we have been to a few other times.  The not so cheap hotel doesn't have great food, so we thought we'd give the convention place a try.  We should have just gone out to Gidleigh Park, our favorite hotel with the decor I am shamelessly copying in my new home and with the Michelin rated restaurant.  Gidleigh, however, takes two hours by train and costs quite a bit more.  Yasha had to leave for the States on Sunday morning, so we thought we'd salvage Saturday night and be more economical by staying close in.  In the end, we came home Saturday afternoon--barely missing the traffic from the Pope's visit. We should have gone to Gidleigh.  Here is why, part 1.

As I mentioned before, this hotel hosts conventions and has rather odd interior decorations.  Modern interiors are all the rage here.  If you are in London, take a look in the furniture sections of any of the major department stores for a clue.  Granted, the overwhelming modern inventory in the department stores is partially due to the stores playing to the super-rich expats, currently hailing from the Middle East and Russia, who love modern decor.   But Brits still love modern interiors.

If I see a redone home, typically it is modern, like a Crate and Barrel layout, to ultra-modern, polished stone, chrome, glass and little else.  Redone offices and hotels are almost always modern.  Last week my oldest friend came to town.  As is my custom, I took her to tea.  I didn't do the Ritz as it really isn't my favorite, very touristy and, save the scones, not very yummy.  My favorite place is The Antheaneum Hotel, which was Yasha's home in London before we moved over here.  It had a redo about 2 years ago.  Oh, the Lucite.  Orange, smoke, and pearlized Lucite to be precise.  With velvet, always with velvet.  I should have taken more pictures last week.

Anyway, this weekend I took a few pictures of the convention hotel.  Photographer, I am not.  If I ever travel with M&M or Vilvy again, I'll have them take good photos as they are both semi-pros with good eyes.
I was trying to capture a few contrasting elements, the old brass knob and wood door, with the glass and chrome desk, and Lucite lamp.  
Here is a hallway from what I call the Rose wing.  The walls are a dark burgundy and, along the left hand side, the walls are lined with black cotton velvet draperies with dark gold lame bottoms.  My iPhone couldn't get a good picture of the halogen pendants that float in front of the drapes.  
This is the top of the four poster bed.  Those are dark mauve sheers (no really) with chrome, Lucite, and wood posts.  On top of the posts are little vases with 2 or three feathers, the flourish of a lush minimalist.  There is a famous decorator in Houston (his name escapes me)  who does expensive and historic homes in lush style.  This room looked like he walked in, got started, and then had to jet off somewhere else without completing the room.  This decorator wanted to do lush, but not really.   

If I had gone to Gidleigh, I could have used the pictures for research, rather than mere posting.  I am not sure why this juxtaposition between old and modern tweaks me so.  Perhaps because it is so different from what I am used to.  Americans try to copy the old.  We pay good money to have new floors and furnishings beaten and sanded to look old.  Seriously, there are DIY projects that involve beating furniture with chains, painting and then sanding...  We encase steel I beams in reclaimed wood.  To have a land where such things are common place yet shunned, it intrigues me.  I want to know why.

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