Design talk

16 July 2004
Design talk

GLA has recently completed a £1.7m refurbishment of London's Cadogan hotel, the first stage of a bigger revamp over the next two years.
"We didn't want to create a design that was over the top. It had to say English gentility but without any pretensions. Reflecting the local surroundings is also important. There are a lot of couture shops in the neighbourhood so we wanted the types of furnishings and fabrics that would complement them.

"You have to know you're in London and not in Paris or New York. We chose some fabrics that shimmered and some with big paisley patterns. We also went for largely pewter colours and not bright shades.

"The bed is really important, as it's the focal point of the room. I don't like bedspreads - it has to be duvets. The bed has to look immaculate and inviting. There must be four pillows and a duvet.

"Doing a hotel in London has been a big challenge. Keeping to a tight budget and doing it on such a large scale has been difficult. And then I had to interpret what I thought an English townhouse was like. I went to look at so many. I really like the Milestone and all the Firmdale hotels.

"I never repeat any design in my hotels. Each one has to have its own personality. I always use as many local businesses as possible. The starting point is to put a concept down on paper to remind yourself where you're going when you're tempted to start doing different things.

"I would have liked to do the whole hotel in one go, but it just isn't possible. We will spread it out over the next two years."

Cadogan hotel, London
Rack rate: £169

The Cadogan, previously owned by Historic House Hotels, was bought last year by a partnership headed by New York-based marketing consortium Leading Hotels of the World for a rumoured £14m. GLA International took over its management last August.

GLA was formed in 1995 and manages five other hotels: the Lancaster, Hotel Montalembert and Hotel Bel Ami, all in Paris; the Hotel Royal Riviera, in St Jean Cap Ferrat near Nice; and the Cotton House in Mustique in the Caribbean. It will also manage the Bairro Alto in Lisbon when it opens in September.

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