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Our little black book of enchanting places

Lobbies with Halcyon glamour

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Hotel reception bell© bgton/thinkstock

There’s bad news for anyone hoping to swish through the foyer of TV's most glamorous hotel, The Halcyon: the chic Art-Deco lobby with its sweeping staircase is actually a stage set in West London. But never mind because London is full of the real thing. Here are some of my favourites.Lobby of Claridge's, LondonOf all London’s lobbies, the one at Claridge’s feels most like a stage set, with a staircase rising graciously from its midst. Art-Deco pioneer Oswald Milne redesigned the lobby in 1929 and much of the decoration he commissioned remains, including a beautiful Lalique door panel. In 1996 it was given a makeover by architect and designer Thierry Despont who added a number of more contemporary flourishes, such as the magnificent Dale Chihuly chandelier, while retaining its distinctive jazz age feel. Delicious.Lobby of The Goring, LondonThis is the lobby of The Goring, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and the only five-star hotel in London still owned and run by the family that built it in 1910. What you can’t see from this angle is the endearing bust of the Queen Mother and the life-size bronze of the hotel’s founder, Otto R Goring, which always has a fresh buttonhole. The Goring’s lobby is exceedingly warm and welcoming – and it opens straight into the convivial lounge and bar area.Lobby of The Savoy, LondonThis sumptuous mix of English Edwardian and Art-Deco architecture at The Savoy sets the standard for hotel lobbies everywhere. Pillars, mahogany panelling, chequered marble floor, pendant lighting, brass revolving doors – it’s all very Halcyon, though on far larger scale. The lobby, along with the rest of the hotel, was refurbished in 2010 to a certain amount of affronted sniffing but I think it’s as glamorous as ever, only brighter.Lobby of The Beaumont, LondonThe two-year-old Beaumont doesn’t date back to a more gracious age, but its design – intended to ‘evoke the elegance and personalised hospitality of pre-war Mayfair’ – certainly does. They’ve even invented an ‘original owner’ for it: James ‘Jimmy’ Beaumont who apparently came to London from New York during the Prohibition. The Beaumont’s lobby is a cross between The Goring and Claridge’s, with the initimate feel of the former and the gloss of the latter.Lobby of The Chesterfield Mayfair, LondonThe Chesterfield Mayfair is made up of three historic residences, one the former home of the Regency actress and courtesan, Mrs Dorothea Jordan (she was also the mistress of the future William IV). The lobby isn’t original – the hotel only opened in 1973 – nor is it Art Deco, but with its marble floor, mahogany panelling and Ionic columns, it has a glamorous, between-the-wars feel, the scarlet furnishings giving it just the required hint of rakishness.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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