What was first built at the turn of the last century as the U.K. headquarters of the Baptist Church is now L’oscar London, the first hotel in the British capital designed by the preeminent Jacques Garcia.
Perhaps the most exciting heritage conversion London has seen this year is that of a neglected Edwardian gem in the district of Holborn.
What was first built at the turn of the last century as the U.K. headquarters of the Baptist Church is now L’oscar London (44-20/7405-5555; doubles from US$517), the first hotel in the British capital designed by the preeminent Jacques Garcia.
The overhaul took six years to complete, with master craftsmen recruited from around the world to restore the ornate stucco ceilings, wood flooring, and other original features, as Garcia brought his signature love of bohemian excess to the revamped spaces. And the result is unabashedly sensual and sumptuous.
Exuberant peacock motifs adorn silk-screen wall panels and headboards, while flocks of glass birds make up the seven-story chandelier that cascades down the middle of the original staircase.
Upstairs, each of the 39 guest rooms is uniquely laid out, but all come imbued with a theatrical flair that nods to both Oscar Wilde and the hotel’s proximity to the West End: think walls draped in leather and velvet, and bathrooms fitted with butterfly-shaped crystal taps from Lalique.
The pièce de résistance is the Baptist Grill restaurant—headed by one-Michelin-starred chef Tony Fleming—which has breathed new life into an octagonal domed chapel where worshippers once gathered every Sunday.
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This article originally appeared in the August/September 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Divine Intervention”).