Staying at a hotel designed by Kit Kemp, of Firmdale Hotels, has been on my travel bucket list for years. I’m not sure whether I was first introduced to her bright, colorful, pattern-enthused designs through a blog or one of her books, but when it came time to select our hotel in London for the final night of our trip, we looked no further than the Firmdale Hotels portfolio. Although we were confident we’d love the design scheme of any of the hotels, selecting one of the group’s eight properties in London wasn’t an easy task. The subterranean swimming pool at the Haymarket Hotel, complete with a poolside bar, almost steered us in a different direction, but we ended up happily selecting the Covent Garden Hotel, near the Royal Opera House, for its neighborhood.
Kemp’s signature style – an appreciation for color and an emphasis on mixing patterns and textures – was very evident in our room for the night. I knew I’d love the fabric of the focal point headboard and the floor to ceiling drapes, but I wasn’t expecting to appreciate the clean, contemporary bathroom as much as I did.
Our favorite experience during our all too short stay at the Covent Garden Hotel was an afternoon tea in the Drawing Room. We were so thankful that one of the front desk associates suggested taking our tea in the Drawing Room rather than in the hotel restaurant, Brasserie Max, as we ended up having almost the entire Drawing Room to ourselves. Enjoying our first (and only) afternoon tea of the trip privately, in such a beautifully appointed room, was one of the best memories from our entire trip. The maple-lined wood panels of the Drawing Room give the entire space an especially inviting and comforting feeling, while the mix of bold patterns serve as a fun complement to the overall traditional sense of the room.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Drawing Room’s dog motif should not be overlooked. While browsing one of Kemp’s design books while waiting for tea, we came across an entire chapter dedicated to decorating with dog-inspired elements and art. As two people who are more than a little bit crazy about our dog and anyone else’s, we loved seeing how dogs were subtly incorporated into the room.
Our entire experience at the Covent Garden Hotel was a wonderful one, the only downside being that our one night there was much too short. The inspiration garnered from our brief stay at this lovely hotel has me excited about the possibility of planning future trips to Firmdale properties, either nearby in New York or, once again, in London.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.