A nautical theme is hard to pull off without a falling prey to a hefty overdose of kitsch. At best, sea-inspired interiors evoke reminders of a Vineyard Vines catalog; at worst, the inside of a Long John Silver’s. The new Mondrian London Hotel’s lush interiors by designer Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio are a more elegant twist on the maritime theme. It’s like taking the luxury yacht out for a spin (without worrying about seasickness).
After originating in Hollywood, Mondrian-branded hotels have spread to New York and Miami, and the first international outpost opened in London last week. The hotel chain took over London’s Sea Containers House, a prominent former office building on the south bank of the Thames River that long served as the home of a maritime transportation company. The building, which renown American architect and furniture designer Warren Platner originally designed as a hotel in the 1970s, already looks quite a bit like a cruise liner, a theme that works its way into Dixon’s interior design.
While a nautical theme can often take a sharp turn for the cheesy (hopefully you don’t actually want your hotel room to feel like a ship’s bunk), Dixon manages to pull it off with retro-chic flair. The reception area features copper-clad walls that form a kind of an interior ship’s hull (for sci-fi fans, it also evokes a spaceship that wouldn’t look out of place on Battlestar Galactica). A giant Pop Art-inspired sculpture shaped like a chain in the lobby and porthole-shaped mirrors serve as reminders of the building’s seafaring past. Thankfully, the nautical theme stops at the rooms themselves; they don’t have the claustrophobic feel of a real ship’s cabin.
Room rates vary, but start around $240 a night for two people.