A turn-of-the-century London church, in the heart of historic Bloomsbury district on Southampton Row, has been transformed into a decadent boutique hotel that boasts one of London’s hottest new restaurants.
Designed by famed architect and interior designer, L’Oscar Hotel is situated on the site of the former headquarters and congress centre for the Baptist Church. Built in 1903, the property fell into disuse in the early 1990s and was on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ list. After a £40m development, the Grade II-listed property opened last year as a five-star hotel named after the Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.
Located near Holborn Tube Station, the ultra-stylish space still has traces of the building’s baroque beginnings with oak-panelling floors, mahogany joinery, religious plaques and Edwardian floor-to-ceiling windows. Those details have been amplified through more flamboyant touches from Garcia, the designer behind Hôtel Costes in Paris, with embossed leather wallpaper, seven-storey chandeliers, velvet furnishings and crystal tap handles shaped like butterflies.
The rooms are incredibly theatrical and decorated with silk, velvet and damasks in jewel tones. Private fireplaces are located in every guest room and some rooms are fitted out with furniture salvaged from the original church building.
Downstairs, one of the standout spaces is the Baptist Grill, an octagonal-shaped restaurant, topped with a glass dome that’s located in the original 1903 chapel. The restaurant is headed by Michelin-starred chef Tony Fleming who serves up extraordinary dishes like ravioli stuffed with crab in broth, curried shepherd’s pie, Dover sole and an excellent list of puddings. Naturally, it’s already winning rave reviews and becoming a favourite among the theatre set.
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