I have heard such a lot about it - but now I wanted to try it out by myself at long last ... Blakes - a small and exclusive private hotel, designed by Anouska Hempel alias Lady Weinberg. This creative head behind the sumptuous scene is an aristocratic lady whose noble hotel - even the most well travelled producer has to admit - is definitely one of the most beautiful city hotels in the world. Recently, Anoushka Hempel opened a second Blakes Hotel in Amsterdam, equally 'black'. We wanted to learn more about this fascinating lady and what sort of philosophy inspired this 'dark dream'.
Surprisingly, its predominantly black interior, lifted with just the occasional touch of mahogany brown, rose red, gold and colonial styles is not at all gloomy or excessively dramatic as one might have expected. On the contrary, it is very inviting!
THE BLAKES HOTEL
Click to enlarge pictures
Blakes was created out of two Victorian mansions in South Kensington. The hotel is a personal statement about what design can achieve. Each of the 52 bedrooms has been designed by Anouska Hempel, every detail reconstructed to provide the ideal blend of colour, texture and atmosphere. The colour schemes are daring, stunning and dramatic, all designed with a vibrant spirit, the passion for travel and life as it should be, romantic and thought provoking. Black and mustard, rich cardinal reds, lavender, vanilla, washes of tea rose and a room that is white on white on white on white, offering style and elegance to the discerning traveller. In the business of making dreams a reality, unable to accept the ordinary Anouska Hempel is creating a world of excellence one room at a time.
Respected for protecting the privacy of its clients against the paparazzi, it's the London base of film stars, musicians and all the top designers earning the reputation as the "couture hotel". Blakes restaurant has a reputation for the originality and contents of its menu. The cuisine, devised by Anouska Hempel, is a skilful blend of East and West, together with imaginative dishes of her own, all elegantly presented to look as good as they taste.
Relying primarily on word of mouth recommendation, Blakes has continued to maintain its position as unique and original. The current refurbishments are on-going, under the highly creative and ever critical eye of its owner.
How did you come to be in this business?
So you really began with this hotel? And then suddenly found that you had become a specialist for interior design. .
What made you choose such dark colours?
What else do you do?
Blakes is Lady Weinberg's personal masterpiece. One thing is certain: without a reservation, there is no chance of getting a table - the same applies for the rooms, because even without advertising Blakes is constantly fully booked. The swan bed in the "Silver Suite 309" has already been copied three times for guests who fell in love with it and those with the necessary 'small change' can even buy the entire furnishings another of the secrets behind the success of the popular interior designer, Anoushka Hempel.
What would you do, for example, if I said I wanted to buy the entire room?
Has that ever happened?
Not born with a title, Anouschka Hempel originally comes from Australia where she worked as waitress before she moved to London. Today, she is the wife of the highly respected financial mogul, Sir Marc Weinberg, resides in a palace and runs this small luxury hotel which is now an insider meeting point.
The hotel restaurant is London's gourmet tip for those who like to feast their eyes as well as their taste-buds! The regular crowd is great fun, a colourful potpourri of actors, couturiers and advertising executives. Before dinner one should enjoy a good drink in the Chinese room. Robert de Niro or Jean-Paul Gaultier have sipped their whiskeys at this bar. Whilst we settle down for a nice evening, Lady Weinberg busily scurries to and from the private booth. The tireless Lady, who also successfully opened her second hotel 'The Hempel' - has managed to throw a party for 20 guests in just a few hours.
THE HEMPEL HOTEL
Conceived by Anouska Hempel, The Hempel Hotel and Garden Square, just north of London's Hyde Park, is a breathtaking statement in design. Each of the 41 guest rooms (220-290 £) and 6 apartments (440-1300 £) reveals an understated and timeless luxury. Complemented by a new standard of service and technology, The Hempel presents a truly unique environment.
The I-Thai restaurant - the hotel's signature restaurant -, symbolises the meeting of Oriental and European cuisine, design and culture. The food focuses on the essence of Thailand, Italy and Japan, whilst the eclectic wine list covers some of the best wineries from Europe and the New World.
The restaurant and Shadow bar attract mainly fashion people and celebrities.
33 Roland Gardens, London SW7 3PF
31-35 Craven Hill Gardens, London. W2 3EA
T: ++44-207-2989000; F: ++44-207-4024666
* This special feature "Anouska Hempel" has been one of more than 200 VIP-Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for Nathalies-Lifestyle.com © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction or other use of any text, photographs, etc. needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.