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Seven Cultural Reasons to Stay at St Martins Lane in London
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Seven Cultural Reasons to Stay at St Martins Lane in London

Picture of Culture Trip
Updated: 27 January 2016
Located in Covent Garden at the heart of Central London, St. Martins Lane, designed by Philippe Starck, rejects branded style in favour of innovative features and a new kind of chic elegance. From excellent fusion dining to locally renowned cocktails in the sophisticated bar, St Martins Lane offers guests traditional luxury with a contemporary twist. With its emphasis on colour and avant-garde design, we look at 7 cultural reasons why you should stay at this inner-city haven.
st martin's lane
Courtesy of St Martins Lane

Cutting-Edge Décor by Renowned French Designer Philippe Starck

Aficionados of interior design will be well acquainted with the work of French designer Philippe Starck. Rejecting the homogeneity that has become associated with brand hotels, Starck’s fluid collision of styles and aesthetic genres produces an ‘anti-brand’ space, unpretentiously refusing to comply with trends or passing fads. In each room, Italian leaning mirrors and structured television cabinets by Starck are found alongside African stools custom-made in rural villages, as well as English begonias in terracotta pots perfectly blending the ultra-contemporary with a unique rustic charm.

st martin's lane
Courtesy of St Martins Lane

Asian-Latin Fine Dining in Art Exhibition Setting

Under the direction of world-renowned restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, Asia de Cuba is an elegant fusion of Latin and Asian influences, a hybrid that is as palatable as it is sophisticated. The restaurant also houses a collection of five huge, striking ‘art columns’, each the backdrop for a different artistic display. These displays are changed regularly and have included everything from a column of shelves to hold books designed by film set-designer Michael Howells, to a blackboard colonnade in which guests can contribute their own artistic musings.

asia de cuba
Afternoon tea in Asia de Cuba | Courtesy Asia de Cuba

Classic 1960s Architecture with a Modern Twist

Housed in a former 1960s office building, St. Martins Lane emerged from humble beginnings. The steel-and-glass structure has however, been injected with a new lease of life thanks to the architectural prowess of Philippe Starck. Elegantly tall, the yellow-glass revolving doors mark the hotel’s emphasis on both functionality and innovation, whilst the open plan lobby, with its luminous yellow and crisp white colour palette, provides a fresh and warm introduction to the space. This playful emphasis on colour is present throughout the hotel, with guests able to programme the ‘mood’ of their rooms through a system of individually adaptable coloured lights. This results in the hotel becoming particularly striking when seen from the street: the building’s seven stories of wall-to-ceiling windows project a glowing mosaic of light and colour.

st martin's lane
Courtesy of St Martins Lane

An Avant-Garde Light Installation in the Bar: A Unique Experience

Not your average watering hole, the Light Bar’s dramatic use of light and colour creates an absorbing visual space. Divided into four areas, each centring around a different colour — orange, pink, violet and green — the bar is a ‘monochrome dream world’ of colour and design. Everything within each section is fashioned in the exact same shade, from the 20 foot high walls to the chrome Starck-designed chairs – all bathed in softly coloured light. As guests enter these spaces they are themselves immersed in colour, becoming part of the living monochrome installation.

st martin's lane
Courtesy of St Martins Lane

Nearby Cultural Attractions

London Film Museum – Displaying exhibitions centred around all things cinema, the London Film Museum takes inspiration from the city that has inspired countless cinematic masterpieces. The museum is currently showing a selection of James Bond cars, sure to spark the interest of both film buffs and automobile enthusiasts.

Sandemans Tours – Departing every day from the corner of the Covent Garden Piazza, this free walking tour is an absolute must. The guides are enthusiastic and provide a balance of personal stories, historical facts and urban legends. Tours run regardless of weather conditions.

Somerset House and Courtauld Gallery – Somerset House is one of London’s iconic landmarks, a stunning example of neoclassical architecture. Whilst the towering 18th century building is a spectacle in its own right, it is also home to the Courtauld Gallery, which houses one of the world’s greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, as well as a magnificent selection of works spanning from the Renaissance to the 20th Century.

The British Museum – The British Museum is a cultural haven. Highlights include the Egyptian mummies, the Elgin Marbles and the Rosetta Stone – signature pieces which attract visitors from across the world. To avoid the crowds, check out some of the 100 other galleries in the museum, such as the Islamic and Korean rooms which are often cool, quiet and full of intriguing artefacts.

The Royal Opera House – With its impressive 19th century architecture and world-class productions, the Royal Opera House offers a truly special and unique treat for culture lovers. Home of the Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and its very own Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the theatre is a true musical landmark. Take the Backstage Tour which provides a wonderful insight into the history of the site and its role as a fully functioning theatre.

british museum
British Museum | © Steff/WikiCommons

The Best of London’s Contemporary Art Scene

London’s reputation as an international creative hub is undeniable, but nowhere encapsulates this more than Soho. Formally the site of the Capital’s sordid underbelly, Soho has transformed in recent years to become one of central London’s most fashionable areas, housing a blossoming collection of contemporary galleries and art spaces. From the re-imagined Edwardian warehouse-turned-contemporary-photography-space, The Photographer’s Gallery, to the exhibition venue of Banksy’s renowned former-patron Steve Lazarides, Soho undoubtedly lives up to its historic reputation for entertainment.

lazarides gallery
Miaz Brothers Exhibition at Lazarides | © Ian Cox and Lazarides Gallery

Theatre-Dining Experiences

Dinner and theatre are a perfect match so it is unsurprising that Covent Garden – with its prime location on the cusp of London’s famous West End – is at the cutting edge of the city’s world class culinary scene. Enjoy opulent pre-show French fine-dining at the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon or the mouth-watering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free offerings of Food For Thought, where speed and efficiency mix harmoniously with a homely atmosphere and generous portion sizes. For an after-show treat head to the Opera Tavern, a converted, traditional British pub now home to one of London’s most popular tapas restaurants.

Dishoom Restaurant | Courtesy Dishoom