The precise meaning of luxury is up for debate as consumers and companies struggle to find their footing in these troubled economic times, but newly opened hotel Rough Luxe offers a fresh take on the concept. Billing itself as “A little bit of luxury in a rough part of London. A little bit of rough in a luxurious London,” the chic abode is a model of creative contrasts.
The brainchild of London-based designer and curator Rabih Hage, Rough Luxe juxtaposes dog-earred wallpaper and chipped paint with flamboyant furnishings. One bathroom, for instance, features a copper bathtub from Turkey and original wallpaper, circa 1831-1855, found after removing four layers of other wallpaper. “This was when I…decided that we need to show the story of the building with its textures and fabrics,” Hage said. And indeed the slightly rundown exterior of the Georgian townhouse establishes the mood from the outset.
A popular quirk is the “Anger Release Machine,” an interactive sculpture by Yarisal and Kublitz located in the manager’s office. Depending on how much rage you need to expunge, you can spend anything from £1 for a simple kitchen glass to £12 for a faux faberge egg. Just insert a coin, and a piece of china will fall into the bottom of the machine, breaking into a million pieces. It’s surprisingly satisfying.
Whatever you think of the eccentric decor, the service at the nine-room hotel can’t be beat. The manager, Leo, and his canine companion, Spud the Jack Russell terrier mix, made us feel right at home, and even offered complimentary champagne and a tour of the private gallery at the back of the hotel. With rooms from £150 and up, the price isn’t much worse than any standard London convention hotel, but the atypical hospitality is priceless.
For more information, see www.roughluxe.co.uk.