On the Scene: The New Sir Paul Smith Suite at Brown’s Hotel

Colorful Paul Smith stripes and style, sexy mid-century vibes––and you can buy what you like––this might be the coolest collab in London hotel history. Iconic London fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has partnered with Rocco Forte Hotels’ Director of Design Olga Polizzi to create the hotel suite at Brown’s Hotel, joining the hotel’s other signature suites—the Dover Suite and the Kipling Suite—and bringing a new style option within the property’s 115 guestrooms. London correspondent Emily Goldfischer was among the first to check it out.

What to expect: 

A sense of whimsy hits you before you even open the door of the Sir Paul Smith Suite: The handle is in the shape of a banana and, once inside, the scene is set to feel more like you’ve entered the living room of a cool, stylish English friend than a hotel room. A huge gallery wall of 40 artworks, prints and photographs––including some limited-edition images from photographer Julian Broad, a friend of Smith’s who shot his wedding pictures––serves as an eye-catching focal point of the spacious living room, which also features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking charming Dover Street from its first-floor aspect (it was formerly the Hellenic Suite).

The suite is furnished with an eclectic mix of hand-picked custom and vintage furniture, rugs and soft furnishings from the Paul Smith home collection, which debuted in 2022. Think: Smith’s signature striped pillows offset with blues and creams, plus lots of smooth mid-century wooden accents, a cozy fireplace and colorful Anglepoise lamps. Good to know: Many items can also be purchased for the ultimate souvenir, either online or through a forthcoming catalog to be placed in the suite.

“Being asked to design a space for such an iconic Mayfair institution is a great privilege—and I’ve had a great deal of fun in the process! On a more personal level, I’m so pleased we’ve been able to include objects that inspire me personally and I hope, in turn, they’ll inspire the suite’s guests,” Smith said of the project.

Personal touches include Christopher Simon Sykes’ impressive photograph of Chatsworth House library and, notably, Paul Smith’s 1970s leather desk chair by Mario Bellini and a fun robot figurine made from a vintage camera. He has also curated a small library of art and design books, which can easily be enjoyed in the comfortable sofas and armchairs––the space is made for relaxing, plus there’s a dining table for easy in-room eating or entertaining. 

In contrast to the living room, the bedroom is in calm shades of cream and soft yellow with a large king bed, and a separate seating area. The bathroom is large, with a double marble shower and a separate bathtub with a TV at one end. The hotel uses organic Irene Forte Skincare toiletries, a certified B-Corp owned by the daughter of Rocco Forte, which smell and feel amazing.

Good to know: The Sir Paul Smith Suite can be combined with two neighboring guest rooms to create a three-bedroom suite, ideal for families.

A Refresh of the Drawing Room Completes the Ground-Floor Renovation

Brown's Hotel's Drawing Room

In addition to the new suite, the hotel is in top form thanks to the recent completion of ground-floor renovations with a new look for the Drawing Room, where Queen Victoria once took tea. The redone space is lovely with original wood paneling, striking contemporary artworks, and comfortable seating in rich red velvet accented with florals. Everything feels very fresh, yet classic and true to Olga Polizzi’s signature style. Afternoon Tea is served here (booking essential) as well as an all-day menu. The completion of the Drawing Room follows a larger restoration of the hotel from its British springtime-inspired front hall, which was completed in 2019, the signature Donovan Bar with its rich green velvety tones, and restaurant Charlie’s, which boasts playful foliage patterns, both finished in 2018. 

Brown’s is the oldest hotel in London, having opened in 1837, and legend goes Churchill once said “I don't stay in a hotel. I stay in Brown's." If by that, Churchill meant a place with a warm, familiar atmosphere, that essence certainly lives on. During our visit, every space was humming with attentive staff serving a well-heeled clientele, a mix of Londoners and American visitors, the hotel’s largest international market.

Quintessentially British with a hint of the unexpected, the food and drinks hit all the right notes, from the English fare at Charlie's to the sexy Italian bar crew at Donovan’s mixing up a menu of dozens of martinis with flair, to perfect Afternoon Tea in the new Drawing Room.  Speaking of tea, for the Coronation of King Charles, the hotel is doing a special Afternoon Tea with Boodles, England's most historic and family-run fine diamond jeweler, known for their rare pink diamonds, at its flagship store across the street. Naturally, the tea features pink champagne, plus 17 types of tea—including Brown’s signature blend–finger sandwiches, an assortment of delicate pastries, fruit and plain scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, as well as freshly baked cakes, and most importantly, the chance (or excuse) for more shopping!

The Paul Smith Suite starts at £5,500 (approx $6,665) and is already proving quite popular. For VIP bookings, email Annalisa Sudano, director of sales, Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel, at [email protected].

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