My stay at The Pilgrm was a press stay in exchange for this post.
There’s no shortage of achingly cool new build hotels in London. It seems one opens up every month what with all the expansions happening across the city. There are few, however, that blend seamlessly into the history of a building with the finesse with which The Pilgrm does. And yes, that’s Pilgrm, no ‘i’. Not even a stone’s throw from Paddington Station, this no-frills luxury hotel is ceiling-to-floor with custom built, reclaimed design.
Cobalt blue tiles across the front of a groundfloor Workshop Coffee announce The Pilgrm as a meeting point, light streaming into the reception across a partially tiled floor. There’s no traditional lobby here – that’s the point. Instead, you’re greeted inside the cafe and checked in quickly on an iPad. Walking in, you could be tricked into thinking that the building had always been this way – the grand mahogany staircase and wall mounted leather seats. Yet, The Pilgrm is a shining example of reclamation, renovation and innovation brought into being by Sheffield based architecture studio 93ft.
What began life as a collection of Victorian buildings on Norfolk Square has been transformed into 73 bedrooms across a series of wings and multi-levels. A feeling of understated luxe runs through the interior; from original cornices in the rooms to 200-year-old reclaimed mahogany floorboards repurposed into headboards and wall panelling. There’s something very 19th century Paris about it. Architectural salvage enhances the heritage of the building, in fact, the majority of the furniture was designed and produced by 93ft, fitting the hotel out with over 1,000 unique pieces. Somehow, this blend of old-new materials brings a well-worn feeling into a this recently launched building.
If you can be sustainable, why wouldn’t you? When it comes to interiors, a beautiful historic building gives us a history, we like to work with what’s already there, we don’t believe in throwaway culture”.
– Tim Hubbard, 93ft
Rooms are split into Bunk, Small, Medium and Large each with a bijou black and white tiled shower room. Making the most of the available space, rooms are kitted out with custom mirror fronted hanging rails and metal bedside shelves. Ceiling lights are thankfully vetoed for sleek black wall lamps – so no banging your head in the smaller rooms. Elegant mid-grey walls contrast the white Egyptian cotton bedding and a Marshall Bluetooth speaker is very welcome for kicking back with your own playlist. Galvanised steel planters on the wall offer a homely, personal touch alongside unique pieces of art.
Staying true to its mantra ‘Everything you truly need, nothing you don’t’, you won’t find mini-bars, trouser presses or tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms here. Should you need a cuppa first thing though, there are communal Pantry rooms on the landing of each floor, which I think is a thoughtful touch.
For something more substantial though, the Lounge serves up a mean menu from 7am – 10pm. Exhausted at the end of a manic week covering LDF, the last thing we wanted to do was head back out to eat. Thankfully, staying in at The Pilgrm is definitely the new going out. Set amongst old-world glamour with its polished parquet floor is the green velvet banquette made for indulgent lounging. The dark green window behind it is yet another custom piece, which with its inset brass downlights I was surprised to learn it wasn’t an original feature. 30 antique German cocktail chairs sourced and reupholstered by 93ft added to the charm of the room and were a welcome backdrop to our quiet dinner (and obligatory glass of Prosecco). If you’re a breakfast person, I totally recommend the ‘Pilgrm Continental’, served on top of the marble bar featuring fresh pastries, homemade yoghurts and other locally sourced delights. Weekend rates start at £149 a night (small room) and breakfast is not included.
The Pilgrm marks a promising new direction for hotel experiences. Doing away with frivolous luxuries and focusing on atmosphere and hospitality is where it gets it right. I only hope more follow suit in revitalising and repurposing materials in the way they have. Of course, it fosters a greater sense of responsibility but also brings a feeling of home and comfort you can find only in design with history. And the coffee is great.