With its proximity to Hyde Park and Palace, Bayswater in West London is famous for its streets lined with grand terraces of white stucco houses and garden squares. Among these is the iconic building and former department store – Whiteleys –which will soon become home to Six Senses London.
The property, which will include a hotel, wellness club and spa, is the brand’s first venture in the UK. Boasting 110 guest rooms and suites, starting from 355 square feet (33 square meters) in size, the project will celebrate the building’s origins while embracing modern living. In addition to the rooms and suites, there will also be 14 branded residences, with their owners having the added benefit of all the privileges that come with a Six Senses home, including bespoke interior design, concierge service, dining, housekeeping and wellness programming.
Sustainable heritage preservation
Taking its name from visionary entrepreneur, William Whiteley, Whiteleys has a long-standing heritage. William opened his first drapery shop in Westbourne Grove in 1863 and just over a decade later, the shop had grown to a department store described as “an immense symposium of the arts and industries of the nation and of the world”. Once a vibrant destination that became the central hub of the surrounding neighborhood, Whiteleys was then redeveloped in the 1980s into a shopping center with a cinema and bowling alley. In 2018, after a decrease in popularity, it closed its doors after which it was snapped up for the new Six Senses property.
The building’s redevelopment is led by a Meyer Bergman-advised fund, with the preeminent residential real estate developer Finchatton as the development manager. In collaboration with the British architectural firm, Foster + Partners, renowned for its eco credentials and responsible design approach, this historic landmark will become a sensitively restored mixed-use development. The original Grade II façade, central courtyard and dome will all be preserved, as will the majestic internal staircase (modeled on the La Scala opera house in Milan), which features as the centerpiece on the ground floor of the hotel.
Design inspired by connectivity
The development’s interior’s are, too, inspired by the Whiteleys building’s origins. Designed by internationally celebrated AvroKO in conjunction with executive architects EPR, Six Senses London will blend classical detailing, art deco styling and modern streamlining to graceful interiors. To add a touch of local culture to the preserved Great Exhibition mood, contemporary art from British artists will be displayed throughout the hotel.
The Six Senses brand philosophy of connection to people and nature is central to the convivial and biophilic tone of the ground floor which is home to a cozy lobby bar and lounge as well as an all-day dining restaurant with an open kitchen and seating area in the courtyard. Much of the lobby’s character derives from its verdant, elegant and eclectic style. Imaginative planting, textured fabrics, bespoke flooring, reclaimed wood furniture and upholstery in natural tones create a comfortable and welcoming public space that encourages guests to socialize, eat, play or simply be.
“I feel nostalgic when talking about Whiteleys. I grew up in the neighborhood and my parents used to bring me here,” says Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs. “It is a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to this heritage and bring our brand values to life in this part of town, while celebrating our first port of call for Six Senses in the UK.”
Non-conventional approach to wellness
In light of today’s hyper-connected world and stressed lifestyle, the Six Senses Spa will be an integral part of the hotel’s offering. In a space reminiscent of an old-fashioned London underground station, the spa journey will mirror the different energies of the city life, from the sensory stimulation and movement of the street to the stillness and calm of a quiet café or park. In this way, lively and vibrant areas flow into more serene and silent ones to offer energizing and restorative sensations; a perfectly balanced environment in which to achieve overall well-being. Highlights include 3,500 square feet (325 square meters) dedicated to fitness, a 65-foot (20-meter) indoor swimming pool, an Alchemy Bar and a relaxation room with vaulted ceilings.
On the second floor, residents and members will access a new kind of social and wellness club. Away from the density and intensity of the city, this space will feature a central bar and lounge, coworking spaces, a restaurant and wellness rooms, and offer pioneering programming to encourage growth, reflection and reconnection.
Marcus Meijer, chief executive officer of Meyer Bergman commented, “We are very excited to announce the agreement with Six Senses. It’s a key element in the transformation of Whiteleys as well as the wider Queensway regeneration plan. The Six Senses brand stands for luxury, design, wellness and sustainability, values that form the keystone of our vision for this vibrant part of London.”
Finchatton Co-founder Alex Michelin said, “Six Senses London will be a first, not only having best-in-class spa and amenities, but also a new kind of social and wellness club unlike anything we have seen in London or for that matter, in a new development. We identified Six Senses as the ideal partner for the Whiteleys redevelopment with wellness at its core and also experiential pioneering programs. These are things which will be at the heart of the new Whiteleys offer and we look forward to creating something really incredible together.”
With unrivaled experience in delivering intelligent and inspiring urban solutions, Meyer Bergman is a privately-owned real estate investment management firm with a portfolio of real estate projects across Europe and the US. London head-quartered Finchatton specializes in creating bespoke homes for the world’s most discerning clientele around the world.
Six Senses London is slated to open in 2023.
Images © Lightfield for Foster + Partners.