Long-time collaborators Jason Catifeoglou, Andreas Thrasyvoulou, and Steph Thrasyvoulou opened up The Pilgrm at the tail-end of 2017 in Paddington. Credentials aplenty, the chaps are responsible for some of London’s finest hospitality brands; including MyHotels, The Zetter (and their Townhouses), and restaurant Grain Store. At the core of The Pilgrm concept is imaginative restoration and the urge to make what was once beautiful, beautiful again. The romantic idea champions honest craftsmanship and a sense of provenance, with an acute elegance that ticks all the boxes.
The hotel has been entirely remastered by award-winning Sheffield studio 93 in close collaboration with the founders. An all-encompassing redesign where not a grain of stone or a splinter of wood is ignored, they are responsible for the interior architecture of The Pilgrm’s 73 bedrooms and public spaces. The studio also created 1,000 pieces of unique furniture and one-off lighting pieces — via their furniture offshoot 93 Makes — as well as the Paddington hotel’s branding and website.
The lovingly-restored Victorian building comprises of four townhouses stitched together over multiple floors; the frontage welcoming travellers with its spectacular black wood and glass accented with blue ceramic tiles. Once inside, a traditional reception has been replaced with a coffee bar/shop concept that strips away the formal check-in. One of the most spectacular features of the area is its solid wood staircase, which took over 300 hours to restore to its formative glory. Above is a large contemporary tubular light chandelier, and eye-catching details prevail throughout.
At the heart of The Pilgrm is The Lounge on the first floor — here there is a sense of exalted members’ clubs with its luxury banquettes, opulent fabrics, and attentive staff. Its floors are reclaimed, as is the large mirror and fireplace, and there’s a clever mix of pared-back contemporary design that sits in harmony with the period features. Floor to ceiling windows reiterate the provenance of the Victorian building, and it’s here where you’ll find the hotel’s refined food offering.
From breakfast to cocktails there’s an all-day international menu nodding to, rather than catering for, pilgrims from across the globe. Expect all the latest foodie trends from kimchi rice and tea-poached eggs to fish tacos; Crosstown Doughnuts for breakfast, grilled cheese sourdough, and a selection of cocktails designed by top names from the mixology world (including Tony Conigliaro) for lunch or dinner. In the evenings this is probably one of the best bars in the area, bar maybe The Frontline Club, with a vibrant buzz and great libations. Paddington is still a neighbourhood ‘in progress’, after all.
The rooms are categorised into Bunk, Small, Medium, and Large, and have an air of luxury to them. As with the rest of the hotel, each room contains everything modern pilgrims might need on their travels; except sound-proofed windows or air conditioning (ridiculous as it sounds, you can actually open a window). In the large rooms the beds are as big as islands, with 100% organic cotton mattresses that are worth lying-in for. More restored wooden panelling on the walls and floors set off the simplicity of the décor. Bathrooms are delightful with enamel sinks, floor to ceiling ceramic tiling, low-wastage soap-on-a-rope, and spacious showers.
The Pilgrm really does have an international feel. At times one thinks of an apartment in Paris, at others Stockholm or Vienna, yet rarely Paddington. Art by Keith Cunningham, Jo Bondy, and Lydia Makin adorn the hotel’s walls. Plant arrangements by Hackney plant legends Conservatory Archives are dotted across the entire building.
London journalist and DJ, Kate Hutchinson, has expertly curated the playlist and Tom Dixon designed the unsettlingly-fabulous ‘cloud’ carpets. A mini library of magazines in the café, and little treasures in the form of ceramics and wooden sculptures all emphasise unrivalled attention to detail. Add pantries for guests and Ren toiletries in the rooms, and you know that The Pilgrm is more than just a hotel.
It is telling its own story of travel, designers, makers, and the brands it admires locally and globally. The Pilgrm is a beautiful restoration and reappropriation project that has stripped-back the unnecessary and added the exemplary.