Not for the faint-hearted but definitely for travel connoisseurs, this theatrical hotel in a series of late-Victorian townhouses was the first venture of Anouska Hempel, a.k.a. Lady Weinberg, the wife of leading city financier Sir Mark Weinberg. The dramatic results reflect her fashion and acting background.
Blakes's style is esoteric with strong themes running through each room's décor, from Biedermeier furniture to black Oriental lacquer. There are lots of swagged curtains, trompe l'œil wall treatments and marble in the bathrooms. Each bedroom is different, startling and idiosyncratic, some with painted floorboards, others with fantasy beds.
Some might accuse Hempel of over-decoration, and fans of minimalism should definitely steer clear, but this place is enormous fun and not surprisingly goes down big with celebrities who make up most of the guests. No doubt they appreciate the gorgeous aesthetics and amenities such as fireplaces and private balconies.
Downstairs, Blakes restaurant displays Hempel's keen interest in the Orient, with Japanese "Kyoto Country Breakfasts." There is also an expensive but beautifully executed international menu that attracts a glamorous clientele. The hotel has an affiliation with Holmes Place health club. It has a sister property in Amsterdam.