This Luxury Hotel in Covent Garden is a Delightful Mix of Heritage, Culture and Decorative Arts

The NoMad Hotel, set in a nineteenth-century building, has been re-envisioned as a 91-room luxury hotel and home for the global nomad

London is calling, and there’s no better place to stay than the NoMad Hotel, located in Covent Garden, opposite The Royal Opera House. Taking residence in the Grade II-listed building famously known as The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station. This is the brand’s most intimate property at 91 rooms including 21 suites, centred around several exquisite dining and drinking spaces in the NoMad tradition. 

Bringing together the finest creative talents in architecture, design, art curation, food, beverage, and hospitality, each NoMad explores the artistic, cultural and historic interplay between its home city of New York and European culture. In London, NoMad lends its residential warmth and casual elegance to the storied building, layering it with rich interiors and a playful spirit that is decidedly NoMad.

Drawing its origins in New York, it is a fitting combination that Roman and Williams helmed the rebirth of the building and the establishment of the brand's presence in London - with all previous NoMad Hotels having been designed by Jacques Garcia. The opening of the hotel came on the heels of Roman and Williams' most recent opening, of the British Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, again binding this decidedly American ethos with the rich history of decorative arts and exchange across the history of the United Kingdom. Grounded by this narrative, and an ethos rooted in creating voltage by uniting complementary forces – the muscular character of the historic architecture is animated with interjections of softness, glamour, and a cosmopolitan spirit. Says Robin Standefer, co-founder of Roman and Williams, “The spirit of the London NoMad is collected and fundamentally residential. It embraces a New Romanticism that has a powerful contrast with the grit and strength of the courthouse. From rich textured textiles to aesthetic inspired woodwork to ethereal murals, the space evokes a grand residence but always tempered with a bohemian spirit that Stephen and I infuse into every Roman and Williams project.” Continues co-founder Stephen Alesch, “With all our projects we want people to feel comfortable and curious. On a journey of discovery that is familiar even if it’s from a dream they may have had. The NoMad is meant to be beautiful, bohemian and evocative all at once. The building is so powerful and remarkable that you are embraced by its strength, while the rich and textured interiors balance the bones. There is a tension between this muscularity and softness that creates a powerful narrative for the guest. There are many stories to discover and hopefully to create.”

NoMad London is also home to a world-class art programme that celebrates the influence of post-war American art and the European avant-garde. A collaboration with long-time Sydell creative partners, be-poles, the hotel accommodates a curation of over 1,600 collected and commissioned works by a variety of British and international artists that lends a deeply layered narrative to the hotel experience. For the first time in a NoMad hotel, abstract art is featured in reference to the Abstract Expressionist movement, which represents a significant moment in New York’s influence on modern art.

Antoine Ricardou, founder of studio be-poles, says: "The art for NoMad London was carefully curated to explore the exchange of creative ideas between New York and London. The full collection is not only a unique ode to the neighborhood of Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House across the street, but to the NoMad’s American roots, creating a rich narrative that blends photographs, sculptures, ceramics, paintings, drawings and more."

Guests arrive through the grand port cochere, now elevated to introduce the transportative experience awaiting. A dynamic mix of dining and cocktail venues await, the first of which might be the Library - the two-story space is evocative of this NoMad hallmark at other locations, with sumptuous millwork setting the serious, but playful, tone. The Elephant Bar embraces again the well-travelled essence of The NoMad, with the familiar and unexpected flourishes of chartreuse and ebonized wood. The Magistrates Court is a bold re-imaging of this once very serious room, with a dreamscape quite literally taking over the architecture to serve as backdrop for functions and events. The pre-existing coal vaults find new life as lounges and discovered haunts. Custom lighting and furniture all designed by Roman and Williams accentuate the spaces. And with perhaps the most dramatic interjection is the three-story Atrium, built anew by enclosing the former courtyard with a glass ceiling and steel structure. A new wing of the building meets the historic at this point, and the Atrium exists as a certain nexus point of the hotel. The formal meets the informal, the tamed meets the wild. At the NoMad London, old and new find themselves again in embrace, connected and liberated.

Words: Emily Leung & Nikey Cheng
Photos: Benoit Linero & Simon Upton
Published on March 18, 2022