Last week I took a bit of a stay-cation in London to check out the latest hotel offering over in South Kensington. The Exhibitionist is brand new to London, having just opened doors last November. It’s no Holiday Inn, but it’s also no Claridge’s. In fact, The Exhibitionist feels less like a hotel and more like living in an art installation. From the moment you walk in the front door you feel as if you’ve walked into a special show at the Tate Modern. Bright lights, imposing sculptures and Beetlejuice like decor greet you before you meet the lift, which will whisk you away to your room for the evening. I say “meet” because you will never in your life expect to be met with the elevator that greets you. Of course, I quickly began to feel it would be totally out of character for the hotel to turn any corner and not have your socks knocked off. The Exhibitionist’s hotel lift is a garden, of sorts. I’m told they wanted to make their life more entertaining, as it’s an old and very slow way to travel, so they wanted their guests to have some visual candy while along for the ride.
I finally arrive at the room to find I’m booked into the Jimmie Martin penthouse suite while in residence. I must admit I was secretly hoping to get one of the basement level rooms with the plunge pools, but was equally amused to find myself in a suite filled with oddities such as a studded-seat chair. Let’s just say this was more a room about visual enjoyment than complete comfort. As I moved throughout the space I found myself confronted with a golden calf, an in-room bathtub and a lamp made out of a mannequin. Oh, and that’s just the start. Of course there were the trademark Jimmie Martin chairs, including my favourite sausage dog duo, and the aforementioned “love hurts” studded moment. The only “normal” area of the suite was outside where the balcony was relatively decor free and peaceful. I have been told, however, that the big beautiful balcony becomes an outdoor movie theatre in the summer, which is just absolutely the coolest thing going here.
While I’m one for creature comforts, I can easily understand and appreciate the appeal of The Exhibitionist hotel in South Kensington. There were quite a few couples in residence when I checked in and they all varied in age, dress sense and nationality. Seems The Exhibitionist is bringing out the curious. If you are into your modern and contemporary art scene, let’s just go ahead and say this has to be on your “to see and do” list for 2015. If you’re looking for more comfort and less pizazz, may I recommend you steer clear of the suites and book into one of the other 37 bespoke rooms in the building.
I will definitely be back. I’m thinking this would be a killer location for a cocktail party in the summer. Who’s with me?