In an irony Oscar Wilde would have appreciated, a place of piety that has been transformed into a place of decadence.
While original biblical Doulton terracotta panels still line the walls, simple pleasures are amplified with bespoke scents by Roja Dove, and leather and velvet-draped walls, as L’oscar now celebrates a more sensual devotion. Uniquely sophisticated, the hotel sits in the heart of London’s Southampton Row, within a whisper of the city, Theatreland, Soho, and the West End.
L’oscar’s past is as intriguing as its future. Built between 1901 and 1903, in a style coined "Edwardian Free Baroque", it was the London headquarters of the Baptist Church. Architect Arthur Keen mixed ‘Wrenaissance’ style with Arts & Crafts influences, working with some of the best artists and craftsmen of the time to create much of the exterior and interior design: ornately plastered ceilings, carved fireplaces, oak panelling, and finely worked plaques.
Sadly, the building’s fifth floor was damaged by a bomb in World War II. Later, the church’s congregation dwindled and by 1961, there were just 12 worshippers in the chapel on a Sunday morning. It closed to churchgoers soon afterwards and the building was bought by London Transport before its ‘miraculous’ revival began in 2012 with many of its features beautifully restored by master craftsman from across the world.
Theatrical decor by Jacques Garcia
Given the history of the Bloomsbury Group, the Arts & Crafts decoration of the building and the theatrical tradition of the area, it was only natural that Jacques Garcia was chosen to create an attractive interior in a typically non-English style.
L’oscar showcases the theatrical opulence in which the Parisian interior design excels: stylized peacock motif doors, a mirrored counter at the center of the hotel’s Baptist Bar, hollow-stem Champagne coupes, butterfly wing taps and an eclectic range of objets d’art scattered around the hotel.
Apart from its absolute commitment to service and standards, L’oscar does not take itself too seriously.
There is a hint of irreverence, a nod towards decadence, a touch of the risqué. There is eloquence, entertainment, humor and wit in its presentation. L’oscar is determined to place every temptation in front of its guests, gastronomically, visually and tangibly – all with impeccable levels of service.
‘I am, before everything, a creator of atmosphere.’Jacques Garcia