Changing perceptions: the glamorous bar at the W London hotel

Perception W London

Mark Ludmon explores W London hotel’s stunning bar The Perception

A striking new look has transformed the bar at W London hotel off Leicester Square into a new destination for drinking and dining. The original W Lounge and late-night Wyld Bar have been knocked into one and transformed into The Perception, with seven flexible areas that offer different experiences whatever your mood or the time of day.

Amsterdam-based design agency Concrete drew on classic elements of London, pulling the different zones together through 70 metres of shimmering gold bead curtain. Past the first-floor reception into the corridor dubbed “the runway”, the W Lounge area on the right is still a place for coffee or cocktails but now hosts a new dining series, featuring leading London-based chefs, with leather booths and 12 high tables topped with over 24,000 British pennies.

Ahead is the relocated bar, now circular in line with a motif that runs throughout. Alongside lounge seating, the four-station bar is lined with stools in green upholstery – some high, some like small armchairs thanks to the space’s split levels. The chevron teak floor, supplied by Hakwood, is set out in a radial pattern, continuing up the bar front where it meets a green marble top.

One of the bar’s contemporary fireplaces has been kept, now part of Playback – a circular semi-enclosed area where guests can pick through vinyl records and play them on turntables, listening on wireless headphones while relaxing on the curved sofas.

The circular DJ booth has its own exclusive VIP area, with spherical light sculptures above, taking design inspiration from British punk. For a more chilled-out experience, guests can luxuriate in large day beds, dubbed the “Pillow Talk” zone. Soho’s Frith Street Tattoo studio has created bold designs for bespoke leather sofas in the “Colour Me Bad” area, with a spherical mirrored ceiling.

What was once Wyld Bar and back of house has become Revolve, a VIP area with circular tiered seating on a red wooden platform that literally revolves, with black leather sofas and armchairs and its own theatrically lit brass-clad dispense bar. Along with the view over Leicester Square, one thing remains from Wyld: the giant disco ball.

The list of 22 signature cocktails, created by head bartender Ulises Guerrero Galvez, is just as theatrical, particularly Enjoy the Show – based on an Old Fashioned and made with Woodford Reserve bourbon infused with popcorn, chocolate bitters and a Coca-Cola foam, served in a vessel resembling a popcorn holder, topped with real popcorn.

With premium spirits and fresh ingredients, the cocktails are inspired by the area’s theatre heritage, says beverage and food director Ben Cowtan. “Our talented team of bartenders have moved away from traditional mixology with the aim of surprising guests with unusual ingredients and flavour combinations.”

The Perception at W London, 10 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QF
Tel: 020 7758 1060

Behind the scenes
Interior design: Concrete
Main contractor: Beck Interiors
Bar consultant: Strange Hill
Flooring, revolving platform: Hakwood
Lighting design: MBLD
AV: Limelight Automation
Bar system: Concept
Neon signs: Kemp London
Bespoke furniture: RHA Furniture, Ambience Designs, Channels Design
Soft furnishings: Wylies
Beaded curtain: Edge Interiors

Originally published in the February 2018 print edition of Bar magazine.

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