House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Tara Bernerd

The design consultant oversees the final stages in the birth of a hotel

Tara Bernerd

November 30 2011
Tara Bernerd

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Was it a day, or was it a few hours? Time seemed to go faster than I could keep up with yesterday.

The morning began with a cup of coffee, still instant and basic, and that feeling of peace before the day began to unwind. My first port of call was a site visit to Belgraves, our hotel project for the Thompson group’s London flagship. This established hotel group is fast becoming one of the edgiest and most stylish international ones, manned by the very cool Jason Pomeranc. The London opening is imminent and as floors go down and our building site has dwindled from 170 men to 130, Norman (the foreman) and I went to inspect all of the most recent developments. Eighty-five bedrooms and suites are signed off, and now it’s the lobby, restaurant and bars. It’s the most uncanny feeling, somewhere between excitement and nerves, like unwrapping one big Christmas present. The mix of wood and stone flooring and ceramic tile areas was all there to be seen – for now, for my eyes only.

My love affair with wood flooring is everlasting. In this instance a very subtle grey tone has proved a good challenge to ensure consistency, and it must be said that Silvan Floors have been fantastic. Then it was corridors and a few other items for “snagging” – the process of going round a site to tick off small inconsistencies and bits to fix. (Have no fear, I shall spare you the snagging list!)

By the time I arrived back, it was a flurry of calls, concentrating on new proposals, speaking with lawyers regarding new contracts; and then the dreaded 1pm arrived. Not that I usually dread lunchtime – however, after some monumental travel this last two months I have to confess that the gym did not get a look-in. Therefore it was pretty begrudgingly that I dragged myself to KX for a frightening wake-up call with Pete, the sweetest of scary personal trainers. KX is the sort of place I try to get to when there is no one around, as its members are certainly as polished as its beautiful interiors.

Before arriving, though, a few distractions of the retail kind. First, a “pop-up” James Perse shop and frankly as the best on the soft T-shirt front, it was impossible not to stop by. It’s where I usually stock up on favourite T-shirts, whenever I am in its fantastic Malibu store, which incidentally is a haven for this product – the experience flows from clothes into lifestyle. I must recommend anyone heading to Malibu to search out this flagship LA store.

Back at the office, Jenny Halpern was waiting for a meeting re our Center Parcs projects, the focus this week being the Treehouses, which have been a huge success, and talk of the fifth Parc to come. She was looking as glamorous as ever, carrying an unmissable fluorescent orange Kelly bag made of rubber (clearly not quite Hermès; and, as I soon discovered, a B-bag from Leghilà in Duke of York Square). Even I, with my love of colour, found the bag a bit on the bright side, but certainly noticeable.

Then all too soon, it’s dark. Stephen and Assia Webster had their drinks party for his über-sexy collection of jewels – wish I could have stopped to buy, but I have to draw the line, with spontaneous purchases remaining for me at James Perse. Although it must be said that Stephen’s collection is exquisite; very rock-and-roll, beautifully made and certainly on my radar for the more considered purchase.

Dinner was at Cut, Park Lane’s latest flagship at the new Dorchester Collection hotel, 45 Park Lane; seductive and delicious. Of course I digested every finish of the hotel, which is admirable (and the food was good too).

When I finally made it home, I couldn’t resist treating myself to one episode of Grey’s Anatomy (a guilty pleasure) before heading off to bed.

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