In their most basic form all hotels offer the same product, but it’s through the likes of customer service, personalising stays, amenities, food and beverage, the staff, location and history of the building that properties manage to differentiate themselves from one another and compete for much sought after business.
The Athenaeum in Mayfair is home to a vertical living wall stretching eight storeys high and housing over 18,000 plants and 260 species. It’s the only wall of its kind in London and the only one built in the UK by research scientist Patrick Blanc who aimed to transform the corner concrete wall into a haven of biodiversity.
Recycled clothing is used rather than soil and dotted among the plants and greenery are bright red bird houses for the poshest birds in town to nest in. The flora is thick and luxurious and although vast, it remains well maintained softly framing the windows without obstructing views over Green Park.
When I visited the property the doorman said that the wall had been part of the hotel for about four years and as of present management had no intention of removing it. Too right. It’s a hugely unique aspect of The Athenaeum and one no other London hotel can boast. And in a city with thousands of hotels all trying to stand out and offer something original to lure guests in, The Athenaeum is on to a winner with this one.
I love hotels and this is exactly why; they aren’t just places people pay to stay overnight in and be on their way the next day. Some might be such as the lower star rated properties but many are really great and unique destinations in themselves and give way more creative offerings than ever expected. Like this, a living wall on the side of a concrete building in London. Beautiful.