Conran and Partners / Taj Buckingham Gate, London


The five-star property incorporates the Indian heritage of the brand as well as taking inspiration from the building’s Victorian architecture.

Words by Emily Martin

Images by Tina Hillier and Conran and Partners


Architect: Conran and Partners
Project size: 280 sq m
Completion date: 2021

PROJECT INFO ([email protected])

Architect: Conran and Partners
Project size: 820 sq m
Completion date: 2021

CONRAN AND PARTNERS has unveiled one of its latest projects: a stunning new private members club, restaurant and bar concept at one of London’s finest five-star hotels: St James’ Court, A Taj Hotel, part of the Taj Hotel portfolio.

The project forms part of a wider collaboration between Conran and Partners and the Taj Hotel group, with the practice also involved in the design of Taj The Trees in Mumbai – the Group’s newest addition to its portfolio in India – which is currently under construction. In the UK, the designers were tasked with creating two unique spaces for the central London property; a private members club and a new all-day dining venue.

The Chambers space is designed to accommodate small
The Chambers space is designed to accommodate small

The club, The Chambers, is the first private members club for the leading hotel group outside of India, where they operate a number of Chambers spaces in their hotels. Conran and Partners has sought to capture the spirit and grandeur of the brand’s history and heritage represented in a contemporary and engaging way, creating a decadent yet sophisticated bijou bolthole for the hotel group’s prime international clientele.

Occupying part of the ground floor of the iconic St James’ Court on Buckingham Gate, the club provides a quintessential luxury hideaway. Chambers incorporates the Indian heritage of the brand within a listed Victorian building in the heart of Westminster. The intimate space designed by the practice offers a variety of areas and moments for guests to dine, relax or work.

informal business meetings. The club’s mirrored anteroom connects the hotel foyer and restaurant
informal business meetings. The club’s mirrored anteroom connects the hotel foyer and restaurant

The design reflects Taj’s commitment to exceptional hospitality through careful space planning, luxurious soft furnishings, warm materials and intimate lighting. Members enter the private club through a mirrored anteroom which connects Chambers to the hotel’s foyer and the [email protected] restaurant, a parallel project which formed part of the major renovation by Conran and Partners.

Guests entering via a dedicated entrance on Buckingham Gate for both Chambers and the restaurant are greeted with a luxurious panelled hall leading up towards a welcoming reception area. Guests enter the club itself through discreet reeded glass doors, leaving the sounds and traffic of the street and the hotel’s foyer behind.

while booths upholstered in deep blue provide clients with privacy
while booths upholstered in deep blue provide clients with privacy

Club members are greeted with a sophisticated marble-clad statement bar with luxurious chartreuse velvet stools, complemented by the warm under-bar lighting, enhancing the tones of the marble façade. A sculptural and informal seating area flows from the bar towards several intimate banquettes in the windows which benefit from ample natural light and are ideal for dining or hosting informal business meetings.

Alternatively, guests can opt for more intimate seating, with areas towards the back of the club providing a more relaxed and private environment, harmonised by iconic lighting and bespoke contemporary artwork by international artists, curated by Dais Contemporary.

TH@51’s design conveys the outdoor environment, reflected in the elegant wood cladding and soft colours
[email protected]’s design conveys the outdoor environment, reflected in the elegant wood cladding and soft colours

Tina Norden, partner at Conran and Partners, comments: ‘We recognise that hotels need to accommodate a far greater functionality that in previous years – guests are seeking a home away from home, so it was important that we incorporate a variety of spaces within the club that would enable guests to relax, dine and work either alone or with friends and associates.’

Towards the rear elevation, a generous private room has been incorporated within the new floorplate, creating a versatile space to host meetings and small gatherings as well as dine in privacy.

To access the lower ground floor, guests pass a pair of private workstations, reminiscent of first-class aviation seats. The workstations are upholstered in tanned leather and lined with deep blue fabrics, perfect for guests to escape with their favourite book or focus on work.

Beyond the bespoke workstations a grand marble staircase fringed with brass handrails and warm lighting leads to the exclusive lower ground floor washrooms dedicated to members. The ceiling, lined with mirrored panels reflect the delicate centre-piece light fitting across a space fully reliant on artificial lighting.

In addition to the new private member’s club, Conran and Partners was also enlisted to create a new dining destination and bar also serving as the hotel’s all day offering: [email protected]

The design of the space in its Victorian setting facing the listed courtyard with its landscaping and historic fountain alongside the glazed winter garden led to an English garden inspired design concept that manifests itself both in the materiality as well as the artwork commissioned for the space. Bringing the outside in, the design carries a light and airy feel throughout, with views into the listed courtyard and fountain of the hotel. The stunning dining room where elegant wood cladding and a soft colour palette create a relaxing environment for guests.

An open kitchen with a theatrical grill and chef’s table takes centre stage, while the striking bar area features intimate booth seating. Norden says, ‘We wanted to maximise the abundance of natural light that floods into the dining room and create a warm and welcoming environment for diners throughout the day as well as at night, when the atmosphere changes entirely. We worked with lots of natural materials and a muted colour palette inspired by English gardens and created a variety of seating options and arrangements to facilitate large groups as well as more intimate settings.’

Guests enter the restaurant through a mirrored anteroom, connecting the restaurant to both the hotel’s foyer and the dedicated street entrance that also accesses the club. A bespoke wallpaper inspired by botanical illustrations designed collaboratively by two artists, is adorned with sketches of local British icons such as Dev Patel, Amy Winehouse, Alexander McQueen and Grayson Perry, providing a playful and engaging arrival experience as guests wait to be seated.

A spectacular wood-panelled ceiling continues throughout the restaurant and includes discreet light fixtures designed to support moments of intimacy and creating a relaxed ambience. Rear and underlit banquette seating areas celebrate the natural tones of the ceiling above. The centrepiece of the semi-circular main dining space is a bespoke lighting feature in fluted glass and brass.

The walls are lined in green lacquer panels echoing the style of the private members club and entrance lobby. Towards the conservatory, guests are drawn to the historic fountain in St James’ Courtyard through a series of arches, providing a frame for the neighbouring Victorian architecture.




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