Spotlight On

The Restaurant
at The
Twenty Two

Words by LUCY SIDDALL

Inspired by the grandeur of 18th-century Paris, The Twenty Two is as classic as refined and opulent. Lucy Siddall speaks to designer Natalia Miyar about the creative strategy, the restaurant's mesmerising shade of blue, and the role of art in the project.

Walking into The Twenty Two is a sensory experience. From the olfactory frankincense candles (part of the hotel’s new self-titled range) to the eye-catching mirrored ceiling and deeply pilled carpet. The arrival signals a change. The noise of Grosvenor Square fades away, and the refined luxury of the Grade II-listed Edwardian Manor comes into view. It is a lavish experience, made even more notable by the lack of pretence or posturing.

Reception staff are immediately open, warm, and inviting, dressed in bespoke suits by Charlie Casely-Hayford. Walking around the hotel, it is abundantly clear that the owner, Navid Mirtorabi, prides himself on his attention to detail in terms of his creative vision and his desire to meet the needs of his guests. No request is too much, and each and every aspect of a stay is synonymous with luxury. “We want guests to feel so comfortable and well looked after that they don’t want to leave”, explains Elsa Remoy-Hodt, Hotel Manager.

Although this was Miyar’s first hotel, she did not hold back. After agreeing to join the project very late in the day (the initial team didn’t work out, so she redesigned the entire hotel in what she describes as an “insane” three months), the designer rose to the challenge, immersed herself in the brief and didn’t shy away from fundamental principles of the project. “Navid had a very clear vision for the hotel. It was my job to bring his concept to life and to guide it into the most elegant, glamorous and sexy space that I could,” adds Miyar.

The monochromatic cabochon limestone floor inset with black stone extends from the restaurant into the reception, creating a unifying effect throughout the entrance and ground floor.

The elegant and refined restaurant at The Twenty Two is painted stylishly in four mesmerising blue shades made bespoke for the hotel.

Reminiscent of an 18th-century Parisian building, the former family home, according to Miyar, doesn’t feel “quintessentially British” but instead “looks quite French.” The entire project addresses this push and pull between old and new in a seamless blend of historical and contemporary design, “classical French with a modern twist,” she adds. Inspired by Chateâu de Malmaison, Joséphine Bonaparte’s former home, and the rich decadence of Christian Dior’s Boulevard Jules-Sandeau townhouse, the hotel’s muses are nothing if not iconic. “When I think of Georgian architecture, I think of colour saturation and bright, vibrant rooms,” and it’s within this thought that the hotel's design came to fruition. The result is a space that’s opulent and glamorous but not pretentious.

The restaurant's vivid blue is effortlessly grandiose and instantly eye-catching—the space is the stylish beating heart of the hotel. “People are fearful of designing spaces saturated in colour, yet that was the design strategy for the Twenty Two.” For Miyar, the mesmerising hue of the restaurant was always in her plan: “When I thought of Georgian architecture, this vibrant, “Wedgwood” blue always came to mind, which originates from a similar time.”

According to Miyar, the key to working with bright colours rests in finding the right hue. “When you have the right shade, a colour as vibrant as we used in the restaurant can be calming, soothing and relaxing.” Initially, the design team considered wallpaper, “we did lots of different sketches and tried lots of ideas”, explains Miyar. However, ultimately, “elegance and “simplicity” won, and after testing approximately 28 iterations and varieties of blue, Miyar landed on the unique, custom blend of four we see in the hotel dining room today.

The lavish, dusty-blue tone subtly flows from the walls across the restaurant. Miyar herself designed the brass and blue silk wall lights finished with gold fringing and commissioned the bespoke blown-glass chandeliers by long-time collaborator Tyson Bennison to match the colour of the walls. “It’s a lot of blue!” admits Miyar, yet it works exceptionally well without appearing garish or intimidating. Miyar and her team also spent an inspiring afternoon sourcing 18th-century wallpaper and fabrics in the historical archives at Pierre Frey. The results of which are on show throughout the hotel.

Once Miyar had finalised the colour palette, the nuance and sophistication arrived in how the team dressed the room. From the fun and stylish yet surprisingly appropriate antique mushroom prints hand-picked on buying trips to Paris to the giant faded antique rug. “By layering more contemporary elements, such as the artwork, it made the space feel more appropriate to today,” notes Miyar. Initially unsure of where the botanical prints would go, the team framed them in black and gold and found they “looked so cool in the restaurant,” the simplicity of the artwork adding an element of sophistication that colourful pieces wouldn’t have achieved. A monochromatic cabochon limestone floor inset with black stone peeks out from underneath the sympathetically toned rug and extends into the reception, creating a unifying effect throughout the entrance and ground floor.

To balance the bright walls and to root the space in a contemporary aesthetic, the designer selected complimentary colours such as “a wonderfully rich golden velvet” for the chairs, which “is such a nice foil” to the blue, admits Miyar. The result is a room that feels very “homey” whatever the time of day. This duality was an essential element of the brief. Mirtorabi wanted a restaurant environment that felt as natural to an 80-year-old having afternoon tea as it did to a 27-year-old eating a late supper at 10 pm. Miyar wants guests to feel “relaxed, happy and glamorous” in the restaurant. “I’ve always said that I want people to feel like they could wear jeans or a cocktail dress when visiting the hotel. The best interiors allow for that nuance and make life more interesting.”

Billed as a destination “for the creative and curious”, the establishment is playful and irreverent yet sophisticated. The opulent interior oozes glamour but with an incredibly welcoming cadence. Unlike some of its Mayfair neighbours, The Twenty Two feels relevant and aspirational. Aimed at a youthful, “but not necessarily young” crowd, adds Miyar, the hotel is both sexy and artistic, embodying a sense of joie-de-vivre at every turn. It truly is an environment to delight in.

The entrance to the hotel is a monochromatic, 18th-century French-inspired reception finished with luxurious and decadent velvet furnishings.

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