Culture

Wish you were here: The Berkeley turns up the Pink Floyd

If you can escape the feeling of self-indulgence that comes with taking a city break in your own city, The Jackal has found the perfect night away for you

Words by
Robin Swithinbank

Short stay

The deal: 5-star digs and a Pink Floyd experience

Look out for: The portable turntable and LPs you get to take home afterwards

Don’t forget: To book a table at the hotel’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus

Long stay

As a Londoner of long-standing, I can’t help feeling guilty spending the night in one of the capital’s hotels. Laying your head on a pillow whose GPS coordinates are only marginally askew from those of your own seems prodigal enough. But it’s the knowledge that your colleagues are grinding away, almost certainly within a mile of you and your fluffy – if ill-fitting – monogrammed dressing gown, that makes you feel not just self-indulgent, but like an arch skiver.

Then again, by the same token, being a tourist in your own town comes with the added spice of feeling like you’re breaking the rules. It helps, too, when your destination is The Berkeley, which had invited Mrs Swithinbank and me to drop the needle on a Pink Floyd package running at the five-star luxury hotel this summer.

As culture vultures will already have calculated, this is the coming together of the Knightsbridge hotel and the nearby V&A, whose much-hyped retrospective Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains runs until October 1. Book in, and on arrival you’ll be presented with a portable turntable, three Pink Floyd LPs, a pair of tickets to the exhibition, and a copy of the book published to accompany it (oh, and a bottle of iced Laurent Perrier). On departure, you can snaffle the lot, too.

We walked into our room and were greeted with the familiar distortions of Dark Side of the Moon, a particularly surreal encounter given the calm of the space itself. I say room – we were upgraded to The Gallery suite, a divine arrangement of walk-through-wardrobes and double-sinked bathrooms, coated in wall-to-wall Swedish teak and Thai silk panelling, all peppered with tastefully curated art.

As culture vultures will already have calculated, this is the coming together of the Knightsbridge hotel and the nearby V&A, whose much-hyped retrospective Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains runs until October 1. Book in, and on arrival you’ll be presented with a portable turntable, three Pink Floyd LPs, a pair of tickets to the exhibition, and a copy of the book published to accompany it (oh, and a bottle of iced Laurent Perrier). On departure, you can snaffle the lot, too.

We walked into our room and were greeted with the familiar distortions of Dark Side of the Moon, a particularly surreal encounter given the calm of the space itself. I say room – we were upgraded to The Gallery suite, a divine arrangement of walk-through-wardrobes and double-sinked bathrooms, coated in wall-to-wall Swedish teak and Thai silk panelling, all peppered with tastefully curated art.

The Gallery is among the first-floor rooms and suites recently reopened after resort architect and interior designer John Heah was set loose on them. They’re typified by his signature fusion of styles, so that as well as the forest of teak and linen, they’re home to Nepalese carpets, bathroom fittings hewn from Tunisian marble, lighting by the American George Sexton (who also did the Imperial War Museum refit) and soft furnishings plucked from collections by lodestar interior designers Charlotte Perriand and Carl Malmsten, as well as from Heah’s own design studio. Coming hot on the heels of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ opinion-splitting glass and carbon-fibre entrance, they continue The Berkeley’s unapologetically eclectic evolution.

As successful as Heah’s conversions are, the jewel in The Berkeley’s crown remains Marcus, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant overseen by super-chef Marcus Wareing (whose forthright views on the evolution of fine dining are worth a read). Dinner was sublime, washed down by recommendations from a sommelier sporting a Zenith El Primero Striking 10th wristwatch – a quality signifier appreciated by this diner.

As for the exhibition itself, well, frankly, for those of us pre-Millennials who inherited the progressive sounds of Barrett, Waters, Mason, Wright and Gilmour some 20 years and more after they were first aired, it’s an education. Not that I could now explain to you exactly how an Azimuth Co-ordinator works, you understand.

We made the short journey home rather more convinced of the merits of a night away in our own city. Loot in hand, too. A snaffler and a skiver, then.

Rates start from £630 for two people in a Superior King Room (inclusive of tax). Offer is valid until October 1st 2017 and must be booked two days in advance. To book ‘‘Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains at The Berkeley’ please call our Reservations Team on ++44 (0)20 7107 8927 or email reservations@the-berkeley.co.uk