HOW THE ARTIST RESIDENCE GROUP QUIETLY REDEFINED LUXURY
When you step inside an Artist Residence Hotel and then hear the owners’ story, the relaxed, innovative feel makes complete sense. Founded by a husband and wife duo, Charlie and Justin Salisbury, it all started when Justin’s first hotel fell into his hands aged just 20, when his mother was injured in an accident and could no longer run the family business, a run-down guesthouse in Brighton. With little money, and a lot to learn, Justin re-developed the hotel in keeping with Brighton’s bohemian nature, inviting artists to decorate each room completely differently – and so the Artist Residence brand was born.
They already had a great location on Brighton’s Regency Square, but it took several years of hardship before the idea truly started to gain traction. With a timely appearance on Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector, a little advice from Alex Polizzi was what the brand needed to really push forward. All the while, the hotel’s style was quietly evolving with a trademark quirky stamp; think the homely, impossibly chic abode of your most stylish friend, carved into perfectly sized rooms that you’ll never want to leave.
After Brighton, another arty town was to be the next stop and in 2010, they opened a 13-bedroom (plus four-apartment) hotel in Penzance, Cornwall, situated in a historic Georgian townhouse. It’s home to some seriously good design; beautiful fabrics, brilliant paintings and a handful of freestanding, claw-foot tubs. The in-house restaurant, the Cornish Barn Smokehouse and Bar, provides a welcome space to while away an evening for both hotel guests and locals. In their own words, Artist Residence hotels are “an eccentric bunch of fun and friendly places to eat, sleep and drink” – and each more than fulfils all three promises.
Next on the agenda and London was calling, and of course, another great location. The Artist Residence London was born on Cambridge Street in Pimlico, a handy five-minute hop from Victoria Station. It’s a truly eclectic space boasting exposed brickwork, tonnes of art on the walls and seasonal produce dished up at the Cambridge Street Kitchen and its restored old Victorian pub Clarendon Cocktail Cellar.
The fourth in the set is a slight change in pace over in Oxfordshire. The smallest of the hotels, it is located deep in the countryside with just five bedrooms and is housed in a sixteenth-century thatched roof English Inn. It’s a breath of fresh, unpretentious air from the typical floral chintz that can be the norm for hotels in the Cotswolds. Yes, there’s William Morris wallpaper; but it’s mixed with the likes of works by neon artist Andy Doig and felt artist Lucy Sparrow.
With a Bristol opening – in an old boot factory, no less – next year, Charlie and Justin are showing no signs of slowing the pace of their expansions. Quietly, confidently and most importantly with nigh on unbeatable style, the Artist Residence is one quartet to watch…