Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Signs All Pointed to One Hotel


The decision to stay at this hotel was made years before my trip to London in 2023.  In 2016 when I stayed in London, I stayed at the Imperial Hotel just across the street. The nearest tube station was the Russell Square station located around the corner from this building.  Every time I took the tube I had to walk past the building pictured above which was surrounded by construction covers and scaffolding.  I could always hear the hammering, sawing and grinding going on inside.  I finally asked someone at my hotel what that building was.  They told me it was the Russell Hotel and it was in the process of full remodel.

After that, the Russell Hotel's name kept popping up in conversations or articles I was reading.

A few months later and back at home, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a while.  He said "how funny to run into you today, I had a dream last night that I was in London and was rushing to meet you at the Russell Hotel."  That was the moment I knew I was going to have to stay at that hotel.

I kept checking the internet for information on the hotel and not finding any news about when it would reopen.  Then the pandemic hit.  All travel came to a stop and I lost track of what was happening at the Russell Hotel.  When I finally returned to checking its progress, I learned it had new owners and a new name.  It became The Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel.  I have always enjoyed Kimpton hotels and now this place that had been occupying my mind for so long, was one of them.  It almost seemed predetermined that I should stay there.

Since then, I've learned a whole lot more about the history of this grand old building and its colorful architect.  I'll share some of those stories and other stories from London in the weeks to come.