Occupying a neoclassical landmark built in 1914, Rosewood London, which opened its wrought-iron gates last fall, is a truly grand hotel. And thus, redesigning it was no small feat. “My first impression of it was that it was monumental,” recalls Tony Chi, the award-winning designer charged with the task. “And my vision was to establish a sense of intimacy within that.” Since founding his firm thirty years ago, Chi, who was born in Taiwan, raised on New York's Lower East Side, and got his start in the '70s designing restaurants for the likes of Wolfgang Puck and Alain Ducasse, has earned a worldwide reputation for doing just that—creating warm, subdued, supremely functional spaces that exude a sense of luxuriousness. For Rosewood London, that entailed respecting its Edwardian heritage (the exterior, courtyard, and elaborate moldings were kept in tact), while infusing it with modern, cosmopolitan elements (a seven-story marble staircase, Tizio and Kaiser Idell lamps, Etro bed throws in the suites). “I tend to go more rich in terms of accessories, decoration, and art,” Chi explains. “That's how I strive for the best of both worlds.” The result is a hotel that despite its eminent stature, is remarkably inviting. He adds, “I want guests to feel at home from the moment they enter.”

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