Rebirth of the Russell Hotel-London-Kimpton Fitzroy

Rebirth of the Russell Hotel-London-Kimpton Fitzroy

If I work doggedly and remain financially responsible I can spend a week in London once every two years.

I can explore and indulge my interests in everything London.

After ten or fifteen years it has become a continuing saga.

Tonight the moon is at half phase so it is extra dark, almost foggy and a bit rainy.

I’m headed back to my hotel that is located in the shadows of the Russell Hotel. The Russell was one of the first “purpose built” hotels in London.

I go back to my little hotel and get my camera to see if I can photograph and document the new “up lighting” that has been added to this amazing hotel.

During the past few years the Russell has been going through a hundred million pound restoration. It was purported that the scaffolding alone cost a million pounds to rent for this project.

The lighting and atmosphere of fog and rain make this a world class photography experience, alas…….I know frightfully little about photography.

I hope the picture in my mind is half as good as what appears in print.

I was born amazed with everything around me. I’m a student of history, archeology, geology and this hotel combines every element in stunning design.

Imagine building a hotel and have the ability to use all the best materials that the world has to supply? This is the Russell.

During the construction process I photographed the sculptured tile work that is an important element of this building. Over the past one hundred and thirty years it has seen some damage and I was concerned if and how it might be repaired.

Tonight I’m back and look closely at the precision work that was undertaken to assure that it will last another hundred years (or more).

Exceedingly skilled masons worked tirelessly on the minute detail of restoration. Cracks in the tile work couldn’t just be “glued” together. This is a matter understanding masonry. When a tile has broken it requires that there is at least a 1/4 inch space to allow the masonry grout called mortar is placed in-between the two broken pieces. Every single crack that occurred in the past century has been reground to make the crack a quarter inch wide and that will allow it to properly accept the mortar. The mortar is also colored with masonry color to match the tile color.

I circle the building slowly as I quietly take numerous photos. I’m absorbed in a project that few might appreciate. It is at this time that I start to become aware that I might just look very suspicious.

Indeed, in todays world I’m certain that there is someone on a camera watching my every move and certainly recording my actions.

A building that has just had a hundred million pound restoration is probably worth protecting.

Since I didn’t want to stop or get sent on my way I decided that I go and introduce myself…. “midwesterner” style.

I approach the gigantic entrance doors and ask the doorman for directions to the front desk and then introduce myself to a receptive staff.

My accent reveals that I’m a foreigner and I tend to catch their attention.

I explain to them my story and tell them how their hotel is the best wonder in all of London.

They seem amused and accepting of my story and almost start to share my enthusiasm, but they are the professionals behind the counter and can’t become overly engaged with my obsession.

They exude professionalism, beauty and sophistication.

I explain to them that I am a neer-do-well essayist with limited readership but make up for it in wild ambition.

Their building is so large and my place of lodging is so small.

I explain to them that I sleep around the corner at the Celtic Inn, it happens to be in their alley right next to the Horse Hospital Building.

I ask them if they know where that is?…..and they smile, of course we do.

I feel a bit embolden because they seem to be accepting my enthusiasm and understand how I might love their hotel.

I ask if there is a chance I might take some interior pictures? In the back of my mind I’ve figured out that my net worth is about four to six square inches of this fourteen story hotel.

The young women behind the counter just walks away…. I’m left to wonder if she is going for security?

Fifteen seconds turns into two minutes, she returns and then I’m introduced to the manager of this hotel.

If I may stop here and tell you something. ……

I have met and enjoy the friendship of Congressman, Senators, State Representatives, Governors, Vice Presidents, millionaires and yes….even Billionaires.

I try consciously not to hyperventilate. The person I’m currently being introduced to is the manager of the RUSSEL HOTEL IN LONDON!

I’ve never wondered when my life might be considered complete but this is nearing that time.

I believe his accent was French and I don’t remember his name because I was thinking about bowing down to him at the time!

It did not take long for me to come back to reality and realize that his responsibilities were just as large and daunting as the magnitude of the hotel of which he was in charge.

Upon visiting with the manager and his staff there was a renewed acknowledgement that their jobs/careers were well above average and it seemed that I had become their self proclaimed motivational speaker.

It was already very late night and I asked them if I could come back during daylight hours.

Stay Tuned

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