Archangel - Hotel Bar and Restaurant in Frome, Somerset

Archangel: Hotel Bar and Restaurant in Frome, Somerset

Archangel is a fashionable new hotel, bar and restaurant in Frome, which was originally an ancient coaching inn - many parts of the building date back to long before the Protestant Reformation, to the doomsday book in fact. Unsurprisingly there was a lot of work to be done to update it and Archangel was two years in the making. Once renovations were complete Archangel opened for breakfast on Thursday 1st July and has been almost entirely full ever since.

Architect Piers Taylor of Mitchell Taylor Workshops has preserved the ancient walls with their extraordinary patina, the medieval "street" behind the big double doors to the street and the stable buildings within. To them he has added post-modern glass and steel, zinc and slate, leather and copper, in a luxuriously rustic style that references the "Rough Luxe" Hotel by Rabih Hage in London's King's Cross.

The interior design concept for was created by Piers Taylor, co-owner Louise Waterfield, and consultant Niki Turner: a multi-talented designer of opera, theatre and ballet sets, as well as domestic and hospitality interiors.

There are many unusual elements to the decor at Archangel, including feature lights by installation artist Bruce Munro. Another focal element is the use of wallpaper panels printed with details of early renaissance paintings of angels, a repeated theme throughout the hotel.

So for instance in the Men's WC, there are two winged Putti from Stories of the Virgin by Benevento di Giovanni. In Bedroom Six, an angel swathed in pink silk flies across a blue background, and an entire wall of Bedroom Three is filled with a detail of Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation.

In the Front Bar Left, Bedroom Two, Bedroom One and Ladies WC, angels from Fra Angelico's frescoes curtseys under their halos. These bespoke wallpaper panels were made by Promptside, a distinguished theatrical drapery company.

In the Naval Room, owner Simon Waterfield took the lead on the design. The central table is carved with a long list of Commander in Chiefs, Far East Fleet, from 1743 to 1971. The walls are hung with photographs of submarines Waterfield knew as a boy, when his father was captain of various submarines, posted in Singapore. They include the Rorqual, the Artemis, the USS Scorpion, the Resolution (Polaris), the HMS Vanguard, the HMS Astute and lastly the HMS Conqueror, famous for sinking the Belgrano. The room is completed with a number of pleated pendants hanging from the ceiling, giving it the feeling of being suspended in water like a submarine.

Photos: Iain Kemp

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