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Americas raciest hotel chain has turned a boring British office block into an Austin Powers-style crash pad complete with retro reception, leftie library and rooftop baths. Groovy baby!
When the clerks of Camdens highways department were issuing parking fines from their gloomy office in the 1970s, little can they have imagined that jet-setting hipsters would one day be supping cocktails in the public library below them before taking an al fresco dip up on the roof. Maligned for years as the concrete egg box of Euston Road, the old council headquarters have been reborn as the glamorous Standard Hotel, the first outpost of the risque boutique chain outside the US.
People thought we were crazy to suggest open-air bathtubs in London, says Shawn Hausman, the Los Angeles-based designer behind the Standards flamboyant interiors, who started out creating film sets for Saturday Night Fever. But I think its always nice to have a bath outside, even in the rain.
Naked bodies bobbing above the rooftops is par for the course for a chain with a reputation for racy touches. Its first hotel, which opened on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in 1999, features live models in a vitrine behind the reception desk, part of an art installation called The Box. Its New York flagship, which straddles the High Line park, takes voyeurism to the next level via the celebrity-frequented Boom Boom Room, an exclusive club that boasts four sitdown toilets in a single cubicle.