By International life
A stay made in heaven
Archangel is a fashionable new hotel, bar and restaurant in Frome, which was originally an ancient coaching inn, making it one of the most fascinating country destinations.
Many parts of this intriguing building date back to long before the Protestant Reformation, to the doomsday book in fact. Once its two year renovation project was completed Archangel opened for breakfast on Thursday 1st July 2010 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 décor 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.
On the management front, General Manager Sam Wylde is well known in the neighbourhood, having worked at Babington House and run the fashionable At The Chapel in nearby Bruton.
The chef John Melican trained with Richard Neat, Simon Hopkinson and others in London and sources his food from the West Country’s most exciting food producers. Richard Vine is one - a maverick grower of exquisite salads and micro-greens who supplies Gordon Ramsay and other top chefs.
Geographically blessed near Glastonbury, Bath, Bristol, Stourhead, and Stonehenge, Archangel offers top class cosmopolitan style and hospitality in one of the most beautiful corners of England. The vibrant town of Frome not only has a stream running through the high street- it is vibrant with creative small businesses and a large number of listed buildings. Archangel has been enthusiastically embraced by locals, and truly reflects the originality and beauty of the town.