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In front of the door, as soon as you enter, what you find is a painting by Picasso himself. Specifically the work previously known as "Woman with Red Beret and Pom Pom", that Richard Caring, the owner of the painting and this private club, has decided to rename r - although it may sound like a joke, it is serious - and now so much Picasso's picture as the club is called the same, Annabel. This is how the magnate spends them - his fortune is valued at more than 700 million pounds - and the new owner of Annabel's.
One of Annabel's dining rooms © Annabel's
In addition to giving Picasso a new name, Caring has also given Annabel's new life. During the past decades, if you were someone you had to let yourself be seen in this private club, a place where the British aristocracy and the royalty of rock and the entertainment world - from the Rolling Stones to Ella Fitzgerald, the Queen's children Isabel II or Kate Moss- met to share spree and also secrets, since discretion was - and still is - one of the many attractions of the club.
The aristocrat Mark Birley founded Annabel's in 1963 as a place to go with his friends to end the night and ended up becoming one of the elite private clubs, although in recent years there are those who say that his cult status had lost A bit of bellows.
The remodeling of this old party room meant a small transfer or - just a few meters, two doors, to number 46 of Berkeley Square-, and a tremendous change . Now you don't have to go down the famous stairs that led to the basement where the original Annabel's was, Mr. Birley's.
Mark Birley, founder of Annabel's © Getty Images
The new Annabel's is entered at street level. Housed in a four-story protected Georgian mansion (Grade I), the Annabel's de Caring has four restaurants, bars, two private dining rooms, a cigar lounge - run by nothing more and nothing less than by Darius Namdar, the current winner of the prestigious Contest Sommelier- Habano International, a disco, smoking rooms and also a garden terrace.
The redesign, like many of the other restaurants in the Caring Empire (The Ivy, Sexy Fish), was carried out by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, which gave him an air of excess, maximalism and decay that enchants and catches as soon as he enters.
After crossing the door you already feel that the space will be eccentric like few others. Just look at the sculpture of Pegasus, the famous winged horse of Greek mythology, hanging in the center of the central flown staircase - the second largest in London, the first is in Buckingham Palace -, to realize that you are entering a fantasy world. In the new Annabel's, real life is definitely at the door.
This is one of the hallways of the private club Annabel's © Annabel's
References to different gardens and various elements of flora and fauna are constant in the decoration and this is reflected in the exclusive and custom-made De Gournay wall papers: tigers, elephants, tropical plants, the decoration of the rooms is inspired by different gardens, an Asian garden, the Garden of Eden…. The names of the rooms (Elephant, Jungle, Rose, Garden) also give clues about their style.
The spaces vary in atmosphere, light and color, allowing a natural transition from the first hour to the last hour of the night, which is essential considering that the club is open twenty-one hours a day.
The Powder Room of Annabel's © Annabel's
In the garden there are murals painted by British artist Gary Myat t and you can also enjoy the opulence of a retractable ceiling that is collected in two minutes and the chandelier-style lamps made by Sogni di Cristallo in Murano.
Curiously, one of the rooms that is most talked about are the services of ladies located on the top floor : the predominant tone is pink, of that color are the onyx sinks shaped like a shell and golden faucets shaped like swans, as well like the exquisite hand-stitched silk roses that cover the entire roof.
The club is currently open almost twenty-four hours, from seven in the morning until four in the morning - one of the most notable differences with the old Annabel's, which was a disco and was only open at night - and seeks to please an audience that, between party and party, in addition to having fun also works. Therefore, there are private spaces for meetings and the Mexican restaurant room is divided into a kind of alternative “co-working” space during the day.
Ode to luxury at Annabel's private club © Annabel's
Also, the renovation of the old and very strict dress code has been commissioned by fashion journalist Derek Blasberg. Perhaps to adapt to the new profile of the successful young people of the technology companies that dress very informally, now you can visit Annabel's in sports shoes, yes, elegant, and also jeans before seven in the afternoon. Caps, sportswear or sunglasses at night are prohibited.
Puppies can be freely at the club, provided they are accompanied by their owners, until six in the afternoon. The general rules of the club have adapted to the times and now the use of phones and laptops is allowed, but only in the Mexican room and only until six in the afternoon.
Otherwise the photos are strictly prohibited, according to their general rules, to safeguard the privacy of the members.
Details of The Powder Room at Annabel's © Annabel's
In addition to all of the above, Annabel's also offers exclusive events for its members, from the presentation of the new collection of the firm of Samantha Cameron (spouse of the prime minister who will go down in history by the Brexit referendum, David Cameron), until morning yoga sessions, world-renowned DJ performances or champagne tastings.
The team that escorted me from room to room says that at Annabel's they are open to all membership applications and that they want to have a diverse, fun and character group of people. Do you want to be part of this club and become a member? Normally, the new members agree through the infallible recommendation system, but the recommendation alone is not valid, after the club committee has to approve all new additions.
Among its members, in addition to the old guard - even after remodeling, Annabel's remains a private club located in Mayfair, a neighborhood where it is difficult to find apartments for less than a million pounds -, there are people who are dedicated to the world of finance, arts and technology.
Rumors say that Caring wants to lower the average age of members and prices start at £ 750 for those under 27, rising to £ 2750 annually for those over 35.
We sneak into the private luxury club in London © Annabel's