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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Crystal Bar at the Rafayel Left Bank, Battersea

Among Battersea’s designer stalags lurks new ‘eco’ hotel, The Rafayel on the Left Bank. Oddly, it’s on the river’s right bank. Green is good but d├ęcor-wise, first impressions suggest the Rafayel is to Left Bank Parisian chic what Vanessa Feltz is to Vanessa Paradis; less Chanel chemise, more big girl’s blowsy. We’re here to christen the Crystal Bar but end up in a glitzy galleria got up as the ‘Nirvana Lounge’; a reference to a blissful mind state or to Kurt Cobain, as in overdosed - here, on garish metallics, reds, black, cluster chandeliers, prosaic plant pots and engagingly tacky ‘art’? Such sophistication might impress a convention of Northern nail bar owners but my mate, Fashion Thing, rates it ‘gauche’...and not in an Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche way.  A scrum for bubbly envelops a bar besieged. Gannets gobble what’s left of a buffet; bowls of plain pilau rice. ‘Midnight at a hairdresser’s hen do in Dubai?’ suggests Thing.  A bird in a trilby murders I Will Survive: my ears may not. Cardboard cut-outs of James Dean, Jack Sparrow and Darth Vader line the room. Why? Did no real stars RSVP? Too bored for Hunt the Crystal Bar, we make do with the ‘Japanese Garden’ - a pebble strewn deck beside a heliport. How much to airlift us from the ‘Naff-as’ell’ as Thing brands it?
Falcon Wharf, 34 Lombard Rd, SW11  7801 3600