The Hendrix Suite
Designed to inspire you from the moment you enter the room; to capture the ethos of Hendrix and ultimately be a sanctuary where Hendrix himself would enjoy spending time. Conceived by interior designer Mary Gannon and her senior associate Cynthia Garcia – a stay in The Cumberland’s ‘Hendrix’ suite is not-to-be-missed for any Hendrix fan or design junkie.
Think exquisite statement lighting, flamboyant colours and psychedelic stylised patterns, authentic fabrics uncovered in vintage fairs and from specialist collectors. The room showcases an original 60s printed panel called ‘Peacock’ by Mariji Isola for Marimekko, along with a wall of framed originals of NME covers from the 1960s featuring the rock legend.
Centrepiece of the room is a flaming three-metre Hendrix mural by renowned graphic designer Andie Airfix, whose previous works include designs for Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Airfix drew his inspiration from Hendrix’s infamous ‘guitar flambé’ show finale.
The bittersweet interview with music journalist Keith Altham, can be heard in its entirety in the Suite and gives a fascinating insight into Hendrix and his frame of mind during his final days. In it, he says: “What I wanted to be basically; this is only hyped up by the visual thing – I wanted to be listened to".
Altham, who has acted as a consultant to The Cumberland during the project remembers;
"It was September llth l97O when I conducted the last interview which Jimi was to ever give at The Cumberland Hotel for The BBC's "Scene and Heard" radio programme. Also present briefly in the hotel suite were super groupie Devon Wilson, girlfriend Monika Danneman and a bottle of Mateus Rose. Jimi had just completed a disappointing performance with the Band of Gipsy’s at The Isle of Wight Festival a few days previously but was looking forward with optimism to a reunion with The Experience and Chas Chandler whom he was planning to re-employ as record producer. He tragically died six days later from a lethal cocktail of drugs and alcohol and never made the the appointments with the team who established success and might have saved his life from the dreadful crowd of dealers, hangers on and leeches that surrounded him.”
"I think he [Hendrix] would have loved the idea of a special room designed in a style which is harmonised to his music and memory and where others might gain inspiration from his work or simply relax and enjoy the music made by the greatest rock guitarist of all time.”
Suite creator, Chelsea-based interior designer Mary Gannon, a member of the British Institute of Interior Design, said she has sought to create a space that does justice to Hendrix, with a design reflecting the excitement and exuberance of the 60s, and which also complemented The Cumberland as a contemporary hotel, appearing fresh and inspirational in the modern day. Keith Altham, part of Hendrix’s inner circle, maintains that Jimi would have loved the room. Mary explains:
“Hendrix was truly a style icon. We undertook a lot of research on fabrics, colours and shapes from the period, and scoured specialist textile fairs and visited known collectors, all of whom gave us invaluable advice and guidance."
Our lobby will also play host to a couple of limited edition archival photographs of Jimi Hendrix by Barrie Wentzell. Taken in the late 1960s, the documentary style prints show Hendrix looking relaxed, upbeat and himself. The photographs taken by Wentzell, a prolific photo journalist who photographed much of rock’s royalty, will take centre-stage in the suitably colourful lobby of the hotel for all guests to admire.
In addition,we will be displaying a hand-bound book containing over 300 images of Hendrix, a book in which Barrie Wentzell’s photography features heavily. The beautiful book called ‘Classic Hendrix’, hand-made in Milan by Genesis Publications, is available to browse and purchase at the concierge desk and is thought to be the most comprehensive visual memoir of Hendrix ever published.
We are working in partnership with The Hendrix Foundation, the official not-for-profit organisation set up in honour of the iconic musician to provide deprived children with access to musical instruments or music lessons. We will support the work of the Foundation by donating a £10 sum from every night’s stay in the Suite for the year.