Encased in £4 million worth of spectacularly crafted marble and mahogany, the Masonic Temple inside London’s Hyatt Andaz Hotel is one of the grandest in the world. Built in 1912 by architect Charles Barry, Jr., in what was then the Great Eastern Hotel, the temple possesses an air of the ‘unexpected,’ telling many stories from within its cavernous mahogany walls. A few urban legends have added to its mystique, one claiming that Jack the Ripper was a frequent visitor and Mason. The uniqueness of the space in such a modernized city as London has inspired many to choose it as a location for events such as fashion shows, music videos, and wedding receptions.
Perhaps what is most fascinating is its discovery during the renovations of the Great Eastern Hotel in 1990. The temple’s mystery and secrets were so well-disguised and carefully hidden within the hotel that no one knew of its existence behind a simple false wall. Boasting a delicate array of zodiac icons, checkered floors and imposing twin thrones, no wonder it’s often chosen as the location for creative showcases. The floor alone is worth more than £3 million, and made of 12 types of rare Italian marble that appear throughout the majestic space, enhanced by Doric and Ionic columns. Emblazoned on the ceiling is the pièce de résistance, a stunning golden zodiac sign that illuminates the room.
The temple’s location within the hotel envelops the space in an atmosphere of transience, the temple acting as a secret core in the midst of the modern hustle and bustle that is happening elsewhere. Things that perhaps at first glance shouldn’t go together somehow work in unepected ways, which is what makes the temple so distinctive and memorable.
- Katia Ganfield