The Kimpton Fitzroy hotel in London is conducting tarot card readings using its own custom-designed deck and the services of an occult expert. Jenny Southan reports
Tapping into the trend for “New-Age Wellness” (a term coined by Globetrender), the Kimpton Fitzroy is offering guests in-house tarot card readings to help them “manifest their year ahead”.
Inspired fortune telling and a Victorian-era fascination with the occult, the luxury hotel in London’s Bloomsbury has embraced the 21st-century tarot reading revival.
The Kimpton’s “Time to Tarot” experience is delivered in partnership with Bloomsbury’s Treadwell’s Bookshop (for students of witchcraft) and its founder and occult expert Dr Christina Oakley, who will be conducting the tarot reading sessions.
The hotel has also collaborated with London-based queer artist and tarot illustrator, Ari Wisner, who has designed a bespoke tarot deck inspired by the architecture and legacy of the Kimpton Fitzroy London.Cards in the reinterpreted “Major Arcana” tarot deck – which represent the life lessons, karmic influences and archetypal themes influencing people’s destiny – include the Emperor, who comes in the form of suffrage leader Emmeline Pankhurst, whose former home is now part of the hotel at 8 Russell Square.
Wisner also references the hotel’s resident dragon, “Lucky George” in the Wheel of Fortune card, so named because the hotel architect Charles Fitzroy Doll designed an identical dragon for the staircase of the Titanic, when he designed its First Class dining room.Meanwhile, the Tower card is an illustration of the hotel’s terracotta brick exterior, but features a rooftop dome which is believed to have been bombed during the Second World War and, ultimately, removed.The Strength card pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Her portrait joins depictions of the statues of four British Queens that adorn the main entrance to the hotel.
Ari Wisner, tarot illustrator, says: “The earliest tarot cards have origins as a parlour game. The game provided precious moments for guests to reconnect with their inner selves and share stories with others, as their paths crossed along the journey of life.
“When I first visited Kimpton Fitzroy London, I was instantly inspired by the stunning architecture and the beautiful details throughout. With so many stories and visuals to work with, it tied in with the archetypes found within the tarot so naturally.”The hotel says: “Astrological and magical folklore are laced throughout Kimpton Fitzroy London’s history. While hotel architect Charles Fitzroy Doll was drawing up plans for our grande dame of Russell Square, fashionable ladies and gentlemen in the finest drawing rooms in Victorian London spent their evenings laying tarot cards. Now it is your turn to discover the tarot.”
With the use of crystals, candles and aura incense, Oakley and her team will take over a “secluded and intimate” area of Kimpton Fitzroy, “creating the perfect, immersive environment for hotel guests to enjoy their mystical experience”.
Kimpton Fitzroy London’s Time for Tarot package includes the bespoke tarot card deck to take home and a 30-minute reading, plus an overnight stay including breakfast and one cocktail per person at Fitz’s.