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The Relais Henley

The refurbishment of the Relais Henley, formerly known as the Red Lion Hotel, in Henley-on-Thames, has been a far more ambitious undertaking than it might appear at first glance.

Interior designer

Pascal Allaman




The task set by the parties involved was to refurbish the building to a condition appropriate to its location in the picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames as well as its historical status on a relatively fast-track programme.

Fittings supplied

Bedside lighting in every bedroom and Borges table lamps in The Palm Court.

Photography credit

Michael Franke

The hotel is the first of a series of waterside properties developed by Grace Leo and her co-investor Tim Hartnoll. Nicholas de Klerk and Sze Wei Lee of Translation Architecture led the architecture and planning of the project. At the same time, the interiors were designed by Paris-based Pascal Allaman in close collaboration with Leo.

Heritage professionals refer to the Grade II Listed building as a multi-phase development. The timber frame of the west range has been accurately dated to 1462 through a process known as dendro-dating, while the remainder of the complex has been subject to multiple extensions and alterations in the intervening 560 years.


We get a wonderful sense of satisfaction in the careful design approach and manufacture of lighting for such historical venues as Relais Henley. The dated brand of architecture and classically aligned interior calls for lighting designs inspired by a bygone era. With this in mind, the designers at Northern Lights designed a range of bespoke lighting that perfectly complemented the long-established theme of the interior.


Each of the forty bedrooms has been uniquely designed due to the shape of the building. These rooms have been branded Courtyard, Heritage, Royal Regatta and Riverside. There are different levels of luxury available to guests, with the most premium room being the Riverside Studio. Each room contains two bespoke decorative lighting fixtures on either side of the bed.


Our 'mushroom' pendant hangs proudly above one side of the bed, highlighting the decorative elements displayed on the chic mirrored bedside table. The mild steel and old brass metalwork has been delicately handcrafted to interlink with a ceiling plate, which carries a beautiful ivory white pleated shade decorated with contrasting black ribbons. 


On the other side of the bed, our swing-arm candle wall lamp gives a subtle nod to the room's original source of lighting from hundreds of years ago. The decorative cast brass swing arm enables the light to utilise several positions, meaning that guests can divert focus to the nearby framed pictures or the bed. A white linen fabric shade diffuses the fixture's candle element. 


Elegant, expansive and inspiring, The Palm Court is the hotel's dedicated space for creative co-working. Originally a 19th-century town coffee house, this long salon with high ceilings and river views has been transformed into the dramatic Palm Court with planter fans, giant mirrors and a mosaic of Persian rugs, with small cluster seating for both work and leisure encounters. The chic red sofa benefits from the comforting aura of two lamps from our Signature Collection. The reactive glaze we use to finish Borges' beautiful ceramic body ensures that each one is different from the last. Sitting atop an Old English Brass base, this eye-catching lamp is shown in Olive-coloured ceramic.

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