Best Hotels: Claridge's Hotel


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Claridge's Hotel, London, England

Location: Claridge's is situated in Mayfair, in the heart of London's West End and in order to arrive in grand style you can  book a Bentley or Rolls-Royce chauffeur-drive service to be collected from the Airport or driven around London. The shops and boutiques of famous London shopping street Bond Street are a few minutes' walk from the legendary hotel. For many people, Claridge's is the best hotel in London, and the close connection to the Royal Family has helped to achieve this reputation. The first seal of approval came when Queen Victoria arrived with Prince Albert to visit the Empress Eugènie of France, who had made Claridge's her winter quarters in 1860. After Word War II, State delegations from all over the world stayed at Claridge's, and many of these would be invited to attend a banquet in their honour at Buckingham Palace. Eventually it became traditional for visiting statesmen to return hospitality by hosting a banquet for the Queen at Claridge's. As a result of this, the Royal Family became familiar with Claridge's standards of hospitality and service, and chose to host many of their own private family parties at the hotel. In 1999, Claridge's embarked on the first major designer restoration since the 1930s, when David Collins was invited to create a new cocktail bar. A dramatic and notable way for Claridge's to enter the 21st Century, Thierry Despont went on to create Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's.

History: Claridge's changed places and buildings in Brook Street over the decades, however, it always kept its heritage and style. Claridge's started in No. 49 Brook Street as a separate hotel, run by William and Marianne Claridge. In 1854, the Claridges owned the entire row of houses from No. 49 to the corner of the block. Claridge's, as the hotel would now be known, continued to attract the best of British and foreign aristocracy. In 1893, Richard D’Oyly Carte, owner of the Savoy Hotel, purchased Claridge's. A brand-new purpose-built hotel designed by C.W. Stephens was then erected on the site and Claridge's reopened in November 1898. The result was that Claridge's retained its exclusive clientele, and remained popular particularly with visiting European royalty. Claridge's came into its own after the First World War, when many aristocrats were forced to sell their London houses. Claridge's then became a favourite society venue, and was in part redecorated in Art Deco style by Basil Ionides in the mid-1920s. At about the same time, the Duke of Westminster offered to sell the freehold of the site to the Savoy Group. The two houses were demolished and a new block was erected next to Stephen’s “original” Claridge's. Claridge's was fortunate to escape war-time bombing, and remained a popular social centre. Many royal families who found themselves exiled from their own countries as war raged across Europe made their way to the familiar haven that was Claridge's. 

Rooms and Suites: Claridge's offers 203 individually furnished bedrooms and suites. Each of the Claridge's bedrooms and suites has received the attention of some of England's leading interior designers. They are spacious, elegant, residential in feel and fully equipped with individually controlled air-conditioning. Guests may choose exquisite Art Deco suites, a more traditional Victorian style room or one of the six newly designed Executive suites, appointed in rich contemporary tones with a 4 inch plasma TV screen, handsome writing desk and personal bar. Many rooms feature antique fireplaces and three "piano suites" feature grand pianos, one of which belonged to Richard D'Oyly Carte, founder of the Savoy Group, which now owns Claridge's. The three Royal Suites can be used in combination with up to 5 individual rooms for entourages - internal corridors between the suites offer superb privacy. The penthouse suites are available with private butler service. To facilitate travel arrangements effortlessly upon arrival or in and around London, Claridge's offers a fleet of private cars from Bentley, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. 

Restaurants and Bars: Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's restaurant first opened in 2001,  offers the most sumptuous dining experience in London and was recently awarded one Michelin star. Gordon Ramsay is the only chef in London, and one of two chefs in Britain, with three Michelin stars. The elegant décor of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, designed by international designer Thierry Despont, features original 1926 etched mirrors by Basil Ionides, intimate seating and private dining rooms with a separate marquee entrance. The Macanudo Fumoir, an intimate lounge with an impressive menu of fine cigars and cognacs, is the perfect stop after dinner at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. Choose from daily and à la carte menus for breakfast lunch and dinner seven days a week. The Foyer, which was restored in 2001 by Thierry Despont, is the most elegant meeting spot for breakfast, coffee, full English Afternoon Tea, light lunch, drinks or cocktails in London. And for larger events the Ballroom is available to  accommodate 240 guests for lunch or dinner and 400 for a reception. Last but not least, there is the Claridge's Bar to start or finish the evening – it has become very much en vogue again since its redecoration at the beginning of the new millennium.

Sport and Spa: Guests at Claridge's have the opportunity of using the beautifully appointed "Olympus Health and Fitness Suite". The fully equipped fitness studio is located on the airy sixth floor and is staffed by experienced fitness trainers. They are on hand to  guide the guests through an individual training programme in 40 to 60 minute sessions. There is also a steam room and showers avalilable. The treatment rooms offer individual treatments geared to total relaxation, beauty and luxury pampering, including  body massage, shiatsu, facials, waxing and spa treatments. Anne Semonin facials and body treatments are designed to restore the body and soul, while each therapy and product is personalized with trace minerals to combat  the environmental, physical and mental stress of modern day living. Additionally, internationally renowned skin care house La Prairie offers an alternative selection of treatments and products to people who expect their skin care to be the best and most effective. There is also the opportunity to swim at the roof top swimming pool of The Berkeley Hotel, which also belongs to the Savoy Group. Claridge's ultimate goal is to create a feeling of well-being and relaxation and offering everything for pampering their guests.

Address Details:
Brook Street
London  W1A 2JQ
Tel.: +44-20-7629 8860
Fax: +44-20-7499 2210
e-mail: info@claridges.co.uk
website: www.claridges.co.uk

Room Rates (in Pounds): 
Single: from £345, Double: from £370, Suite: from £565, Royal Suite: £2,495, Penthouse: £3,850
(rates are exclusive of Value Added Tax at 17.5%, discretionary 5% service charge and breakfast, prices vary according to season and availability)

Airlines to London: American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, US Airways

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