Ten of The Best Historic London Hotels
by Adrian Mourby (April 2012)
London’s hotels are younger than many historic buildings in the city. Until the end of the nineteenth century, British hotels were often considered rather disreputable—even in the capital. But these great structures have lived exciting lives since. Writers, movie stars and visiting royalty have all set up temporary homes in London’s grander hotels. Some, like Brown’s or the Goring, have witnessed history being made. These days, with so many visitors coming to London, the capital’s hotels are continually refurbishing to look their very best, but I’d urge you to take time to enquire about the history. You may be surprised who else has stayed in your room.
Showing below are all 9 records in "Ten of The Best Historic London Hotels"
26 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London
The wood-panelled Edwardian Draycott has for many years been the hotel of choice for actors performing at the Royal Court Theatre, which is just a few blocks away in Sloane Square. You’ll find Gary Oldman, John Malkovich and Pierce Brosnan in the guest book. Peter O’Toole and his mentor, Sir Donald Wolfit both have meeting rooms named after them.
Beeston Place, London
The Goring is now world-famous because it was from here that Kate Middleton set off to become the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, but the hotel has played a role in national life since it opened in 1910. During the First World War the Allied command centre was based here. When the soldiers moved out in 1919, Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Sir Winston moved in.
Albemarle Street, London
Brown’s is a writer’s hotel having hosted, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J. M. Barrie, Bram Stoker and Agatha Christie. Rudyard Kipling actually completed The Jungle Book here. Prince Philip’s cousin moved in after losing the Greek throne and Brown’s also hosted the first successful telephone call ever made in Britain when Alexander Graham Bell was a guest in 1876.
372 Strand, London
In the 1930s the Strand Palace boasted the grandest hotel entrance in London. Its Art Deco Winter Garden Restaurant could seat over 500 guests and there were so many bedrooms that the hotel was commissioned as an official U.S. Rest and Recuperation residence during World War II. The revolving doors were such works of art they’re now in the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Park Lane, London
Movie stars have been coming to the Art Deco Dorchester since it opened its doors in 1931. Elizabeth Taylor received her $1million contract for Cleopatra in a bath that has been preserved for posterity. Peter Sellers suffered a fatal heart attack in his room, and Judy Garland gave a press conference with Dirk Bogarde in hers. Several suites have been named in honour of their famous guests.
West Side Common, Wimbledon, London
In the eighteenth century Cannizarro Park was the centre of political life. When Lord Melville, the Secretary of State of War lived here, kings and prime ministers were his guests. Later the Count St. Antonio took over the lease and entertained both the Duke of Wellington and Mrs Fitzherbert, mistress of King George IV. The house was converted into a hotel in the 1980s.
116 Piccadilly, London
In 1971 the Rank Organisation purchased the athenaeum Court apartment block to create a hotel where it housed American stars filming in Britain. Over the years the athenaeum hosted Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Harrison Ford, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minnelli and Warren Beatty, causing The Hollywood Reporter to claim there were "more movie stars to be seen in London’s Athenaeum than Beverly Hills”.
81 Jermyn Street, St James's, London
The Cavendish London is a modern hotel built on the site of Rosa Lewis’ Cavendish Hotel. Feisty Rosa, who rose from kitchen maid to become London’s “Queen of Cooks“ and mistress of Edward VII, created one of the most popular hotels in London. Even a direct hit from a Luftwaffe bomb in 1941 failed to dampen her spirits or destroy her beloved Cavendish.
Ashley Lane, Hendon, London
Built in 1756, Hendon Hall was converted into a hotel in 1911. It once boasted a ceiling painting by Tiepolo (now in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art). The obelisk commemorating Shakespeare was placed in the garden by David Garrick, the great eighteenth-century actor who bought the title Lord of the Hendon Manor. The hotel’s dining room is named after him.
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