Centre of attention
Middle of Mayfair
Get this when you book through us:
A chilled bottle of champagne in your room on arrival
Rates from (ex tax)$503.01 If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days. Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP480.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.
Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP480.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Centre of attention
Middle of Mayfair
Get this when you book through us:
A chilled bottle of champagne in your room on arrival
195, including 61 suites.
12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $503.01 (£400), excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 5% per room per night on check-out.
If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days. Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP480.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Rates do not include breakfast; à la carte items start from £8.
In-room spa and beauty treatments available. Interiors aficionados will be seriously impressed: the roster of contributing designers includes CW Stephens, Thierry Despont, David Collins, Diane von Furstenberg, India Mahdavi and Guy Oliver.
Spa treatment rooms, fitness room with TechnoGym equipment, personal training, concierge service, boutiques, DVD library (£12 a day), free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, bottled water, organic Bamford toiletries, bathrobes, slippers. DVD/CD players, iPod docking stations, laptops and games consoles provided on request. In top suites, you'll also get champagne, fresh flowers, fruit and chocolates on arrival – not to mention butler service.
There's no such thing as a bad room at Claridge's, but cream of the crop are the beautifully appointed one-bedroom Deluxe Mayfair Suites, with deco-style interiors by the royal furniture-maker, pretty period details, mirrored powder rooms and a fantastic layout. Low-key but high luxe, with floor-to-ceiling picture windows and extra-deep baths, Smith-pick Deluxe King rooms are perfect for lovebirds; but fashionistas should opt for the one overhauled by prints-princess Diane von Furstenberg.
Claridge's is a scruff-free zone, and your scuffed-up Chucks won't cut it come dinner-time: so pack plenty of linen, silk, cashmere and clutches. Alternatively, bring your credit cards: the hotel boasts the world's only Paul Smith Women boutique (among others) and Bond Street is but a totter away.
All public areas are wheelchair accessible and some rooms are adapted for the differently abled.
Small pets (up to 15lb) stay free. Outside your room, Fido must be on a lead and won't be allowed in any dining areas (an exception is made for guide dogs). See more pet-friendly hotels in London.
Warmly welcomed. Extra beds (£75 a night) and cots (free for under-3s) can be added to larger rooms; highchairs and special children’s dishes are available in the Reading Room, Foyer and by room service. Babysitting can be arranged, from £8 an hour.
Babies and up are warmly welcomed: you may feel less comfortable with tearaway toddlers, though.
Extra beds (£75 a night) and cots (free for under-2s) can be added to larger rooms, and there are lots of interconnecting options. Deluxe King rooms are lovely and bright; and one-bedroom Mayfair Deluxe Suites are our favourite family abodes.
Bagfuls of toys and the same star treatment that's given to real-life princesses and kings will make your brood think they've been transported straight to Daddy Warbucks' mansion – so although this isn't somewhere you can let them run riot, it's definitely a child-friendly luxury stay. London's best bits are all within easy reach
The Foyer and the Reading Room both welcome children at all times; chef Martyn Nail has devised a fantastic menu of child-friendly food, with both healthy snacks (fruit and yoghurt; grilled chicken skewers and salad) and fun options (fish 'n' chips; banana splits) - with fun breakfast options available via the children's room service menu, too. Highchairs and booster seats are available, and staff will happily heat milk or baby food for you. Colouring-in kit, stickers and other diversions are yours for the taking. Luxury picnics for family days out can be whipped up on demand.
Babysitters are available with 48 hours' notice: it's £8 an hour (£10 on bank holidays), plus a £13 booking fee; the minimum booking is four hours. You're also expected to give £15 travel expenses, plus offer drinks and snacks for sessions of 5+ hours.
Baby Bamford toiletries are provided in rooms, and baby monitors are available to borrow for in-room use (the range won't extend beyond your accommodation). Bottle warmers, changing mats, sterilisers, and all manner of kit can be made available - just ask
Sweet touches for your mini Smiths include comics and magazines delivered with your paper; and bespoke welcome gifts to keep them occupied, such as colour-me-in passport covers, activity books and small toys.
For tea, you can't beat a piano-side spot beneath Dale Chihuly's luminous hand-blown glass centrepiece; for cocktails, snuggle in the Fumoir.
Channel 'The Great Gatsby': silky palazzo pants for tea in the Foyer; embellished flapper dresses for Claridge's Bar.
All-day dining is on offer in the Reading Room and the Foyer, with seasonal à la carte offerings spanning the gamut from club sandwiches to caviar.
Reconcieved by David Collins, Claridge's Bar is a polished, old-school affair with sparkling surfaces and red-leather upholstery. Champagne cocktails are de rigueur, but we love the Chivas-, citrus- and mint-muddled Claridge's Regal. There's also a menu of bar snacks, including a daily-changing Bento Box. For a more intimate tipple, cosy up with a cognac by the marble horseshoe bar in the 1930s-themed Fumoir: cocktails are served in Lalique crystal, no less.
Claridge's barmen shake and stir until 1am. The Foyer: breakfast, 7am–10.30am (Sundays, 8am–11am); lunch, 12 noon–2pm; tea, 3pm–6pm. The Reading Room: 7am–10.30pm.
24 hours: a delicious selection of dishes will take you from breakfast (including Continental and Japanese options) to dinner (canapés, steaks, lobster and more) via afternoon tea and canapés.
London Heathrow (www.heathrowairport.com) is the most convenient international airport, a 16-mile drive (about 45 minutes) away from the hotel; a black cab will cost from about £55.
London Paddington rail station is only a mile away (under 10 minutes by car). From here, the Heathrow Express can whisk you to the airport in 15 minutes (www.heathrowexpress.com); overground rail networks criss-cross the country (ring 0845 748 4950 for National Rail Enquiries); and there's a Tube station hosting the Bakerloo (brown), Hammersmith & City (pink), District (green) and Circle (yellow) lines. The Eurostar International terminal at King's Cross St Pancras is also within easy reach (www.eurostar.com).
Having a car in central London won't do you any favours, but if you've come from afar, parking is available nearby and costs £50 for 24 hours. There's also a valet parking service.
You couldn't be better located for exploring London's headline acts (once you've dismissed your personal trainer and finished your spa session, natch). Shopping needs are more than met: a hop from Claridge's are the jewellers and antiques dealers of Bond Street, South Molton Street's boutiques and all the high street stores on Oxford Street. Stroll west or south for a little greenery care of Hyde Park and Green Park respectively; swim at the Serpentine Lido; row or pedalo across the lake; ride down Rotten Row; or just pack a picnic and plonk your posterior into a deck chair. To your east, there's culture and carousing to be had in Covent Garden and the West End.
The Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington Place (+44 (0)20 7300 8000) holds temporary shows throughout the year. Its famous Summer Exhibition showcases around 1,200 works by established and unknown artists, sculptors and architects. There are free lunchtime tours of the Fine Rooms.
Hakkasan Mayfair (+44 (0)20 7907 1888) lives up to its big sister's 'date night' reputation, with dark moody banquettes, seductive low lighting and delicate Asian dishes to die for. Sample some of the city’s most seductive seafood (and more) at Scott’s on Mount Street (+44 (0)207 495 7309).
Here in Mayfair you're also just round the corner from the unmissable eaterie Sketch on Conduit Street (+44 (0)20 7659 4500). Known for its curious interiors, pop-up art shows and fashionable clientele, it is a fantastical dining spot with patisserie to die for. Come for dinner, cocktails, or high tea: the Parlour’s all-day menu has both set afternoon teas and a creative à la carte collection of sandwiches, cakes and infusions.
Pop over to Madonna's favourite cocktail bar – The Blue Bar at the Berkeley hotel (+44 (0)20 7235 6000) – so-called for designer David Collins' now-iconic Lutyens Blue colour scheme. Take a spot at the original white onyx bar and order yourself a martini or one of 50 whiskies.
Time travel is an expensive business; first you need a handful of serious A-levels, an astrophysics degree and a doctorate or two. Then, get a white coat, wildly unruly hair and a pair of coke-bottle specs. Now you’re a proper scientist. Next up, you need to actually build the machine (I’m grossly unclear on the specifics, but I imagine iron, steel, sticky-backed plastic and at least three washing-up-liquid bottles (I am a child of the Seventies) are involved.
While the brainiacs focus on that, let me recommend a quicker, more cost-effective portal that will whisk you and your loved back in time – a revolving door that twirls you right into the heart of 1920s glamour: the door to Claridge’s.
To enter Claridge’s is to enter a fairy tale, particularly at Christmas. The grand curving stairway, the polished sleekness of black-and-white geometric tiles, the Ionic punctuation of pillar and post… Even the name conjures a quintessence of sophistication. And I, a girl from Croydon, am about to stay there.
The first face you see as you approach is that of Roman, the doorman, a silver fox resplendent in grey stove pipe and garbardine coat. Roman is the very model of gentlemanly decorum, too gentlemanly to remind me that the last time he’d seen me leave the establishment was on all fours after a particularly boozy Mary Berry do.
On presenting ourselves at reception we were told we’d been upgraded to one of the Mayfair suites. I leapt up and punched the air with my fists. Apparently that isn’t the done thing in a five-star hotel, but the manager didn’t bat an eyelid. That’s the thing about Claridge’s – no one ever makes you feel like you don’t deserve to be there. Surely that in itself is a sign of true class.
We journeyed to our floor in a beautiful old-fashioned cage lift, operated by John, the liveried bellhop with an infectious laugh and encyclopedic brain. I say ‘lift’ – it’s more a travelling antiquity, with worn and silvery mirroring, original sunburst clock and a stunning, deep-button upholstered banquette too beautiful to sit on (though rumour is it that Madonna saw fit to park her material assets on it).
Our suite was one of the more recently refurbished available, although kept to the traditional style. Muted russet and earth tones dominate the spacious living room, which features a working fireplace, leather armchairs and fabulous Deco escritoire. The bedroom was more uniformly period: full-length mirrored wardrobes, ladies’ vanity unit and a vast bed that envelops you like an overfamiliar granny. The mini bar was impeccably stocked with essentials: chocolates, champagne and scented candles – all scoffed, quaffed and set fire to within minutes of arrival.
But it was the bathroom that was the star of the show, with its deep black sink with veins of creamy marble running through it, chunky polished solid-silver taps and rich pea-green walls. ‘I’m never leaving this bath’, said Mrs Smith, climbing in, and she meant it. It was three hours before I could drag her out of the tub to dinner, by which time her skin resembled a farmyard roof.
We had a casual meal in the Foyer, a carnival of colours and tastes: truffled Cornish lobster risotto, mackerel with beetroot and innumerable carby sides. Afterwards, we waddled across to the Fumoir for drinks (a paradise of brushed steel and Lalique crystal that makes you feel like you’re in a Baz Luhrmann movie). I ordered a julep, because it felt Gatsby-esque, while Mrs Smith opted for the classic boozy slick of a martini.
We had decided to spend our weekend at London’s most famous hotel as though tourists in our own city, checking out the myriad sights that go unnoticed by regular inhabitants. We picked the London Dungeons as our first stop and popped to the front desk to get directions to London Bridge.
Concierge kings Martin and Nigel are blessed with the unique gift of never letting you feel foolish for being a fool – explaining in the most tactful way that the dungeons were no longer at London Bridge. New directions issued, we set off by foot. On our return they asked for honest feedback so they could relay it to future customers (a hearty thumbs up – what finer way to spend an afternoon than watch a drama school student take you through a catalogue of mediaeval disemboweling tools?).
Disembowelment notwithstanding, we woke refreshed and took breakfast in our room, which ranks as one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever enjoyed. It was served on a vast hostess trolley with linen so crisp you could cut your hands on it. The food was hidden under sparkling silver cloches large enough to serve John the Baptist’s head in to Salome. I didn’t order his head (not in season) opting instead for a triple pancake stack. Sensational. Once finished, it was with genuine regret that I looked out of the window onto London’s streets and contemplated my imminent switch back from tourist to resident.
Claridge’s has an incredibly difficult balancing act to pull off – that between modernity and tradition. I believe they have got it just right. It meets all the expectations of the five-star traveller while retaining the integrity of its history. Sure, it has some wear and tear. It is, as buildings go, a bit of an old girl. But if I look that good over 100, I’ll be delighted. It’s expensive, of course, but the service is exemplary, and it has class and charm in spades.
‘When I die, I don’t want to go to Heaven’, said Spencer Tracy; ‘I want to go to Claridge’s’.
I entirely agree.
The room, restaurant, bar is fab, staff that really go the extra mile! 10/10
To leave with much change
The room, the attention to detail, the friendliness of staff and the food and drink variety
A wild night
The room, the service, the food - everything!
Everything! Claridge's, the grand dame of London hotels, is perfection. The attention to detail is what sets this place apart. From the doorman, who whisks my bag from the cab, to the crimson hydrangeas that adorn the entrance lobby, to the delightful concierge, to the polite, attentive and warm young woman who checks me in, my arrival is a reminder of why Claridge's is one of the best hotels in the world. My room was as expected: clean, comfortable, stylishly decorated, the perfect temperature, with every amenity you could want. I must make particular mention of the bed linens which were just delicious - it was like sleeping in butter. If I'd stayed longer, I would have definitely made use of the Burberry trench which is offered to all guests of the hotel. But perhaps the piece de resistance was the little package of travel treats I received on check out. Yes, Claridge's is everything you expect it to be and more; the best of British with a good measure of warmth and sincerity to make you hope you'll get to come back again.
To lift a finger. The attentive and efficient staff will cater to your every request.
The attention to detail, service.