With its gleaming marble pillars stretching upwards to the high ceiling, black and white chequered floors that have been polished until you can see your reflection in them, and huge cut-glass chandeliers, Claridge’s creates quite a first impression. Founded in 1812, in the very heart of Mayfair, its reputation was forged in the period after the First World War, when aristocrats who no longer owned houses in London needed somewhere to stay.
These days it still boasts some of the largest, most elegant and, naturally, most expensive bedrooms in London, with luxurious marble bathrooms stacked full of Bamford organic products and robes so fluffy you'll be loath to part with them. Add the fact that many of the rooms have been recently designed by the legendary Diane Von Furstenberg, and it’s easy to see the appeal for everyone from the super-rich and the fashion world to first-nighters and other once-in-a-lifetime-stay-seekers.
From check-in to check-out Claridge’s specialises in one thing: making you feel like royalty for the night. Aside from the fabulous rooms you’ve got some serious beauty treatments on offer up on the sixth floor and, of course, a world-renowned fine dining restaurant, headed up by Gordon Ramsay in the Art Deco splendour of the dining room. If that all sounds a bit formal, there's always The Reading Room which offers a more relaxed menu, while you can lounge around in the marble horseshoe bar in The Fumoir ordering 30s-style cocktails and looking suitably fabulous before heading out for the evening.
- The flawless, discreet service
- The elegant interiors
- Gordon Ramsay’s impeccable restaurant
- You may expect one of London’s finest grande dames to be stuffy - it's not
- With the steep room rates and such fine food and drink on offer, you’re always going to be presented with a hefty bill when you check out
Need to Know: Claridge’s
Number of rooms: 203
Check-in/check-out times: 2pm and 12pm
Room service: Yes. 24-hour room service is available and butlers are on hand if you check into one of the suites
Swimming pool: No
Spa: Yes. There’s a spa and fitness centre up on the sixth floor
Dogs welcome: Yes. Although they're not allowed in the restaurant
Eating and drinking: Some of the finest eating and drinking in town is offered at Claridge’s, from Gordon Ramsay’s exceptional restaurant to the relaxed menus in The Reading Room to the history-steeped The Fumoir bar.
Near to? Located in the heart of Mayfair you’ve got pretty much everything you could possibly need for the ultimate London weekend right on the doorstep: New and Old Bond Street, Selfridges and Knightsbridge for shopping, St James' Park for picnics and the Soho and Mayfair clubs for all-out partying.
Getting there: It's just a five-minute walk to Bond Street station, which is on the Central and Jubilee line and it's a 10-minute taxi drive to Paddington (where you can pick up the Heathrow express to Heathrow in 15 minutes).