We know many EuroLuxAntiques.com customers enjoy travel to Europe, so today’s blog post is about some of the most famous historic hotels of London, England. It might inspire your home decor too. Those Brits sure know how to live the antiques lifestyle!
Even if you don’t stay in any of these hotels, drop in for cocktails or dinner to soak up the atmosphere. Or get a taste of British heritage with a scrumptious afternoon tea. These three historic London hotels are within a few minutes walk of each other.
The French chateau-style architecture of The London Ritz is a sight to behold! Cesar Ritz opened the hotel in 1906, although this Piccadilly site was a stop for travelers seeking hospitality right back to days when a coaching inn stood here. The interiors are designed with a Louis XVI theme. It’s opulence all the way! The restaurant is so festooned with chandeliers that The Ritz had to reinforce the ceiling to bear the weight.
When Charlie Chaplin visited The Ritz in 1921, he needed 40 British Bobbies (police officers to you and me) to escort him past the fans crowding the hotel. Churchill, de Gaulle and Eisenhower held World War II summit meetings in one of The Ritz private dining suites. In the 1950s, Tallulah Bankhead sent gossip columnists wild by sipping French Champagne from her slipper during a press conference at the Ritz.
If you visit, take afternoon tea in The Palm Court. (Make a reservation.) It’s a legendary and lavish treat. The Palm Court is a great place to watch swanky Londoners “Putting on the Ritz.”
The Dorchester Hotel
How’s that for topiary? Giddy up little polo pony! He looks pretty happy outside The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, one of the most glamorous spots in the posh Mayfair area. The hotel opened in 1931, and in its early years the famous Foyles Literary Luncheons met here. Ernest Hemingway wrote here too. Elizabeth Taylor frequently took a suite with her various husbands, and other VIP visitors include Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. Prince Philip also celebrated his stag night here on the eve of his marriage to Queen Elizabeth. I guess if it’s good enough for a royal…
But the most important piece of history ever made here was during the Second World War. General Eisenhower set up his HQ at The Dorchester to plan the Normandy invasion.
The Lanesborough Hotel
This 1828 building on Hyde Park Corner was once St George’s Hospital. The hospital was located here so patients could get plenty of fresh air. Hmm, that was back in the day when Knightsbridge was considered the countryside! The building was restored in the 1990s as the prestigious Lanesborough Hotel. You can peek into Buckingham Palace gardens from some rooms, and the hotel stands opposite Apsley House, the Duke of Wellington’s former home, also known as “Number One, London.” That’s an easy address to remember.
The historic hotel is packed with hand-crafted reproduction furnishings copied from original 1820s furniture, chandeliers, and textiles. (The Royal Fine Arts Commission, the Georgian Society, the Victorian Society, and English Heritage supervised the renovation to make sure they got all the details right.) Each guest at The Lanesborough Hotel gets their own personal butler. How very Downton Abbey! If you stay in the Royal Suite, you get a chauffeur too, to drive you around in a Rolls Royce. (Tip: It’s cheaper to take the Tube!)
There are so many more historic hotels of London I’d love to share with you. They will have to wait for another post. Meanwhile, tell us any of your favorite London haunts in the comments below.
Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with Aimee on Google+ or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!