Tucked away behind the maddening crowds of Oxford Street, in the heart of Mayfair, Claridge’s is synonymous with old-school service, heritage and discretion.
Considered by many to be London’s most prestigious hotel, Claridge’s has won a whole host of prestigious international awards. Most notably Condé Nast Traveller Gold List, Tatler Travel Guide 2013, Telegraph Travel Awards, and Forbes TRAVELER.
We feasted on the finest rare sirloin I’ve tasted. While I’m reluctant to write such a one-dimensional review, dinner was faultless. We started with the lobster ceviche, and ended with an elderflower and rhubarb trifle with vanilla Chantilly cream. Both were exquisite. The restaurant staff were exemplary — attentive, yet unobtrusive; the ideal wait staff, invisibly pre-empting our every need.
We were given the Claridge’s suite. High ceilings, neo-classical décor, tonal wall fabrics, balconettes overlooking Mayfair’s Brook Street, then the pièce de résistance, a vast, plump, feather mountain of a bed sat alone in the centre of an opulent bedroom. Ideal for everything from a dirty stop-out to an anniversary to a romantic getaway, million thread-count sheets stretched as far as the eye could see. Everything from the prints on the wall to the double-door vaulted corridors oozed old-school glamour, sex, and expensive, timeless, glossy seduction.
There was an equally sizeable sitting room. A polished walnut lobby led to our marble-strewn bathroom, which led onto a Willy-Wonka-glass-elevator double-sized waterfall shower of a wet room. Across the room, a vast Italian marble tub sat aside a quaint latch window, whilst Bamford products lay in wait on every surface.
Televisions were redundant — their presence an afterthought in an environment that exquisite. Had we stayed longer, their subtle glow from hidden corners may have been yet another bonus, but with a suite that beautiful, a bar and restaurant that good, and a restaurant fit to eat your own overdraft, who’s concerned with setting the Sky box? We could have languished in our suite for days, both uninterested and unmarred by the outside world. The ultimate pied-à-terre for harried Londoners; as a getaway, a million miles more effective than a country jaunt.
Suites come replete with their own private butler to cater to your every whim. Victorian wrought-iron gated lifts enjoy velvet seats and a jovial lift-butler.
Who Goes There?
The Chelsea contingent in need of a late night cocktail, cool kids dropping into the bar for a nightcap, anyone who’s heard of Claridges’ incredible reputation, international jet-setters, aristos, and, surprisingly, very few Bridges and Tunnels taking flash birthday or anniversary selfies for facebook. Claridges has a rare ability to retain its dignity whilst holding court as one of the most established Mayfair hotspots.
Out & About:
Mayfair needs little introduction, but there are few places that share the understated elegance of Claridges’ Fumoir bar. There are myriad west end clubs, members’ bars and illicit soho watering holes in close proximity, but Claridge’s is a destination in itself. Only a 15-minute cab ride from west London, nothing so close is more transporting than its historic confines. We felt rejuvenated in a way most commonly achieved with a week-long jaunt to Antigua.
The Worst Thing:
I’m reluctant to state that our stay was faultless, but it was as close to faultless as possible. If I had to nit-pick, our breakfast didn’t arrive in the morning, but we didn’t leave a form out until 5am, and not only was our scrawl indecipherable, but the form clearly stated it should be left on our door by 3am.
All the staff were so accommodating and charming, it’s impossible to fault much at all.
The Best Thing:
The staff, the décor, the culture, the heritage, the food, the cocktails. The grandeur, the location. Where do I begin? Excellence often comes with a side order of smugness — an establishment this good doesn’t need to blow its own trumpet. But Claridge’s has none of that, the staff were gracious, impeccably trained and, we noticed, treat all their guests with egalitarian respect.