The grande dame on the London hotel scene, Claridge’s, has welcomed brides such as Dame Joan Collins, who married her fourth husband Percy Gibson there and model Lara Stone who married David Walliams, while Kate Moss held her 30th birthday party in a suite. More recently It girls Poppy Delevingne and Nicky Hilton chose Claridge’s as the essential starting point to their weddings (in Kensington Palace) and honeymoon nights…
The allure of Claridge’s is not just due to its Art Deco elegance but also its historical legacy which dates back to 1812. Known as the Palace of Mayfair, by the 1880s it was already a ‘home from home’ for foreign royalty. Its greatest seal of approval being the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the Empress Eugenie of France, who had made the hotel her winter quarters. After the First World War many aristocrats found that taking a suite in the hotel for the London ‘Season’ was more convenient than retaining staff or running a London home. By the mid-1920s parts of Claridge’s were redecorated by Art Deco pioneer Basil Ionides to reflect the changing fashion.
Indeed, Claridge’s is beloved by the fashion crowd. It’s not unusual to spot illustrator David Downtown in the Fumoir bar, photographer Patrick Demarchelier in The Reading Room or Christian Louboutin en route to his favourite suite. The fashion connection also extends to the interior design. Always a showcase for British design talent, Claridge’s recently commissioned royal designers Linley and Diane von Furstenburg to create a series of new interior schemes.
All 203 bedrooms and suites, many of which interconnect, are individually designed and supremely comfortable, assuring guests a truly memorable stay. There are two penthouse suites on the seventh floor, with outside terraces and views across London. These have been magnificently restored: the Brook Penthouse to its former Art Deco glory, the Davies penthouse in traditional style.
Bathrooms deserve a special mention and always please with their bold tiling, Bamford amenities and grand chrome fittings. The monochrome tiling mirrors the Foyer of the hotel which is always popular with visitors who come for Afternoon Tea or to admire the magnificent Dale Chihuly silver and white light sculpture. All told, it’s a visual feast and many of the original decorations have been restored by leading interiors guru Guy Oliver who has also faithfully crafted replicas of the original Marion Dorn carpets for decoristas to drool over.
Against this sort of backdrop, it’s no wonder brides and grooms are drawn to host their receptions in the fabulous, English heritage-listed Ballroom and its reception area. It’s been the setting for many a state banquet and accommodates 400 for receptions or 250 for dining and up to 650 guests in combination with the striking Mirror Room, French Salon or Drawing Room. It has its own entrance, reception area, marble Rotunda and cloakroom.
The Mirror Room that leads off the Ballroom has been designed to echo the original décor. Using colours reminiscent of that era, (eau de nil, sable, chocolate, olive and silver), the subtle detailing extends to platinum leaf covered pillars, hand -engraved mirrors and contemporary Art Deco fan design carpet.
Check in a few days before your wedding and enjoy the spa for some pampering. Featuring Sisley’s Les Soins essentiels, you’re guaranteed to be a beautiful bride with the holistic treatments. The only problem with Claridge’s is, you won’t want to leave…
Verdict: I’ve been to one celebrity wedding at Claridge’s and it was unforgettable; think Art Deco meets Dynasty and you’ll conjure the details and drama…Whilst a recent stay in their newly renovated suite was faultless. Check the wardrobes and you’ll find matching (his ‘n hers) Burberry raincoats to use for the duration of your stay. Did I mention it was absolutely fabulous?
Claridge’s, Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR, +44 207 6298860, www.claridges.co.uk