The Claridge’s, the 200 year old London institution continues to excel through innovation and flawless service
For 200 years, royaly, famous designers, artists, actors, sophisticated and demanding leisure travellers and the most discerning business travellers from around the world, The Claridge’s in London is more than just a hotel – it is an institution which has always been striving for perfection in service as well as product. It is a heartbeat which i could feel from the team through everything I touched, sensed or smelled throughout my entire stay.
Upon my swift check-in I came across the Map Room, a photo of which I saw on the hotel website before arriving. I thought it was a new themed suite. It is Claridge’s unique innovative approach which have transformed a former barbor shop into a very cozy and warm living room, where in-house guests could work, have a tea, read etc. It is what other luxury hotels call a Business Centre or a Lounge. I actually used the Map Room (I have always found maps inspiring) doing some work on my laptop or simply reading the paper.
I was pampered to one of the finest suites of the hotel, The Linley Suites (short video), created by David Linley with a stunning mix of antique and contemporary bespoke furniture – a lavish living with a business desk, a dinner table, couch, coffee table, a fireplace and a state of the art Loewe Flat Tv. Warm tones of beige, cream, pastelle green and cherry wood make up for a very cozy, residential feel. Linley’s sophisticated interpretation of Art Deco was mainly driven by functionality and comfort. Traditional Art Deco lamps are completed by Murano chandeliers, not to mention details such as an exquisit silk wallpaper in the entrance of the suite, depicting birds in a garden. A heavenly comfortable oversized king bed with Pratesi linen, a second beautiful fireplace and a huge wardrobe space make up the bedroom. While the desk in the living room is the working area the desk in the dining room resembles a boudoir with a concave mirror.
When opening the wardrobe, there was another pleasant surprise – two brand new Burberry trench coasts hanging, with a tag of the hotel, one for ”him” and one for ”her’ for use during one’s stay. WOW, I thought, what a sensible idea – I learned it was introduced less than a month before my stay and many guests love the new service. Guess what? Even the bathroom had several surprises in store - The Claridge’s recently introduced the Bamford organic line of amenities, thus becoming the only luxury hotel in London with organic bathroom amenities in all rooms and suites. I gladly put aside my own toiletries and pampered myself with the Bamford products, based on geranium, peppermint and lavender (I adored the botanical geranium relaxing bath oil and the body lotion). Besides the mirror enclosed Tv I was to enjoy the best quality towels of the finest cotton by specialist Frette – custom made for The Claridge’s.
Houseekeping and butler service have excelled during my stay – particularly my butler, Adam, who would go out of his way to please me. On my arrival he prepared a fresh cup of Moroccan mint tea, so I could warm up and suggested I take a bath using the botanical bath oil. I slept like a baby and woke up so refreshed the other day.
Early morning and night are the only times of the day the lobby and The Foyer restaurant are not busy. So I could take my time and admire the recently restored Art Deco entrance and the Foyer Restaurant, which is the centrepiece of the hotel, with a magnifcent glass atrium adorned by a huge glass chandelier. The working fireplace in the lobby with the leather couches are so inviting… At The Foyer, I had probably the best English breakfast ever – from the freshly squeezed Valencia sweet organce juice, sweet British ham, organic friend eggs and an anti-oxidant booster fruit plate with a selection of berries and pomegranate. I just wish that the hotel would be able to implement a recognition system like the major luxury chains, so that guest would not be asked their room number all the time.
Innovation is clearly part of Clardige’s DNA, with a WOW factor waiting to be discovered in every corner of the hotel. During my stay, the hotel organized its first Charleston Master Classes, as part of its commitment to its local patrons. Claridge’s a very family friendly hotel, with children being pampered with a wealth of services. Other exceptional details include the in-house flower shop by renowned McQueens florist, the hotel’s very own candle by Cire Trudon, the world’s oldest candle maker – a luxurious candle which captures the scent of the hotel’s Fumoir bar with accents of leather and rhum, the personalized Bentley chauffeur service and last but not least, Claridge’s very own ’artist in residence’- famous fashion illustrator David Downton who has been drawing portraits of some of Claridge’s most famous guests and not only.
But probably my most cherished moment was when I walked back to the hotel from the nearby Bond Street and wondered through the exquisit contemporary art galleries of Mayfair, and realized upon entering the hotel how proud and priviliged I felt to be a guest of the Claridge’s and this, I believe, to be the ultimate level of satisfaction a luxury hotel should be seeking for.
Oliver Petcu in London
*an extensive, dedicated photo gallery is available on the CPP-LUXURY.COM Facebook page