Claridge’s on Brook Street in Mayfair is a sumptuous art deco hotel. I would love to dress up and go there for afternoon tea someday. The hotel begun by William and Marianne Claridge in the 1800’s was bought by Richard D’Oyly Carte, owner of the Savoy, in 1893. CW Stephens – the man responsible for Harrods – led the hotel’s re-design and re-opening in 1898. In 1929 it was renovated and the lobby transformed in the art deco style by Oswald Milne, a pioneer of the art deco movement. Work by Basil Ionides and a Lalique door panel, remains to this day. In 1996 designer Thierry Despont restored Claridge’s. He created Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, The Foyer, The Reading Room and The Fumoir. In 1999, designer David Collins transformed the Causerie into Claridge’s Bar. And in 2012 David Linley worked on the 25 Linley Suites. Claridge’s has always attracted the rich and famous.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
I wanted to sign up for a tour of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, but didn’t find the time. The porter kindly allowed me in to take a few pictures.
George Gilbert Scott designed the 300 room hotel for the Midland Railway Company to be constructed next to its railway station, St Pancras in 1865. The east wing opened in 1873, and the rest in Spring 1876.
The hotel had a lavish grand staircase, rooms with gold leaf walls and fireplaces, hydraulic lifts, concrete floors, revolving doors and fireproof floors, though none of the rooms had bathrooms. The hotel was taken over by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1922 and closed in 1935, its utilities were outdated and too costly to maintain – requiring armies of servants to carry chamber pots, tubs, bowls and spittoons.
The building was renamed St Pancras Chambers and used as railway offices for British Rail. In the 1980s it failed fire safety regulations and was shut down. The exterior was restored and made structurally sound for ~ £10 million in the 1990s.
In 2004 the building was redeveloped by architects Aedas RHWL into a new hotel. The main public rooms of the old Midland Grand were restored, along with some of the bedrooms. In order to cater to the more modern expectations of guests, a new bedroom wing was constructed on the western side of the Barlow train shed. The hotel contains 244 bedrooms, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a health and leisure center, a ballroom, and 20 meeting and function rooms. And the upper floors of the original building were redeveloped as 68 apartments by the Manhattan Loft Corporation.
The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened on 14 March 2011; however, the formal Grand Opening was on 5 May – 138 years after its original opening in 1873.