November 14, 2021
Christmas at Claridge’s. A London Christmas to remember
Do you really want to experience a magical Christmas? In a unique setting where you are enveloped in luxury, romance and tradition? Then make sure you visit the Claridge’s Hotel in London. We went there to soak up the atmosphere.
In bed with Madonna
As soon as you enter the Claridge’s through the stylish revolving door, you find yourself in another era: that of art deco glamour, tradition, romance and impeccable service.
The five-star hotel has welcomed many impressive guests, including Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Collins, Madonna, Johnny Depp, Sara Jessica Parker, David and Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss. Just to name a few. Many royals also found their second home at Claridge’s. A diplomat once called the front desk asking to speak to the King, to which the operator replied, “Certainly sir, but which one?”.
The ‘everything is possible’ service
Comfort, rather than opulence, is the epitome of luxury, according to the hotel’s philosophy.
No request is too much, and the word ‘no’ simply does not exist. For Anne Barnes, Head of Housekeeping, unusual requests are a daily occurrence. “Once, a family asked for a cot for their daughter’s teddy bear. An old shoe box with a blanket would do. I decided that we should do this in true Claridge style, and engaged our carpenter to make a custom-made and polished wooden bed. Our seamstress provided a sheet, duvet and pillow.”
Pretty Woman in Burberry
For a gala ball, they transformed the main ballroom into a secret garden, complete with grass floor. If it rains, there’s a Burberry trench coat waiting for you in your walk-in wardrobe. And you can always use the services of the house florist or tailor. For your pillow, there are 12 different models to choose from. And we could go on like this for a while. But even simple requests are always treated with the same service and attention to detail. The concierge will immediately book the best table for the restaurant of your choice for you and your party. Fancy catching a musical in the West End? That too is neatly arranged via the theatre desk. We reserved tickets for Pretty Woman. Highly recommended!
Service in times of crisis
Even during the coronary crisis, the Claridge’s continued to offer the highest level of service and hospitality. The hotel was closed to the public, but offered warm accommodation to many doctors and nurses of the National Health Service. Meals and kits of soap, shampoo and shower gel were also delivered free of charge to hospitals and front-line workers in the area.
O pine tree
The annual highlight is undoubtedly the Christmas period, with the Claridge’s Christmas Tree as the ultimate eye-catcher. The tradition originated in 2009, when John Galliano of Dior was given the first honour to design the tree. It became a tropical creation with special accessories, including a snow leopard, dragon flies and parrots. Then came the designers of Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana and Burburry, followed by Karl Lagerfeld and Diane von Furstenberg.
Christian Louboutin, was responsible for the 10th edition, which was of course fitted with gingerbread stilettos. All Christmas trees can be admired on the Claridge’s website. We are already looking forward to the 2020 edition.
The legendary Foyer & Reading Room with its shiny black and white floor tiles is the beating heart of the hotel. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are served here, accompanied by live piano music.
The original art deco interior is still the same, except for one modern detail: the magisterial chandelier with over 800 pieces of glass, added in 1996. Mrs Claridge, who co-founded the establishment over 160 years ago, still watches over the comings and goings of her guests via the impressive portrait on the wall.
We stay in the Foyer & Reading Room for a while, because it’s time for the Afternoon Tea. For this premier tradition, the Executive Chefs prepare a unique combination of sweet and salty each day, according to the trends of the season: symmetrically cut sandwiches, warmly served scones, artistic pastries and sensory bites. Choose from 23 teas, ranging from a rich Oolong to the refreshingly complex Claridge’s Blend, selected by ‘Tea Lady’ Henrietta Lovell.
Wining & dining
The other restaurants and bars also combine classics with contemporary tastes and trends. Chef Daniel Humm creates a surprising menu at Davis & Brook restaurant that reflects London’s eclectic cultural scene. The Foyer & Reading Room offers refined and varied cuisine throughout the day. There is also a private dining room that can be hired for a select group. An extensive range of stylish cocktails, rare champagnes and wood-aged whiskies can be found in Claridge’s Bar. For those in need of a cosy and intimate chat over a drink, The Fumoir is the place to be. True foodies will enjoy the Interactive Dining concept, where you can watch the chefs at work in the hotel kitchens.
It’s all in the eyes and in the smile
When entering and leaving the hotel, nothing is left to chance either. Throughout the day, two porters, with uniform and top hat, are at your service. Roman Proboziack, the 66-year-old doorman, says: “I greet everyone who enters or leaves the hotel with a warm smile. It’s all in the eyes and in the smile.” He has a soft spot for children. To him, they are the real VIPs. “Claridge’s has always been a family hotel. As I have worked here for thirty-six years, in the meantime the adults I met here as children have come to stay.”
Better Claridge’s than heaven
Anyone who gets the chance to visit Claridge’s will know why the hotel has such a loyal following. It is a world in itself, where comfort, luxury and conviviality are central. A place where everyone feels at home. Actor Spencer Tracy put it as follows: “Not that I plan on dying, but if I do, I don’t want to go to heaven. I want to go to Claridge’s.”
Written by Patrick Van Tolhuyzen for Luxuria Lifestyle International