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London: Hotels

Fresh From Million-Dollar Make Overs, London's Top Hotels Are Enjoying A Renaissance
Stephen Brook
From the Print Edition:
Jeff Bridges, Sep/Oct 01

(continued from page 2)

Established in 1898, Claridge's went through extensive renovations in 1998; all the public rooms as well as most bedrooms are now gleaming with panache and elegance. The refined Art Deco decor of Claridge's has been carried through almost the entire hotel, from the serene and spacious foyer to the luxurious and well-tailored Claridge's bar.

The rooms, from standard doubles to suites, are as beautiful and functional as one of the new Bentleys for sale in Berkeley Square, a three-minute walk away. They have large, firm and comfortable beds with fluffy down comforters and thick linen sheets. The bathrooms are spacious and well-furnished, and the rooms have all the modern amenities one needs to stay in touch with the outside world, including satellite television, digital telephones, modem connections (both U.S. and British) and high-speed Internet access.

Service remains central at Claridge's. Everyone, from the concierge to the bartender to the doorman, is friendly, discreet and helpful. The hotel once had a clubby, almost stuffy atmosphere, which was off putting to younger people, but today the ambience is modern and peaceful. The hotel now has one of the best private gyms in the city as well as an array of health and beauty treatments. This only adds to pampered guests' well-being.

Food has always been good but never great at Claridge's, but the hotel is remedying the situation this autumn when London's current star chef, Gordon Ramsay, opens Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. For those not interested in three-star dinning, a snack or salad in the bar or foyer will suffice. A lovely afternoon tea is always available.

After a day or two at Claridge's, one can't help noticing a large black and white photograph of Winston Churchill hanging in the foyer. The famous dignitary, shown entering Claridge's with a smoldering cigar in his mouth, looks as satisfied and elated as anyone who's lucky enough to stay in the hotel today.

The Connaught

Carlos Place, Mayfair, W1K 2AL
Tel.: 44/207-499-7070
Fax: 44/207-495-3262


65 rooms; 27 suites

Rates: singles from about $250 to 425;
doubles from about $250 to $575; suites
from about $675 to $2,300

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