British Heritage lies within each and every corner of London, which as well as being evident in the city’s period architecture, can also be seen within its most historic hotels. Combining lavish interiors that reflect this heritage, with stories of visiting Royalty and Hollywood stars throughout the decades, these historic hotels are the ideal place to experience the traditions that Britain is famous for.
The Milestone Hotel
In the place of 1689-built Kensington House (where the two buildings that remain to this day were constructed in the 1880s), the hotel first came into being in 1922. But it wasn’t until 1986 that it took on its name, The Milestone, which derives from the old cast iron marker that still stands in its original position by the hotel. Since that time it has continually become more luxurious with interiors that reflect the history of the two buildings.
The Rubens at The Palace
Situated opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace, The Rubens hotel couldn’t have a much more regal setting. The site the hotel lies on has a history dating back to around 1703, but it was in 1912 that the Rubens first opened its doors as a hotel when, due to its location, it immediately became popular with those attending Buckingham Palace.
Having opened in 1837, Brown’s is one of London’s oldest hotels – in fact claiming to be London’s first – and due to its prestige and prime location in Mayfair has hosted an impressive line-up of famous guests from inventor Alexander Graham Bell, to Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling. Consisting of 11 Georgian townhouses, the hotel reflects its heritage through its lavish interiors and classic sophistication.
After being transformed from a private residence into a grand hotel in 1856, Claridge’s began to attract the attention of esteemed guests such as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and went on to become a favourite among European Royalty. In the 1920s Claridge’s became the place to party to live jazz and the Charleston, and ever since it has attracted countless Hollywood stars. To this day, the interiors reflect the hotel’s 1920s glamour.
In a prominent position on London’s Strand, The Savoy is one of the capital’s most iconic venues, combining Edwardian design with Art Deco furnishings. The hotel opened in 1889 on the site of the Savoy Palace, which was built in 1246. It’s also here that London’s original cocktail bar, the American Bar, is situated. While continuing to attract guests with its luxurious décor and renowned fine dining restaurants, The Savoy continues to celebrate its rich heritage today.
When this opulent Grade II-listed hotel was established in 1906 by hotelier César Ritz, it stood out for its French chateau style architecture and Louis XVI furnishings, with a luxurious attention to detail. As both Royalty and Hollywood stars were drawn in by its resplendence, the hotel featured in countless stories; Charlie Chaplin, for instance, is said to have been escorted into the hotel by 40 policemen as fans tried to approach him.
Previously named the Coburg, The Connaught came into being during World War I. It was in 1940 that French President General Charles de Gaulle based himself at the hotel to plan the strategy for the D-Day landings. The hotel’s great culinary reputation, which exists to this day, was first established with the opening of The Grill Room in 1955, since garnering Michelin stars for its restaurant offering, while attracting visits from celebrities and the Royal family.
Celebrate a great British tradition within these historic hotels by indulging in an afternoon tea. Savour the traditional Afternoon Tea set at The Milestone, or Afternoon Tea overlooking the Royal Mews at The Rubens, or combine Afternoon Tea at The Rubens with a visit to Buckingham Palace.
Image credits: Cover photo taken at The Milestone Hotel © Red Carnation Hotels. The lounge at The Milestone Hotel © Red Carnation Hotels. The Rubens at the Palace © Red Carnation Hotels. Brown’s Hotel © courtesy of Brown’s Hotel. Claridge’s © courtesy of Claridge’s.