When it comes to elegance, style and English class, few hotels can top the Art Deco gem set in the heart of Mayfair.

Rob Chilton

More than often, walking into a hotel is a functional task that simply gets you through the door and up to the reception desk to check in with a rather robotic member of staff. But, sometimes, in a truly special hotel, walking through the door can be a magical experience. Crossing the threshold of Claridge’s in London, you sense a crackle of excitement. Without knowing it, you’re effortlessly led to a beautiful counter – Claridge’s is too regal to have something as pedestrian as a reception desk – to be met with a smile and a welcome so warm and natural that you start to wonder if you’ve met before.

There’s no stiff, robotic hotel language used here, but instead a relaxed conversation that makes you feel right at home in this most exclusive of London addresses. The black and white checkerboard floor is a strikingly beautiful feature of Claridge’s reception hall, leading from which is a sweeping staircase that was built wide enough to enable women in ball gowns to swoosh up and down.

Taking the stairs is something that you should do during your stay (how often can you say that about a hotel?) but you must also take the elevator. Inside the beautiful lift cabin is a smartly-dressed attendant who will save you the trouble of pushing the button and whisk you to your floor. It’s a wonderfully old fashioned touch of luxury.

The stewed rabbit in onion-tapioca crumb with lovage puree takes five days to create, making it one of the most complex small plates in the history of bar snack
The ready-to-tickle grand piano in the Royal Suite once belonged to Richard D’Oyly Carte, the man who built the Savoy hotel/ theatre empire.
Supercalifragilistic: Out on the Terrace Suite, if you listen very carefully, you can hear Dick Van Dyke’s atrocious Cockney accent echoing over the rooftops of
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Ideally situated in London’s swankiest neighbourhood Mayfair, Claridge’s is close to unbeatable shopping, museums and galleries, Hyde Park and outstanding restaurants. We suggest you try Scott’s of Mayfair – YACHTS MIDDLE EAST spotted author David Walliams and movie director Ridley Scott on our visit to this popular London institution.

But you won’t want to stay away from Claridge’s too long, especially as it has its very own excellent restaurant, the Michelin-starred Fera. The Reading Room is an elegant alternative place to eat, plus there’s Claridge’s Bar with its gorgeous fireplace and collection of photographs of famous faces, which is an inviting spot to drink in the atmosphere. Staffed by impeccably dressed and trained bartenders, Claridge’s Bar is a prime example of how Art Deco elevates the hotel above most of the competition.

The building was turned into a seven-storey hotel as it is seen today in 1898 and its magnificent Art Deco features from a 1929 revamp remains, seen most strikingly in lamps, mirrors and the 800-piece chandelier in the lobby that is cleaned every night. The word ‘rooms’ doesn’t really do justice to where you’ll rest your head at Claridge’s – apartments or luxurious salons might be a more accurate description. Spacious, stylish and perfectly laid out, it’s no wonder that movie icon Spencer Tracy once said, “When I die I don’t want to go to heaven, I want to go to Claridge’s.” And how’s this for a cute touch? In every wardrobe is a men’s and women’s Burberry trenchcoat to use during your stay. An iconic and timeless piece of English clothing inside the most English and iconic of hotels.