Claridge’s was founded in 1812 as Mivart’s Hotel at 51 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, UK.
Lord William Beauclerk leased the terrace house from the Grosvenor Estate with permission to turn it into a hotel run by James Edward Mivart, the anglicized name for French chef Jacques Mivart. By 1838, the hotel grew to buy five consecutive houses along Brook Street, knocking down the walls to create one large hotel and Mivart prospered by introducing English county families to subtle French cooking to replace their traditional stodgy fare.
Mivart designed the hotel for guests who wished to stay longer, so apartments were let by the month to foreign royalty and nobility who enjoyed the ambiance of the well-run hotel yet had the privacy of their own suites. The Prince Regent, who succeeded to the throne as King George IV in 1820, had a suite of rooms permanently reserved for him so he could discretely carry on his playboy lifestyle.
In 1827, The Morning Post noted that Mivart’s was the fashionable rendezvous for the high Corps Diplomatique.
The Great Exhibition of 1851brought an influx of famous visitors,
In 1854, the hotel was sold to Mr and Mrs Claridge who ran a separate hotel at 49 Brook Street. They combined the two operations to trade as “Mivart’s at Claridge’s” until, after Mivart’s death, the hotel changed its name to Claridge’s in 1856, adding “late Mivart’s” underneath. In 1860, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Empress Eugènie of France, who had made Claridge’s her winter quarters, and Queen Victoria was so impressed that she wrote to her uncle, Leopold I, King of the Belgians, in glowing terms of Claridge’s. The hotel became so connected to royalty it was called an “extension to Buckingham Palace”.including the Grand Duke Alexander of Russia and King William III of the Netherlands, until by 1853, The Times decided London had just three first-class hotels- Mivart’s, The Clarendon in Bond Street and Thomas’s in Berkeley Square.
So in 1894, Richard D’Oyly Carte, founder of the rival Savoy Hotel, purchased Claridge’s and commissioned CW Stephens, designer of Harrods, to rebuild the hotel from the ground up. The new Claridge’s opened in November 1898.In 1881, William Claridge’s failing health forced them to sell to a consortium, but the hotel consisted of several private houses and couldn’t be upgraded to compete with purpose built hotels cropping up all over London. The Savoy, built in 1889, offered lifts to all floors, electricity, en suite bathrooms and the best chef in Europe, Auguste Escoffier.
Well-known actors, directors and entertainers who have used Claridge’s include Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Brad Pitt, Mick Jagger, U2 and Mariah Carey.After World War I, Claridge’s flourished due to demand from aristocrats who no longer maintained a London house and Carte’s son, Rupert D’Oyly Carte, added a new extension. During World War II, Peter II of Yugoslavia and his wife spent their exile at Claridge’s until on 17th June 1945, suite 212 was ceded by the UK to Yugoslavia for a single day to allow their heir, Crown Prince Alexander, to be born on Yugoslav soil.
Mayfair – London’s Best Places (suzilove.com)