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 discreetly 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 1851 brought an influx of famous visitors, 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Modern History: BBC News 2011 September 29th Barclay brothers buy London hotel Claridge’s from Irish
The Barclay brothers have bought three of London’s top hotels, including Claridge’s, for 800m euros (£695m). They acquired Claridge’s, the Connaught and Berkeley from the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), the Irish government agency created to manage the toxic property loans of its bust banks. It had recovered 100% of the original value of the loans plus interest. The Barclays already own the Ritz hotel in London. The loans had originally been made to the Maybourne Hotel Group by two Irish banks to fund the acquisition of the hotels in 2005. By buying the loans, the Barclays have acquired the hotels.Claridge's Hotel, London, U.K, From 1812. #Regency #Victorian #London Click To Tweet