Putting on the Ritz: 5 Historic London Hotels

Bed down at these historic locations

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Visitors have been flocking to the sights and sounds of London for centuries, and these hotels have been providing a place to stay since the 1800s. With past guests numbering among the rich, famous (and even royal) these locations are brimming with history. Whether itโ€™s stopping by to people watch at their bars or splashing out on a luxury suite, these historic hotels guarantee that little touch of bygone elegance.ย  ย ย 

1. Brownโ€™s Hotel

Having first opened its doors in 1837, Brownโ€™s is the oldest hotel in London still in operation. Established by the butler to the infamous Romantic poet Lord Byron, James Brown, the hotel has been drawing in distinguished guests from around the world from day one. Alexander Graham Bell made the first British telephone call here in 1876 and Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, and Theodore Roosevelt have all checked in. Over the years itโ€™s also been a hotspot for authors, most notably Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie, A.A. Milne, and Stephen King, making it a pilgrimage site for many booklovers. A recent restoration has ensured that Brownโ€™s Hotel remains a luxury destination, not least through the addition of a subterranean spa.
Brownโ€™s Hotel
Albemarle Street, W1S 4BP
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Image Credit: @browns_hotel

Sitting area inside Brown's Hotel

2. The Langhamย 

On opening in 1865 The Langham was Englandโ€™s first purpose built โ€œgrand hotel,โ€ styled after a Florentine palace. It cost ยฃ300,000 to build (thatโ€™s a whopping ยฃ28,894,631 in todayโ€™s money) and originally featured 100 water closets, 36 bathrooms, and the first hydraulic lifts in England. Like Brownโ€™s itโ€™s got a star studded guest list: Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Charles De Gaulle, and George Orwell have all spent a night here, while more recently it was frequented by Princess Diana. It also boats Londonโ€™s most haunted hotel room, the infamous Room 333, where history may appear a little too close for comfort.
The Langham
1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA
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Image Credit: @langham_london

exterior of the Langham

3. Claridgeโ€™sย 

Dubbed the โ€œannexe to Buckingham Palaceโ€ due to its longstanding connections to royalty, no list of Londonโ€™s most historic hotels would be complete without Claridgeโ€™s. A hotel has been on this site since at least 1812, but it was not until 1854 that husband and wife team William and Marianne Claridge established it as we know now. Besides royalty from around the world making Claridgeโ€™s their go-to destination, screen stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Brad Pitt have checked in, as have Mick Jagger and Whitney Houston. Theyโ€™ve also established themselves in the culinary world too, with Michelin star chefs offering some very exclusive eats.
Claridgeโ€™s
Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
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Image Credit: @claridgeshotel

A room in Clardige's

4. Midland Grand Hotel (St Pancras Renaissance London)

The Midland Grand Hotel, now known as St Pancras Renaissance London, opened its doors in 1873. Itโ€™s gothic castle style was the work of George Gilbert Scott, who won the competition held by the Midland Railway Company to design a hotel at the new St Pancras station. No expense was spared: a grand staircase and fireplaces in every room were installed, and gold leaf used on many of the surfaces. It was closed in 1935 and became the property of British Rail, but happily extensive renovations since 2004 have allowed this imposing building to re-open as a hotel.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London
Euston Road, NW1 2AR
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Image Credit: @stpancrasren

aerial view of St Pancras Hotel

5. The Ritz

Grab your top hat and tails for this London establishment synonymous with glamour and opulence. Opened in 1906 it has welcomed royalty and politicians from around the world, and many important meetings have been conducted in its lavish rooms. The Ritzโ€™s Afternoon Tea is world-renowned, as is their Michelin starred cuisine, served in one of their many dining rooms. Itโ€™s also one of the only London hotels to still enforce a strict dress code for its guests which many, including Mick Jagger, have fallen foul of.
The Ritz
150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
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Image Credit: @theritzlondon

dining room of The Ritz

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