For three weeks in November 2012, BBC2 at 9pm had my full undivided attention. Inside Claridge’s was a fascinating programme showcasing the inner workings of this very British institution, and it became my guilty pleasure to settle down with a cup of tea and watch Thomas Koch and his team.
So you can imagine my joy and delight when I managed to get availability for an overnight stay for me and my husband as a special treat for the two of us! What followed can only be described as a night to remember, and is something that I will proudly tell my grandchildren…..the night that I was 'Inside Claridge’s'.
We arrived at around 2pm to be greeted by the Front Desk Manager, who was aware of my arrival time (goodness knows how!) and recognised me! From the programme I know that they Google their VIP guests! Did that mean I was a VIP?!
Before we arrived at the hotel, both myself and my husband felt slightly intimidated about the experience, however all that washed away, as the Front Desk manager and the check-in staff made us feel like we were old friends coming back for a stay. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so the Front Desk manager advised us that he had reserved a table for us in the bar, and that the drinks were on him (how kind). We enjoyed a refreshing glass of wine before deciding to hit the shops in Mayfair – and when I say hit, I mean go and ogle the models in Abercrombie and Fitch (which was not as fun for the husband as it was for me). We then headed back to base to check-in. As we approached the desk, there was a slightly larger gathering of new friends waiting to welcome us, with cheeky grins on their faces……a nice surprise was waiting for us! We were told that a lovely room with fantastic views had become available….
Being a VIP, the Claridge's way
We were ushered into the lift and taken up to the 6th floor by a member of the check-in team. It seemed that even Manuel was in on the secret as he could not contain his grin! As we left the lift we were taken to a staircase…my heart jumped into my throat as I saw the signage, ‘Davies Penthouse,’ surely this was a mistake? We were led up the stairs where we were met by our butler (whose name I cannot reveal for security purposes). Someone was definitely having a joke with us surely? Our butler then took over from the check-in clerk and we were whisked inside…I couldn’t believe our luck!
The Davies Suite is entered through a pair of magnificent and very grand rosewood and brass doors to a small bar area (oh heaven!) and is ideal for welcoming guests – our butler informed us that since it was the weekend of the BAFTA’s we could always entertain any passing celebs in true VIP style. We were then led through to a stunning lounge with a barrel vaulted ceiling studded with lights, decorated in an elegant 19th century style with large original fireplace, marble fixture’s, wooden floors and contemporary oil paintings on sunflower yellow walls. Once I had taken in my surroundings we were led out onto our private terrace overlooking the rooftops of London. I shrieked in delight as we could see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye!
As we were led around the rest of the suite, our butler explained all the amenities to us as well as giving us some history of the previous occupants of the suite. Rock stars, pop stars, politicians and actors, had all stated there and my brain went into celebrity overdrive…..I was going to be using a bathroom that some of my idols had used, including Winston Churchill! We were then led into the closet (which was massive!) and introduced to the latest concept from Claridge’s. In partnership with Burberry, guests staying in the suites are given a Burberry raincoat for the duration of their stay. As guests check-in they are sized up and the coats are placed in their suites prior to their arrival, what a great idea! I decided that once the butler had settled us in, the Burberry was going on and a mini fashion show would take place. The butler then showed the husband all the TV related gadgetry and iPod docking station paraphernalia while I pranced around my Penthouse Suite pretending to be Beyoncé (don't ask!).
Too nice to leave
Before leaving us, he sent up a chilled bottle of champagne which we enjoyed on the terrace as we watched the sunset over London. Facebook and Twitter went wild for an hour as we tweeted, Facebooked and texted just about everyone we knew. By 6pm everyone in the UK was aware of our whereabouts and how we were living it up like VIP’s – most of our friends assumed we had won the lottery!
My original intention when I booked Claridge’s was to sit in the lobby and look out for celebrities or spot the staff that had been on the TV show….but my penthouse suite was just too nice to leave and so we decided to enjoy a room service dinner and then settle down to watch a movie on the massive flat screen TV.
Our butler served us a delicious three course dinner, complete with candlelight and exquisite service. Nothing could top this…surely?
Dinner over and done with and our butler dismissed for the evening, we turned our attention to the four poster bed with the world’s biggest mattress which made an excellent crash mat!
Being Inside Claridge’s was a memorable experience – the friendly service, the atmosphere and the classic décor. I have stayed in many prestigious 5 star properties all over the world, but none have given me the glow that Claridge’s did. And when I do win the lottery I know exactly where I will be spending my first weekend away with family and friends...
Check out more of the luxyury on the dedicated Pinterest board.