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The actor Spencer Tracy once remarked:'Not too I want to die, but when I do, I don't want to go to heaven, I do want to visit Claridge's.' William Claridge, butler to an aristocratic family, bought a small hotel in Brook Street and, in 1854, expanded his business by the addition of another hotel in exactly the same street called Mivart's.'Claridge's, late Mivart's ', because it was known for quite some time, had a higher reputation as the London haunt of Continental aristocrats and its prestige was enhanced in 18 60 when Queen Victoria visited the French empress, Eugenie, who'd adopted temporary residence there during her stay static in England. During World War II the exiled king of Yugoslavia was living at Claridge's when his wife gave birth to a son and heir. Churchill declared the suite Yugoslav territory for a day to ensure that the child could have a to the throne - the right that the 60-year-old prince still maintains in 2006.

2.The Ritz

Although he had already retired from the Savoy following financial scandals and mental health problems, the hotel was created to the specifications of the legendary hotelier Cesar Ritz and it became what he called'the small house to which I am very proud to see my name attached '. Opened in 1906, the Ritz immediately became a haunt of the rich and the famous. In the years since, the Aga Khan and John Paul Getty have had suites there, minor European royalty in exile from republican regimes have haunted its corridors and Hollywood stars have fled the attentions of these fans by retiring to its rooms. In 1921, Charlie Chaplin, returning for initially to the city he had left as a not known music-hall performer, nearly caused a riot outside the Ritz and forty policemen needed to be employed in order to escort him in safety through adoring but demanding fans. The Ritz has become owned by the famously reclusive Barclay Brothers.


The hotel was opened by James Brown, a manservant, and his wife Sarah, who'd been a maid to Lady Byron, in 1837. It was where Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance mobile call in England in 1876. Sitting in an area in Brown's, he called a colleague who was simply in a house near Ravenscourt Park. Theodore Roosevelt was married in London and he was residing at Brown's when he walked to his wedding to Edith Kermit Carow in St George's, Hanover Square. Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor spent their honeymoon in the hotel. During World War II the Dutch government in exile declared war on Japan from Room 36 in Brown's.

4.The Savoy

The Savoy was built by the impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte, who first staged the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and opened in 1889. Its first manager was Cesar Ritz, its first chef Auguste Escoffier. Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, at the height of the affair which eventually ruined Wilde, stayed at the Savoy frequently. In his third trial in 1895 Wilde was, amongst other counts, charged and found guilty of committing acts of gross indecency with unknown male persons in Rooms 346 and 362 of the Savoy. The short road ultimately causing the Savoy is the only real thoroughfare in England where drivers drive on the right, a custom that dates back to the time of horse-drawn hansom cabs. The hotel's staff entrance has become in Fountain Court, where William Blake lived within the last few years of his life.