Here's an autumnal photo of the beautiful Green flag-awarded Mount Street Gardens.
Here's an autumnal photo of the beautiful Green flag-awarded Mount Street Gardens.
THE PRADA store in Mayfair's Old Bond Street has been hit by robbers.
The "smash and grab" raid took place shortly after 1am this morning with reports saying that four robbers took a quantity of handbags from the store at 16 Old Bond Street.
They made off on two mopeds, one of which crashed in to a lamp post in Conduit Street during the getaway.
Police officers recovered some handbags from the scene of the crash but the moped had left the scene.
Officers from the Met's Flying Squad are appearing for information or witnesses.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to call Police on 101 or, to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
FORMER Spice Girl Victoria Beckham looks set to open a new fashion boutique in Mayfair.
The pop singer-turned-fashion icon is reported to have secured premises for the designer store in Dover Street.
Rumours earlier this year suggested that Beckham was interested in 36 Dover Street. The store is currently occupied by clothing retailer Orvis, which is closing next week and reopening in Regent Street in December.
The Daily Mail reports that the 39-year-old hopes to open the new Mayfair store bearing her name in 2014.
A MURDER investigation has been launched after the Metropolitan Police discovered a dead man at a Mayfair address.
The deceased man, aged 63, was found at a flat in Mount Street on Friday (8th) afternoon.
A post-mortem over the weekend identified the cause of death as head injuries.
Detectives from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command are investigating. Any witnesses or anyone with any information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The victim's identity has not yet been disclosed although next of kin have been informed.
Update: The deceased has been named as Mr Roberto Troyan.
Last night was the last time we get a peep Inside Claridge’s, they’ve shut their doors for good, but not before you got to have a little nose around the Noma pop-up restaurant. With the live ants. Really, really posh live ants.
Due to the rather strange timing of the filming, Inside Claridge’s was just about the only show on the telly last night that didn’t have a Christmas theme (which was arguably a welcome break after Nigellisima and all that fawning over chestnuts). Instead, we whoosed right back to summer and the Olympics where the show sort of divided down the middle. One half was all ‘look at how many important people come and stay at our gaff’ (to be fair, there were loads of important people) and that part was much the same as the previous two shows - a mix of showing how important and prestigious the hotel was while managing to point out errors clearly made for TV that any hotel would have fixed.
The other half of the show was actually rather strange. Seeing Claridge’s team up with Noma just didn’t ring true, there was something a little try-hard about it. The staff didn’t like the food (although watching the senior staff turn their nose up at the thought of eating Danish ants was hilarious). If the staff didn’t care for the food and didn’t believe in it, it makes you wonder why they chose such a controversial restaurant. Noma is obviously known worldwide, but it’s known for being daring and modern - two things that Claridge’s aren’t known for. If anything, they shy away from everything that Noma is about. A pop-up restaurant seems very modern for a hotel that really isn’t, but their choice of restaurant was very odd.
But, over 20,000 people were bidding to get a few thousand places at £195 a head, and then it all becomes a little clearer. They weren’t aiming this at their usual guests. Instead they were after rich tourists who had checked in for the ten days over London 2012. They could never have pitched this to the regulars.
That’s one thing that you can forget about Claridge’s. Their ideas are fantastic, but it’s a business. The hotel might treat the guests like royalty (even on the odd occasion that they’re actually not royalty), but it’s a business. Every decision they make is one aimed at turning a profit. Whether that’s bringing ants over from Denmark and serving them live, or offering up a chicken burger and chips in with a room service breakfast, every decision they make is for their profit margins. Rather cannily, this includes the fascinating TV show which has raised their profile no end. Claridge’s might be out of our reach, it might be a little ridiculous (some might even say vulgar), but goodness it’s fun to pop in for a little while.
“You feel a bit flash if you start throwing Claridge’s around at people.”
This week’s installment of BBC2’s Inside Claridge’s took us further into the hotel and focussed largely on the people working there (with a smattering of famous faces, of course). And this is the most interesting part of the show - you’ll get celebrities in any posh hotel - it’s not just the staff that make this hotel interesting, it’s the unusual way they go about their work. I’m not sure three people are needed to choose new alarm clocks for the hotel rooms. That’s not a three person job, is it?
Have you heard of ‘snagging’? I hadn’t until yesterday. Snagging, is quite clearly the best job in the world. Before a guest arrives in a newly refurbished suite, it’s given a test drive. Senior staff members stay overnight to make sure everything is totally perfect (and we were then given a little series of seemingly made for TV ‘problems’ that the hotel then had to fix). Still, it’s definitely a perk of the job.
The decorators were a jolly bunch, but it was all a little ‘look, we let people from the east end in! And they wear OVERALLS!’. That said, with so much work going into the restoration (it’s costing millions to do up the outside facade alone), you can see how much work they’ve got going on. One overflowing bath in one hotel room, a scuff from a wheely suitcase in another and they’re running around 200 rooms in a neverending cycle. There’s no doubting the painters and decorators work hard, but they were shown doing up damp and water damage - I’d expect that in any hotel, and you also get the feeling that the painters and decorators would be happy in any hotel.
It takes three weeks of training for serving staff to be let loose on guests. In that time, they’re taught everything, from the exact position of a knife on a table to how to make small talk with a guest. The fake small talk charade was rather uncomfortable. I find it a little worrying that it’s taught, but that might explain why I always find service in posh hotels a little uptight. I’d much rather a welcome came naturally, rather than being rehearsed for three weeks first. Still, I can’t help but swoon over their tableware - those green stripes are lovely.
Stephen Fry is an odd addition to the show. I’m quite sure he loves the hotel, but he spent a lot of time in the Savoy while they were filming, singing the praises of the American Bar. He can’t love both hotels equally. There’s no sitting on the fence here. Still, everyone’s favourite English gent will no doubt make the hotel seem that little more likeable, because at the moment it’s all coming across as a little try hard. Still, the show seems to be working - the website was down last night - presumably due to an influx of traffic from sofa Googling - and you’ll have to wait until April 2013 if you want to pop for afternoon tea on a Saturday.
How much does magic cost?
If you’re staying at Claridge’s, it can cost you over £6000. A night. It seems that even magic has a price as the BBC’s new documentary Inside Claridge’s aims to show. The Mayfair hotel isn’t the first to let cameras behind the scenes - The Savoy have got cosy with BBC’s The Apprentice, and they also let ITV have a snoop while they were closed for refurbishment (one wonders if that actually paid toward a large chunk of said refurb). It could be said that with this latest TV offering, Claridge’s are rather behind the times.
The BBC take a little more of a stiff upper lip approach to their show, mentioning austerity and ‘times like these’ so often that it’s almost an episode of Panorama. Here’s the thing that the Beeb don’t want to admit: we might all be in a bit of a crux financially, but that makes looking through the doors of Claridge’s all the more exciting. A bit like going to a cake shop on a diet. You can look but you can’t touch. Or, you can wait until Lastminute.com have a 2-4-1 on afternoon tea and get a tiny little glimpse for yourself. That’s arguably what makes hotels like this special. It’s great seeing how the other half live and sometimes they let you in for a bit. Then you get to go home and pop the kettle on and fight over the ginger nuts and that’s OK too.
The hotel are very keen to show just how hard the staff work and the lengths they go to to keep the hotel perfect. This all seems a little overdone - a lot of the things that they make a song and dance about actually seems like good customer service. Never tell a customer you don’t know something, get rid of the stain on the floor. Frankly, if I’m paying £6000 a night, this is the least I’d expect.
But you can’t avoid the visual treat of the hotel. The Art Deco building is beautiful. There’s a reason it’s so popular with royals and celebrities and heiresses from places you’ve never heard of. You can see why they want to preserve it as it is, and as it has been since 1854. There’s a sense of tradition here and a pride that comes with that. It could be seen as some as stuffy and stuck in its ways, but Claridge’s know their customers. You could go to a newer boutique hotel (and London isn’t exactly short of them), or you could go to the place you know does everything as you ask. One couple visit for six weeks of the year, but they only leave the hotel twice.
Money is a bit of a sticky subject throughout the show. Some members of staff announce rates in four figures with a huge amount of pride and a raised eyebrow, others sneer ever so slightly that the BBC could be so vulgar as to ask how much something costs. Instead, everyone concentrates on the fact that you can have anything you like if you stay here. You can even have a room redecorated on your whim. Your wish is their command. Nothing is too big, no request too outrageous. This might make for brilliant telly, but if you choose to stay at Claridge’s, your every whim will be listed on your itemised bill when you leave.
The three-part series, Inside Claridge's, continues next week on BBC Two and BBC HD.
A SEVENTY-FOUR year old Savile Row tailor has been found in the River Thames.
The body of Harry Bhageerutty, a master coat maker with Dege & Skinner, was discovered in waters off the Isle of Dogs.
Mr Bhageerutty had not been seen since leaving his Thornton Heath home on June 12th, according to reports.
Dege & Skinner, established in 1865, is located at 10 Savile Row. A message on the company website states:
"At this sad time, with the news that one of our team has passed away, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of Harry Bhageerutty, who was a much loved member of our team and our thoughts go out to family and friends at this distressing time."
UNION flags and bunting have been put up across many Mayfair streets to help mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
HM The Queen was born, as Princess Elizabeth, at a house at 17 Bruton Street in 1926. She ascended to the throne following the death of her father in 1952.
Mayfair.org.uk went in search of decorations around Mayfair to mark the Queen's sixty years as monarch.
Graffiti by artist Paul "Don" Smith at corner of Old Bond Street and Burlington Gardens.