Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Foyer...

I have an obsession about having a marble floor with circular geometric design in the tiles in tesselation, like parquetry, and in the middle of the circle and round drum table with a large circular flower arrangement on it. This theme is carried skyward with a large crystal chandelier hanging above the table from a circular dome 26 feet above. Perhaps this is why I love the foyer of the Hotel George V in Paris so much (pictured above and below). It has just the right proportions, and the architectural moulding gives the room a classic finese.

Above photos of the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, from their website.

The table has to be just right. It can't let the ensemble down...

(if it has a cloth on it one wonders what ghastly piece of furniture is being hidden)

Another hotel I love is Claridges in Mayfair. We go there for breakfast whenever we are in London. The Ritz and The Savoy might be nice for tea, but no-one does breakfast like Claridges. It is elegant and comfortable, but also charming and friendly. Other hotels can be too austere. Claridge's is a traditional grand hotel which is said to have an aristocratic ambience and reputation for luxury and expense. Its extensive and old connections with royalty have led to it being referred to as an "extension to Buckingham Palace".

It was founded in 1812 as Mivart's Hotel, located in a conventional London terraced house and grew by expanding into neighbouring houses. In 1854, the founder sold the hotel to a Mr and Mrs Claridge who owned a smaller hotel next door. They combined the two operations, and after trading for a time as "Mivart's at Claridge's", they settled on the current name. The reputation of the hotel was confirmed in 1860 when Empress Eugenie made an extended visit and entertained Queen Victoria at the hotel.

The main lobby is clean and classic.

The foyer lounge has a large central table, always with fresh flower arrangements...

... and a large Chihuly chandelier hanging from the ceiling:

The other Chihuly chandelier of note is the one hanging in the V&A museum in London...

On second thoughts, maybe we should get a Chihuly chandelier for Willowbrook?

Richard D'Oyly Carte, the theatrical impressario and founder of the rival Savoy Hotel, purchased Claridge's in 1894 and shortly afterwards demolished the old buildings and replaced them with the present ones. This was prompted by the need to install modern facilities such as lifts and en suite bathrooms. The new Claridge's opened in 1898. After the First World War, Claridge's flourished due to demand from aristocrats who no longer maintained a London house, and an extension was built in the 1920s. Peter II of Yugoslavia and his wife spent much of the Second World War in exile at Claridge's, and suite 212 was ceded by the United Kingdom to Yugoslavia for a single day (June 17, 1945) to allow their heir, Crown Prince Alexander, to be born on Yugoslav soil.

The Queen arriving at Claridges for a reception.


  1. I have stayed at Claridges several times on business when in London, and adore it. In addition to marvelous public spaces, it has the most wonderful uber-English bathrooms imaginable, with the best showers known to man. They gush water in the most sybaritic, extravagent, delightful way...

  2. Agreed on the marble floors. I have spent a great deal of time in Four Seasons Hotels - those they bought and those they built - and they have a true mastery for round table over marble floor foyer's - the FS Singapore, although so simple, is a favorite. However, George V is a nostalgic favorite for many reasons. Finally, the black and white floor here, can they move it to my house? Glad to find you, this is lovely site.

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  4. Gorgeous foyers. And I loved the history about Claridges - how interesting.


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