Hotels

Inside the Famed Empress Eugenie Suite of Claridge's, One of London's Most Iconic Hotels

Empress Eugenie, a close friend of Queen Victoria's, made the iconic London hotel a royal institution.
IMAGE © RAY MAIN 2018
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Claridge’s of London is undoubtedly one of the poshest hotels in the city, if not the world, as T&C itself has declared. In addition to a five-star status where rooms can run upwards of 8,000 pounds, it has served as a second home to royals and dignitaries of every stripe since 1860, from Winston Churchill to Brad Pitt. When Queen Elizabeth II dines there, her favorite table is always set with sweet peas.


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Claridge’s foyer, which has hosted everyone from the Queen of England, to Kate Moss celebrating her 30th birthday.

The imperial trendsetter who began this long-lasting relationship between Claridge’s and the royals was Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon III (nephew of the famed Napoleon Bonaparte I), who stayed there frequently from 1860 and often referred to it as her “winter quarters.” Her close friend, Queen Victoria, and her husband, Prince Albert, often stopped by to visit, thus earning the hotel its famous nickname, “the annex of Buckingham Palace.” Though the hotel had an esteemed reputation since William and Marianne Claridge bought it in 1854, it was Empress Eugenie who made it a royal destination.


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Claridge’s art deco lobby, which has received royals for nearly 200 years.

The hotel has been gutted and renovated several times since Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria congregated there to discuss royal affairs over tea (or, we like to imagine, something stronger), so sadly the original room no longer exists.


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A portrait of Empress Eugenie in one of the two bedroom suites.

Recently Claridge’s has unveiled its reimagined Empress Eugenie Suite, a two-bedroom lodging sumptuously decorated with a mix of Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings as well as Victorian elements, including lightly colored silks handwoven by royally commissioned weavers and richly embroidered brocades. Other pieces are inspired by Queen Victoria’s jewelry, such as a chandelier modeled after one of her pendants and headboards embroidered with orange blossoms. There is also a carved marble fireplace, a balcony, and a spacious foyer for receiving visitors. At the room's desk, guests can peruse copies of the letters the Queen and the Empress exchanged throughout their friendship.


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The writing desk, where one can exchange correspondence or read through Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria’s letters.

Just next door, for friends not lucky enough to nab the suite (court society is notoriously brutal after all), is the Duchess of Rivoli Room, named for Empress Eugenie’s Mistress of Robes. The highest ranking courtier, the Duchess of Rivoli was a 19th-century stylist and confidant, accountable for all of Eugenie’s clothing and jewelry.

Guests in the suite have access to Claridge’s renowned "standard" amenities, such as complimentary Burberry trench coats in the closets (though you will be charged if you check out with one), access to the in-house florist, McQueen’s, as well as the in-house bespoke dressmaker, Nicholas Oakwell. In addition, a Mercedes S-class will take you from the airport to the hotel, where all of your clothes can be pressed upon arrival—pop open a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne, chilled and waiting in the room, in the meantime. It promises to be an experience fit for a queen, or rather, an empress.

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Rates start at £5,750 per night.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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