From the Editor: In My Dreams

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One of the few pleasures currently available to the ardent traveler is the thrill of anticipation. In normal times, I travel so routinely that there is little opportunity to dream. I choose a destination, make reservations, head down to the airport, and fly. In contrast, I now find myself lingering over memories of cherished regions and best-loved hotels and planning potential trips. Although hideaways are my specialty, I am certainly not immune to the charm of grand hotels. One of my longtime favorites is Claridge’s in London. In its current form, Claridge’s opened in 1898, and despite a major art deco makeover in 1929, the hotel has never closed, even during the Blitz. (Indeed, World War II was something of a high spot in the hotel’s history: Much of the OSS — the precursor to the CIA — was based there during the conflict, and Generals Marshall and Eisenhower planned the invasion of North Africa from suite 402.)

Claridge's in London's Mayfair
Claridge's in London's Mayfair - Claridge's

But with the arrival of COVID-19, the hotel was forced into lockdown on March 24 last year. Fortuitously, the subsequent six months without paying guests became the final phase of an astonishingly ambitious three-year renovation project. This has seen the construction of a five-story basement beneath the existing six-story structure, housing, among other things, a spa, fitness center, swimming pool and wine store. Architectural ingenuity was further stretched by the construction of two new floors on the roof of the historic building. And there is also a new restaurant, Davies and Brook, helmed by chef Daniel Humm, who made his stellar reputation at Eleven Madison Park in New York City. Currently becalmed and dreaming of future travels, I imagine myself strolling through Claridge’s exquisite art deco foyer, perhaps in search of afternoon tea or a glass of Champagne, exhilarated by the sense that once again all is right with the world.

By Andrew Harper Editor Andrew Harper editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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