Hotels in London are well-known all over the world for being luxurious and expensive. They offer both tourists and locals the perfect comfort and relaxation during their holiday stays or business trips. However, London hotels did not initially emerge like the hotels we know at present. They evolved significantly since the time they were established way back in the 19th century.
The large hotels in London that are much like the ones we have now were built during the Victorian Period. Up to the mid-1800s, the hotels were still small and not that classy. Four of London’s most prestigious Five-star hotels at present were built during the Victorian Period. The Claridge Hotel, London’s most aristocratic hotel, was founded in 1812 and was rebuilt to its current form 86 years later. The first hotel in London with en-suite bathroom to all rooms was the Savoy Hotel, which opened in 1889. hotel in new york However, this hotel closed in December 2007 for a £100 million refurbishment but it is said to be opening again by 2010. The Langham Hotel was the largest in the city when it opened in 1865. At present, it has 248 rooms that cater to its loyal guests. In 1906, Ritz Hotel, with its French chateau style building, was built in St. James. It became an instant hit to Londoners who want to have an afternoon tea in a posh environment.
London Hotels did not initially come out the way they are now. The original London hotels started as simple homes of widows who open their houses for people who need a place to stay in for the night. These were called “lodging houses.” They are very simple and not luxurious at all. Another early means of lodging was the “coaching inn.” It served as the home for passengers of stage coaches who had gone from long-distance travels and need a room to rest. The last surviving coaching inn in London is the George Inn, which now belongs to the National Trust.
When the railway was established in London as a major means of transportation during the late 19th century, more tourists started to visit London. This called the opening of more hotels and inns to accommodate them. One answer of the railway companies was to build what they call the “railway hotels,” near the terminals to accommodate guests who need a place to spend the night. At that time, it was the biggest industry in London. It was a sustainable and a thriving business to invest on. Since competition for railway hotels had been stiff, business owners started to make their places grand and classy to attract more guests. Because of this, railway hotels had been a status symbol during the time.
Some of the surviving railway hotels are the Hilton London Paddington, one of the first railway hotels and was initially built as the Great Western Hotel; the Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel, built as Great Eastern Hotel and was reopened in 2000; the Landmark London, opened in 1899 as the Great Central Hotel; and the Grosvenor Hotel, built in 1928. The Great Northern Hotel, also built as a railway hotel, was now closed and is scheduled for demolition and renovation as it now houses offices instead of guest rooms. The Midland Grand Hotel was closed in 1935 and is due to reopen in October 2009 as a Renaissance Hotel.