|Hotel Café Royal|
South side of entrance, 2008
The establishment was originally conceived and set up in 1865 by Nicholas Thévenon, who was a French wine merchant. He had to flee France due to bankruptcy, arriving in Britain in 1863 with his wife, Célestine, and just five pounds in cash. He changed his name to Daniel Nicols. Under his son, also named Daniel Nicols, the Café Royal flourished and was considered at one point to have the greatest wine cellar in the world. Daniel Nicols then married and had two children, Roy Daniel Nicols and Patricia Nicols.
By the 1890s the Café Royal had become the place to see and be seen at. Its patrons have included Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, Brigitte Bardot, Max Beerbohm, George Bernard Shaw, Jacob Epstein, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales. From 1951, it was the home of the National Sporting Club. The Café Royal entered a new era after 1972, when it was bought by David Locke.
Restoration and conversion
The Café Royal closed in December 2008. The fittings and furniture were later sold at auction. The building is a grade 1 listed building, which will protect its architecturally significant features and fixtures.
There is also the historic "N" symbol, which represents "Nicols" to remind visitors of the foundation and history behind the set-up of this historic place.
David Chipperfield Architects restored and transformed the building into a contemporary, London hotel featuring 159 rooms and historic suites, an array of dining venues, a private members club, high-tech meeting rooms and a wellbeing spa and gym with 18-metre pool. Alrov Properties, an Israeli property company, opened the hotel in December 2012.
- Guy Deghy and Keith Waterhouse (1955). "Café Royal - Ninety Years of Bohemia". Hutchinson & Co.
- Howard, Michael (February 2010). "A Seeker's Journey", in The Cauldron #135.
- "Cafe Royal memorabilia goes under hammer". Daily Telegraph. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
- Browning, Jonathan (18 December 2008). "London’s Cafe Royal Closes: Farewell to Scandal, Wilde, Murder". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
- Bates, Stephen (23 December 2008). "Cafe Royal party is over as 143 years of high society goes under the hammer". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- "Café Royal A Very Fashionable Launch". The Handbook. 11 December 2012.
- Esquinno, Axel (10 December 2012). "Café Royal makes a dramatic comeback". caterer.com.
- "Cafe Royal sale". Daily Telegraph. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2009.