Grosvenor House Hotel

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Coordinates: 51°30′35.2″N 0°9′19.7″W / 51.509778°N 0.155472°W / 51.509778; -0.155472

Grosvenor House
Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane.jpg
Grosvenor House, overlooking Park Lane
Grosvenor House Hotel is located in Central London
Grosvenor House Hotel
Location within Central London
General information
Location London, England
Coordinates 51°30′35.2″N 0°9′19.7″W / 51.509778°N 0.155472°W / 51.509778; -0.155472
Opened 1929
Owner Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.
Management JW Marriott Hotels
Technical details
Floor count 8
Other information
Number of rooms 420
Number of suites 74
Number of restaurants 2
Parking Yes
Website
Official website

Grosvenor House is a luxury hotel that opened in 1929 in the Mayfair area of London, England. It is managed by JW Marriott Hotels, which is a brand of Marriott International.

History[edit]

Grosvenor House Hotel, 1920s postcard illustration

The Grosvenor House Hotel was built in the 1920s and opened in 1929 on the site of Grosvenor House, the former London residence of the Dukes of Westminster, whose family name is Grosvenor. The hotel owed its existence to Albert Octavius Edwards, who conceived and built it, then presided over it as chairman for 10 years.[1]

Key to the story of the hotel was A.H. Jones, who had worked for Edwards in Doncaster. In January 1929, six months after the completion of the first block of apartments, and six months before completion of the hotel, Edwards brought Jones to Grosvenor House as accountant. In 1936, at the age of 29, Jones became general manager of Grosvenor House. Apart from the war years, when he served with the Royal Artillery and later in the NAAFI, Jones held this position until he retired in 1965.[2]

The hotel was not finally completed until the 1950s because Baron Bruno Schröder, who had acquired the lease of 35 Park Street in about 1910, had refused to give it up to Edwards. Schröder remained in the house until his death in 1943, and permission to demolish the house was finally given in 1956. The house was replaced with a 92-bedroom extension which was officially opened in 1957 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Peter Thorneycroft.[2]

Grosvenor House managed to have a 'good' World War II. Ten thousand sandbags and five miles of blackout material protected the building, and its entertaining space was used in the war effort. The Great Room initially became home to the Officers' Sunday Club and then, in 1943, to the US officers' mess. Generals Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton were regular visitors.[3]

It underwent a four-year renovation and restoration costing £142 million, and reopened in 2008.[4] This included a full refurbishment of all restaurants, guest rooms, health facilities, and public areas. The Great Room, Ballroom, Court Suite, restaurants, bars, meeting spaces and 494 guest rooms can accommodate a total of over 6,000 people.[5]

Grosvenor House is managed by the JW Marriott Hotels brand of Marriott International. In 2010, the Sahara India Pariwar purchased the hotel from Royal Bank of Scotland for £470 million.[6]. Sahara India Pariwar is also the owner of New York's famed Plaza Hotel, on 7 July 2017.[7]

The hotel drew protests in 2017 when it hosted the annual gathering of the Aerospace Defence Security group (ADS), a trade association which represents arms companies. Campaigners stood outside the hotel and held banners protesting the role of some ADS member companies in the arming of Saudi Arabia during its attack on Yemen.[8]

The owners turned down an offer of more than £600 million for the hotel in April 2017 from British billionaires David and Frederick Barclay, before finally selling the hotel, for an undisclosed sum, to US-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.

Facilities[edit]

Courtyard entrance on Park Street

Grosvenor House was the first hotel in London at that time to have a separate bathroom and entrance lobby for each bedroom, and running iced water in every bathroom. When the hotel first opened, it was also the headquarters of the International Sportsmen's Club. Its facilities included Turkish baths, a swimming pool, squash courts and a gymnasium.

The hotel has a pedestrian entrance on Park Lane in Mayfair, but this is not the 'main/courtyard' entrance, which is actually on Park Street. The official address of the hotel is 86–90 Park Lane.[9]

Great Room[edit]

The Great Room (which is a separate room to the Ballroom) at the Grosvenor House is the venue of many prominent awards evenings, charity balls and the like, and it is often seen on British television. Since the 1930s, the Great Room has hosted the world's oldest charitable ball, the Royal Caledonian Ball, and it is one of the largest ballrooms in Europe, with a maximum capacity of 2,000 seated (200 10-person tables) or 1,100 theatre style.

Although now not used as such, the Great Room was originally built as an ice-rink, and much of the machinery lies dormant under the current flooring. In 1933, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, learnt to skate at the hotel at just seven years of age. Sonja Henie, Cecilia Colledge, and other famous skaters frequently displayed their skill. International ice hockey matches were played there, and the newly formed Grosvenor House Canadian hockey team, recruited from Canadians living in London, played the Queen's Ice Hockey Club on the rink, the first of a series of matches against teams from the United Kingdom and the Continent.

Anticipating competition from other ice rinks, the rink was converted in 1935 into a banquet hall measuring 1,902 square metres (20,454 square feet). It has hosted parties, galas, awards ceremonies, dinners and balls to mark most significant national events and celebrations.[10]

Tenants[edit]

Richard Corrigan rents space within the hotel and runs the restaurant Corrigan's Mayfair.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "London's Grosvenor House hotel bought by Indian firm". BBC. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Origins of Grosvenor House" (PDF). JW Marriott. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Inge Moore and The Gallery create glamorous new interiors for JW Marriott's Grosvenor House". 8 July 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  4. ^ London's Grosvenor House Gets Grand Renovations. HotelChatter (24 September 2008). Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Grosvenor House Hotel". Open Buildings. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Bloomberg". Bloomberg L.P. 
  7. ^ "London's Grosvenor House Hotel Has a New Owner". Bloomberg L.P. 7 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Campaigners disrupt arms dinner". Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "Nearest station to Grosvenor House Hotel". London Town. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "400 rooms, a view of Hyde Park and Europe's largest five-star ballroom: London's landmark Grosvenor House Hotel goes on sale... for an estimated £470million". Daily Mail. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "Corrigan's Mayfair". The Handbook. 8 February 2013. 

External links[edit]