The hallowed walls of Claridge’s have welcomed up to 40 key workers through the doors since the beginning of April. The hotel, where suites usually start from £650 per night, has offered complimentary rooms to doctors, nurses and NHS staff who are unable to live at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Visitors are also given breakfast and a hot dinner, which is left outside rooms on a tray to maintain social distancing. The hotel has welcomed all kinds of guests over the years. During the second world war, it was the preferred residence of several exiled royal families and heads of state including Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and King Haakon of Norway. In 1945, Winston Churchill and his wife Lady Clementine moved into Claridge’s temporarily, specifically into the sixth house penthouse suite.
On St George’s Day, the Lanesborough treated NHS staff at St George’s Hospital to their limited edition Peggy Porschen Afternoon Tea which included homemade scones and finger sandwiches – no doubt a much-needed pick-me-up from frontline action. The hotel has also asked people to come forward and nominate someone they know who works for the NHS. Nominees will be entered into a draw and receive a complimentary gift from the hotel, including an afternoon tea experience, drinks in The Library Bar, spa treatments at The Lanesborough Club & Spa or an overnight stay. A nominee is selected each Friday afternoon until restrictions are lifted.
The five red AA starred, 306-bedroom Rosewood London in Holborn temporarily closed its doors to the public on the 22 March. That hasn’t, however, stopped the hotel from serving a healthy dish of hospitality. The Rosewood team has been delivering meals to staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital. In addition, the luxury hotel group has launchedRosewood Raise, a relief initiative to support associates and communities that have been affected by COVID–19. In its first two weeks since formation, the fund has received initial pledges of close to $2 million from Rosewood Hotel Group’s corporate executives and associates.
The Berkeley in Knightsbridge, which is part of the Maybourne Hotel Group along with Claridge’s and The Connaught, has just launched a drive-through service for London Emergency Services. It will serve 250 meals per day available for pickup from 11:30am, with tea and coffee available from 10am. The menu changes daily, on a first come first serve basis. We’ve been told that dishes include aromatic braised lamb, harissa roasted chicken, braised topside of beef and chicken and tomato curry. Not bad at all.
The Connaught hotel in Mayfair is working closely with homeless charity, The Passage, as well as St Patrick’s Church in Soho and Farm Street Church in Mayfair in order to provide provisions to those who are homeless in London. The hotel is preparing more than 2000 meals per week, delivering front line response to this vulnerable community during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has hit the hospitality industry hard, affecting everything from supply chains to reservations. The Dorchester Collection, which operates nine properties throughout the United States and Europe, said it would fully guarantee the jobs of all of its employees, including providing uninterrupted pay for employees regardless of the duration of the pandemic. At The Dorchester London, the five-star hotel will light up its famous façade every evening for the next month to pay tribute to the NHS and all of the front line workers. As part of an ongoing partnership with Manorfield Primary School in East London, hotel chefs are cooking free school meals for children whose parents are required to go to work to help tackle coronavirus. They are also curating daily food packages for donation to a shelter run by the Salvation Army in partnership with Westminster Homelessness Service and supporting the London Ambulance Service with supplies for front line workers including paramedics, vehicle engineers and cleaners.
Luxury-homes short-letting brand,onefinestay, has hospitality in its DNA and makes no exception during these challenging times. It has pledged its support for the initiativeNHS Homes, organised by the Short Term Accommodation Association, to offer free homes for key healthcare workers who need temporary accommodation. As of today, 45 homeowners have opened their doors to key hospital workers. Withbeautiful homesthroughout the capital, many near to hospitals, workers will at least be able to get a good night’s sleep in more than adequate abodes.