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At the hub of Mayfair Village since the early part of the 19th century, the Connaught has evolved into a hotel where heritage meets the ultimate modernity, whose English charm and refined elegance remain unchanged have made the Connaught an exceptional choice for the most discerning guest.
The Prince of Saxe-Coburg Hotel is opened as an offshoot of Grillon’s Hotel – formed of two houses owned by the Duke of Westminster. For convenience, it is known as The Coburg.
The owners of The Coburg rebuild the two houses that made up the original hotel and start the process of creating this sumptuous hotel from the ground up. They are under the direction of Sir John Blundell Maple, son of John Maple, the founder of John Maple & Co, the famous furniture makers of London and Paris. Sir John is also known as ‘The Governor’.
The new Coburg Hotel opens, its first brochure is printed, and a 90-year lease is signed on the building by a syndicate led by Sir John Blundell Maple.
During World War I the directors of the hotel rename it the Connaught, a reference to Queen Victoria’s seventh child Arthur, later Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.
French President General Charles de Gaulle is resident at the hotel. It is said he met with allied commanders at locations near the Connaught (General Dwight D. Eisenhower was within easy reach) to discuss strategy and plan the D-Day landings.
The Grill Room opens its doors and soon
establishes itself as a destination dining spot for the great and the good visiting
or living in London.
The Connaught is described as providing ‘the best cooking in England’ by Gourmet magazine. Ironically, this exceptional cooking is by Daniel Dunas – a Frenchman.
Ralph Lauren is said to be so enamoured of the staircase in the lobby of the hotel that he has a replica of it installed in his flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York.
Michel Bourdin becomes Head Chef at the Connaught – a position he will hold for 26 years. He continues the reputation for culinary masterpieces at The Grill Room and The Restaurant and oversees the development of what will become the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of hotel kitchens.
Writer Peter Mayle dedicates a chapter to the Connaught in his book Expensive Habits, which looks at 'the best things in life'. In it he lauds the personal service at the hotel that "all the marble lobbies in the world can't compete with".
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visits the hotel to open the new kitchens. His Royal Highness Prince Charles visits the hotel the same year.
Angela Hartnett opens her first restaurant, Angela Hartnett’s Menu at the Connaught serving sublime Italian dishes and winning her a Michelin star in 2004. The restaurant was open until 2007 – the same year Angela was awarded her MBE.
The Connaught re-opens after a £70 million restoration and refurbishment. Among the highlights are a new wing, the Aman Spa, a serene Japanese garden and David Collins’ luxurious Apartment suite.
Hélène Darroze, one of the most celebrated of the new generation of French chefs brings her Michelin-starred cuisine to the Connaught, with a menu that earns her a second Michelin star. She also oversees the newly opened Espelette bistro. The Coburg Bar is voted Best Bar in London by Time Out magazine.
A sumptuous new ballroom is added to the hotel – the first to be built in Mayfair for over 80 years. Designed by Guy Oliver, the look is pure 1930s Art Deco glamour but rich with contemporary twists. It is the perfect space for gala dinners, screenings and catwalk shows.
The Connaught Bar is named the World’s Best Hotel Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans.
The redevelopment of Mayfair takes another step forward with the opening of Silence, a peaceful, shimmering water feature outside the hotel’s main entrance, created by leading Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
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The Connaught, Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL +44 (0)20 7499 7070
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