History & Heritage
At the hub of Mayfair Village since the early part of the 19th century, The Connaught has evolved into a hotel where all the desires of the modern traveller are fulfilled, but the charm and refined elegance remain unchanged.
1815 – 1900
1815 EARLY DAYS: The Prince of Saxe-Coburg Hotel is opened as an offshoot of Grillion’s Hotel – formed of two houses owned by the Duke of Westminster. For convenience, it is known as The Coburg.
1892 REBUILDING BEGINS: 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’.
1897 THE COBURG OPENS: 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.
1900 – 1955
1917 RE-CHRISTENED: During the First World War 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.
1940 FIT FOR A PRESIDENT: 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.
1955 GRILL ROOM OPENS: 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.
1965 – 1975
1965 ENGLAND'S BEST: The Connaught is described as providing ‘the best cooking in England’ by Gourmet magazine. Ironically, this exceptional cooking is by Daniel Dunas – a Frenchman.
1970 INSPIRING STAIRCASE: 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.
1975 MICHEL ARRIVES: 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.
1991 – 2002
1991 EXPENSIVE HABIT: 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".
1992 ROYAL VISITORS: 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.
2002 MICHELIN STAR: 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 is open until 2007 – the same year Angela is awarded her MBE.
2007 – 2009
2007 £70 MILLION FACELIFT: 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.
2008 CELEBRATED CHEF: 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. The Coburg Bar is voted Best Bar in London by Time Out magazine.
2009 NEW BALLROOM: A sumptuous new ballroom is added, 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.
2010 – Present Day
2010 BAR ACCOLADE: The Connaught Bar is named the World’s Best Hotel Bar at the Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans.
2011 WATER LANDMARK: 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.
2017 JEAN-GEORGES ARRIVES: Renowned New York-based French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opens a new restaurant at The Connaught, in the space overlooking Mount Street. It offers all-hours informal gourmet dining to both hotel guests and the local Mayfair neighbourhood. Relaxed, contemporary design is by John Heah. New stained glass panels are installed, to echo the brick red tones of the buildings surrounding Carlos Place.