• Luxury London Hotel History
  • THE HISTORY OF THE BERKELEY

    The Berkeley started life some 300 years ago as coffee house on the busy corner of Piccadilly and Berkeley Street. It soon transformed into the hotel we know today – a special favourite with London connoisseurs of the finer things in life, and an essential reservation for the well-informed international traveller.

  • 1700 - 1920

     History1700

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    • 1700s: Coffee house origins 

      The hotel begins life on the corner of Berkeley Street and Piccadilly as the Gloucester Coffee House, the departure point for the coachmen of the Western Mail.

    • 1897: Debutantes’ delight 

      The coffee house takes a step forward and is christened the Berkeley hotel. It becomes popular with debutantes and their beaus – and especially with their parents who trust the Berkeley’s staff to keep an eye on their daughters’ reputations.

    • 1920s: Air con arrival 

      The Berkeley begins its long-term commitment to innovation, becoming one of the first hotels in London to introduce a new development in comfort for its guests: air conditioning.

  • 1935 - 1998

    History1900

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    • 1935: Glazing sensation 

      Innovations continue throughout the roaring 20s and 30s including the installation of a new domestic sensation called double-glazing, which has the additional benefit of rendering the hotel practically soundproof.

    • 1972: Knightsbridge move 

      The Berkeley moves to its new home on Wilton Place in the heart of Knightsbridge. Designed by British architect Brian O’Rorke, the hotel incorporates restored features from the original building. It also has one of London’s few rooftop pools.

    • 1998: Home for Tante Claire  

      Pierre Koffmann, one of the world’s most respected chefs, moves his legendary restaurant La Tante Claire from Chelsea to the Berkeley, serving his signature dish of pig’s trotter stuffed with morel mushrooms.

  • 2000 - 2010  

     History1945

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    • 2000: Birth of the Blue Bar 

      Soon after opening, the Blue Bar, designed by David Collins, becomes an entry in little black books everywhere and the destination bar is born. It incorporates restored original features, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, from the old hotel building.

    • 2005: Fashion on a plate 

      Prêt-à-Portea, the Berkeley’s couture-inspired take on the traditional afternoon tea, is first served in the hotel’s Caramel Room. It has been enjoyed by fashionistas every afternoon since.

    • 2008: Michelin stars 

      Continuing a tradition of offering guests exquisite cuisine, the Berkeley welcomed Marcus Wareing who opened his eponymous and universally praised restaurant, serving impeccable two Michelin-starred food.



  • 2010 - Present Day  

     HistoryPresent

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    • 2010: Chic dining

      World-renowned chef Pierre Koffmann returns to the Berkeley, opening Koffmann’s in a chic and simple dining room. His arrival heralds a resurgence of French cooking in London. We are the first hotel in the UK to introduce iPads for personal guest use – even before the revolutionary tablet is available to buy in the UK.

    • 2011: Atelier first 

      Customers can design the car of their dreams at Ferrari Atelier at the Berkeley, the world’s first standalone atelier outside Italy. Their Personalisation Room, where clients can tailor their Ferraris, is modeled on the version back in Maranello.

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