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History & Heritage
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.
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: 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: 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: 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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The Berkeley, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL, United Kingdom +44 (0)20 7235 6000
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