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Is Brown’s the oldest hotel in London?
There have been many contenders for the highly-prized title of being named as “London’s oldest hotel”.
The Grosvenor (near Victoria station) and the Hilton Paddington (formerly the Great Western) can both lay claim to an impressive heritage dating back to the mid-nineteenth century during the reign of Queen Victoria.
However, Brown’s in Mayfair probably wins the honour overall.
Founded in 1837 by the Brown family, the hotel has hosted many distinguished guests over the years, including US president Theodore Roosevelt and legendary Ethiopian emperor Haille Sellassie.
Brown’s has also witnessed many historic events, such as the first ever telephone call by Alexander Graham Bell. Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ was also written during the author’s stay at the hotel and Agatha Christie apparently based her famous novel ‘At Bertram’s Hotel’ on Browns.
Located in the charming Mayfair neighbourhood in the heart of central London, Brown’s is also within striking distance of Piccadilly.
The Royal Academy of Arts and Hyde Park are on its doorstep, making it an ideal place to stay, particularly if you’re fond of hotels steeped in history (although rooms are in fact quite modern and tastefully furnished).
Towards the turn of the 19th century, Brown’s was purchased by the Ford family. After combining it with their own adjacent hotel, the St George, they added an extra floor. These and other developments helped to turn it into a luxurious hotel which also carries an air of understated charm.
After being purchased by the Rocco Forte Collection in 2003, Browns was noticeably revamped and renovated, yet retains its 19th century grace.
Despite its age, the hotel was recently listed among Conde Naste Traveller’s ‘hottest, newest hotels,’ and has received several other awards. It has built up a strong following among Middle Eastern visitors.
Indeed, Brown’s might be seen as irrefutable proof that good things come with age, though it’s a hotel that definitely falls within the “reassuringly expensive” category. You’re unlikely to have cause for complaint.
Photo credits: Brown’s Hotel (Rocco Forte Collection), Milestone Hotel.