the secret world of ​London’s luxury hotels 

The capital’s most luxurious hotels have always straddled the private and the public. According to The West End Front, a book by Matthew Sweet about the role of the hotels during the war, men such as César Ritz, who opened the Ritz in 1906, played a central role in persuading “the plutocracy and the aristocracy to do something to which they were unaccustomed – eat, drink, smoke and dance in public”. Sweet says that high-born women who previously only socialised in country estates and private town houses began to do so at the hotels: “There was a whole class of young British women who were allowed to have their first unaccompanied nights out at these places.”On the other hand, they are places designed to feel like islands in the city, trading on their separateness from it. “They are these sequestered places – you are immediately separated from the outside world,” says Sweet. “They employ these strategies, like casinos in Vegas, to prevent you from noticing the outside world. The Dorchester has its internal boulevard – you are not looking out at Hyde Park. At Claridge’s, you are looking at the staircase, not London. The whole idea is to separate you from people outside, so you can enjoy yourself in this sort of citadel, unencumbered by the view of people who can’t afford to get in.”

Source: Playgrounds for sheikhs and oligarchs: the secret world of ​London’s luxury hotels | UK news | The Guardian