The Cadogan

A spot of luxury in the heart of Knightsbridge

The Jersey Lillie

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The Lillie Langtry Suite at The Cadogan Hotel

March is a month that celebrates women. The 8th marked International Women’s Day and the 30th honours Mothers in the United Kingdom.

Our leading lady Lillie Langtry was certainly a woman to be celebrated. When she left the island of Jersey, the place in which she was born, and made her way to London she quickly became the toast of the town – strong-minded, strong-willed, smart and beautiful.

She lived in a property at 21, Pont Street in Knightsbridge, before it was absorbed into The Cadogan Hotel. In true Lillie style, she sold her home to the hotel owners, on the understanding that she could keep her bedroom, room 109, entertain guests and eat free of charge in the hotel’s restaurant.

A famous actress of her time and many an artist’s muse, her sense of humour, intelligence and striking violet eyes quickly and somewhat unsurprisingly caught the attention of the Albert Edward ‘Bertie’ the Prince of Wales, son of Queen Victoria. Although she was married at the time to Edward Langtry, a wealthy land-owner, upon meeting Lillie the Price was captivated by her. It is said that he stated she was ‘unlike any woman he had met before’.

The Prince was well-known for his philandering and it was common knowledge that he only kept married women as his mistresses. With Edward Langtry otherwise engaged on trips away, planned cunningly by the Prince’s friends, Lillie became Bertie’s mistress exclusively.

During her time at The Cadogan Hotel, where she entertained the future King of England, Lille Langtry became close friends with Irish play write and author, Oscar Wilde, whom also stayed at The Cadogan frequently in room 118. Wilde said of Lillie, “I would rather have discovered Lillie Langtry then America”. In his typical flamboyant fashion, he would walk the streets with bunches of Lillies declaring he was going to meet the new Helen of Troy.

Treat your mum this Mother’s Day to a special evening, living like Lillie in her old bedroom.

Rates in The Lillie Langtry Suite from £290 inclusive of Champagne afternoon tea for two and full English breakfast in Salon Langtry.

Call our reservations team on +44 (0)20 7235 7141 and quote ‘Spring Promotion’.

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Can you Hackett?

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When you think of British men’s style you think of traditional tweeds; of elegant overcoats; of beautifully cut morning suits. Saville Row is renowned for supplying English gentry with the finest tailoring in the country. But there is only one place that the discerning son of the classic Saville Row customer would go for a fresh take on traditional fashion, and that place is Hackett.

Founded in 1979 by Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings, Hackett started as a small stall on Portobello Road in West London, selling cleaned and restored second-hand clothing that the two sourced in many an antique market and house clearance. After watching as their small business went from strength to strength, in 1983 Hackett and Lloyd-Jennings took a calculated risk and opened their first shop on the New King’s Road in Parsons Green, London. They still sold their second-hand finds until it became clear that the demand far exceed the supply. They decided their best option was to start manufacturing the clothing and accessories themselves, drawing upon their wealth of knowledge about British men’s style. The range on offer included all of their favourites but with a modern twist that attracted publications such as the “Sloane Ranger Handbook” and “Young Fogeydom”, which further pushed their business.

Due to its continued success, Hackett opened more shops; one for suits, one for shirts and ties, one for tailoring, one for formal wear, one for sportswear and a barbers. The shops were all within 100 yards of each other, prompting London cabbies to affectionately refer to the area as ‘Hackett Cross’.

By 1992, Hackett has truly left a mark on London, so much so that Alfred Dunhill (later to trade under ‘Richemont Luxury Goods Group) bought a majority shareholding in the company. This injection support allowed Hackett to open its still current flagship store on Sloane Street.  

In 1997, Hackett became official sponsors of the England Rugby Football Union Team, kitting out the players with bespoke blazers and the team’s first team suit. Following in sporting style, in 2005, they became Official Partners to the GT1 works Aston Martin Racing team supplying official team clothing and accessories.         

By 2006, the brand was represented in 15 European countries, Hong Kong and Dubai on top of the 29 existing Hackett shops across the UK, Spain and France.

Today, Hackett’s flagship store remains our neighbour on Sloane Street. The beautifully British shop feels like an English country home spread over three floors. Retaining Hackett and Lloyd-Jenning’s original vision alive, each floor is different with a personal tailoring service on the top floor. But the true pièce de résistance is the traditional barber shop. Offering hair cuts and wet shaves and even a shoe shining service, this store has everything a modern man could need, and indeed, any man would feel like a gent in Hackett.

For more information about Hackett’s services visit http://www.hackett.com/

 

Remember, remember, the 5th November

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On November 4th 1605, a plot to assassinate king James I was foiled by authorities.

A group of disaffected Catholics conjured a plan to kill the King by blowing up the House of Lords. Their goal was to restore Protestant England to Catholicism and put a stop to the persecution of their faith.

On October 26th, an anonymous letter was sent, alerting a Catholic sympathiser to avoid the State opening of Parliament on November 5th. This informed authorities of the existence of the plot and they began to search for the men behind it.

Guy Fawkes was found at the eleventh hour in a cellar under the House of Lords, with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was promptly arrested and taken to the Tower of London, where he was tortured upon the special order of King James I. Londoners, on hearing this, immediately started lighting bonfires around the city in celebration of the failed plan. Not long after, Fawkes’ co-conspirators were arrested and all were found guilty of high treason. They were sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering.  

Months after the assassination of King James was intercepted, Parliament announced that November 5th would be a national day of thanksgiving.  

400 years after his death, Guy Fawkes is still singled out as one of the greatest villains in English history and every year on the 5th November, people all over the country light bonfires, burn effigies of Fawkes and watch firework displays in memory of the failed Gunpowder Plot.

If you are in town tonight, make sure you wrap up warm and go to your nearest fireworks night. Here is a list of where they are: http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/bonfire-night-fireworks-displays-in-london

Haunted London

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London’s rich history spans 2000 years, so it’s no surprise that ghosts of people past are reported to lurk in every corner.  Here is our list of the spookiest places in the city. Why not give yourself a real fright this Halloween and take a haunted tour arount the Capital?

The London Underground

The London Underground is 253 miles long and is approaching its 151st year in January. It carves and snakes under the city and when it was formed, tore through what had been laid to rest for centuries. During the Black Death, plague pits were dug all across the city to bury those who had died of the infection. During the building of the Victoria line in the late 1960s, the tunnel boring machine hit a plague pit at Green Park. The souls of those buried in this location are said to walk the tunnels of Green Park Tube Station.

                Similarly, a man in a top hat and frock coat has been sighted many times strolling through Covent Garden station. He is believed to be actor William Terriss, who was stabbed to death near the Adelphi Theatre on The Strand.

                And a ghost train was spotted at South Kensington Tube Station by a passenger on the westbound tube. An ear-piercing whistle was heard as a tube pulled into the eastbound platform. A figure wearing a reefer jacket and peaked cap was said to be driving the train. As quickly as it had appeared, it vanished into the tunnel, never to be seen again.

Westminster Bridge SW1

                People standing on Westminster Bridge on the 31st December, just before Big Ben announces the New Year have reported sightings of a shadowy figure jumping head first into the Thames. Legend maintains that Jack the Ripper, London’s most enigmatic and famous criminal committed suicide at this very hour in 1888, by leaping into the river.

Berkley Square W1

                50 Berkley Square is currently home to Maggs Bros, an antique book dealer. It is reported that the attic is haunted by the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide by throwing herself from the top floor window. The spirit is said to be capable of scaring people to death. In fact, various inexplicable deaths have occurred at this address, all occurring in the attic.

The Grenadier, Knightsbridge SW1

                This pub on Wilton Row dates back to the early eighteenth century and is popular with royalty and celebrities such as King George IV, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. It has been described as ‘the most famous haunted pub in the world’. Legend has it, a young soldier was beaten to death after being found cheating at a game of cards and has haunted the pub ever since. Reports state that tables and chairs rattling, objects moving and sometimes disappearing, unexplained footsteps and erratic pets have all occurred in the pub, supposedly at the hands of the murdered soldier’s ghost.

The Cadogan Hotel, Knightsbridge SW1X

                Finally, our very hotel is the scene of some spooky happenings. Lillie Langtry is one of our most famous past guests, King’s consort and friend of Oscar Wilde. An actress, she lived at 21 Pont Street before it was eventually absorbed into the hotel in 1895. Lillie stayed in her room, 109 and it has been suggested that she would entertain ‘Bertie’ Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and future king there. Lillie Langtry died on the 12th December 1929 and her ghost has been seen in her old drawing room, now Salon Langtry around Christmas time when the hotel is quiet.

The Cadogan wishes you all a happy and suitably scary Halloween.

Happy Birthday Oscar

 

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Yesterday, the 16TH October, was Oscar Wilde’s birthday and what better way to celebrate his life, his wit and his spirit than with a celebrity-filled soiree at his favourite hotel?

Stars of stage and screen, past and present MPs, Lords and Ladies, gathered in our Bar and Drawing Room on Tuesday to toast Oscar Wilde with his favourite champagne, Perrier-Jouët.

Upon entering the Drawing Room, guests were greeted with a bronze bust of Wilde, commissioned by Author of ‘The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations’, Gyles Brandreth and sculpted by portrait sculptor James A. Matthews. The original, handwritten poem ‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at The Cadogan Hotel’ by John Betjeman, poet laureate, was framed and placed next to the bust.

Wilde was known, and is remembered for many things; however his wit is his true legacy. Here is a list of our favourite Oscar Wilde quotations:

  • A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.
  • Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
  • Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
  • Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
  • Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
  • It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.
  • One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.
  • The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.
  • The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
  • Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
  • My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.
  • I can resist anything but temptation.
  • Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.
  • Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
  • The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
  • I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.
  • I love acting. It is so much more real than life.

 

The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at The Cadogan Hotel

John Betjeman

He sipped at a weak hock and seltzer

As he gazed at the London skies

Through the Nottingham lace of the curtains

Or was it his bees-winged eyes?

 

 To the right and before him Pont Street

Did tower in her new built red,

As hard as the morning gaslight

That shone on his unmade bed,

 

 “I want some more hock in my seltzer,

And Robbie, please give me your hand —

Is this the end or beginning?

How can I understand?

 

“So you’ve brought me the latest Yellow Book:

And Buchan has got in it now:

Approval of what is approved of

Is as false as a well-kept vow.

 

 “More hock, Robbie — where is the seltzer?

Dear boy, pull again at the bell!

They are all little better than cretins,

Though this is the Cadogan Hotel.

 

“One astrakhan coat is at Willis’s —

Another one’s at the Savoy:

Do fetch my morocco portmanteau,

And bring them on later, dear boy.”

 

A thump, and a murmur of voices —

(”Oh why must they make such a din?”)

As the door of the bedroom swung open

And TWO PLAIN CLOTHES POLICEMEN came in:

 

“Mr. Woilde, we ‘ave come for tew take yew

Where felons and criminals dwell:

We must ask yew tew leave with us quoietly

For this is the Cadogan Hotel.”

 

He rose, and he put down The Yellow Book.

He staggered — and, terrible-eyed,

He brushed past the plants on the staircase

And was helped to a hansom outside.

 

Oh, Beehive!

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You may not have heard the name ‘Ralph Dodd’, but, it turns out, he is an incredibly important figure in the history of our great city.

Dodd was an 18th Century born entrepreneur and engineer, perhaps most famous for trying (and failing) to build the first tunnel under the Thames. In 1807 he formed The Intended London Distillery Company and within his business plan, it was expressed that he was committed to producing ‘genuine British spirits’. After hiring staff, including a known malt distiller, Dodd was stopped in his tracks.

Due to the opening of public subscriptions for transferable shares to raise capital, criminal action was taken against Dodd. As a result, The Intended London Distillery Company was made to close its doors before they were truly able to open, meaning Dodd’s vision was never realised.

Luckily, for those of us who enjoy a tipple, over 200 years later, Darren Rook put into action the same vision of producing genuine British spirits, and The London Distillery Company was open for business.

Dodd’s Gin, a small batch gin, created by Head Distiller Andrew MacLeod Smith and Darren Rook, uses organic botanicals such as juniper, fresh lime peel, cardamom, red raspberry leaf and London Bee’s Honey.

The last ingredient really made us sit up and listen. We are dedicated to the preservation of the London Bee and use their honey in our breakfast offering. There has been a lot of buzz (do excuse me) about the crisis the London Bee has found itself in, so when we heard that, just down the road in Battersea, a gin was being created that did its bit to save the bees, we wanted to get involved!

In the not-too-distant-future, you will be able to come to our quintessentially British hotel and enjoy a quintessentially British Gin & Tonic, using Dodd’s Honey Gin and a special tonic syrup created by The London Distillery Company.

You really don’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy a traditional G&T, so watch this space!

Downton Abbey at The Cadogan

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ITV’s period drama series ‘Downton Abbey’ has gripped the nation and beyond for three series. With a fourth on its way, we wanted to get in on the action.

Being a quintessentially English, luxury Knightsbridge hotel and incredibly proud of our rich heritage and history, the typical Englishness of Downton and the stories that unfold within the Gratham’s estate in the Yorkshire countryside, appealed to us greatly.

Jessica Fellowes, niece of Julian Fellowes, writer and creator of Downton Abbey, is a writer and journalist. In her long and impressive career she has written for Mail on Sunday, Daily TelegraphSunday Times Style and The Lady to name a few. She then went on to be deputy editor of Country Life magazine. Wanting something a bit different, she decided to steer her career towards books. Keeping Downton very much alive in the family, she wrote ‘The World of Downton Abbey’ and has recently finished her fifth book ‘Chronicles of Downton Abbey’.

The Cadogan are offering a series of very special Afternoon Teas during which, Jessica will bring her infinite knowledge about the world of Downton Abbey, and talk to guests about the upcoming series and hold a Q&A. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey these are events, not to be missed.

For more information, please visit our website.

Market Trading

ImageOn Saturday the 25th May, The Cadogan will be at The Duke of York’s Square market. Our chefs are working their socks off all week, baking Chelsea buns and cakes for your eating pleasure. All proceeds will go to The Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Chelsea Pensioners.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea has been home to veteran Chelsea Pensioners for over 300 years. The hospital offers our war heroes a place to call home, excellent healthcare and of course the iconic red uniforms you will have seen the residents wearing, in place of their military pensions.

If you come and say hello this Saturday at our stall and buy yourself a little treat, 100% of your money will go to ensuring the Chelsea Pensioners continue to receive the care they deserve in the twilight of their lives.

When you arrive at the market, send us a Tweet with the #chelseabun for a chance to win an overnight stay in one of our stunning 64 bedrooms and a full English breakfast.

 

Forget Sliced Bread

ImageHave you heard the old wives tale; that it’s good luck to bake on the last day of every month?

Ok, there is no such tale. But we think it should be good luck! After making this delicious and easy homemade soda bread, you’re going to feel pretty lucky. It’s the best thing, regardless of sliced bread.

Irish soda bread

Ingredients

250g wholemeal bread flour
200g white bread flour
50g porridge oats
1 1/2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
25g butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Good pinch of salt
300-400ml butter milk

Method

Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt
Rub in the butter in a bowl
Make a well in the centre of the mixing bowl and pour the buttermilk and maple syrup in.
Bring all of the ingredients together as a dough.
Knead the dough for a few minutes.
Shape the dough into a round loaf and score into quarters, making the cuts about a centimetre deep.
Place in a preheated oven (180*c) for 40 minutes.
To check if the bread is ready, tap it gently. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready for you to tuck in!

The Sovereign and The Shops

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She is on every penny we spend. She is the most recognisable person on Earth. She, and her family, attract millions of tourists to our capital. Surveys show that Briton’s most common dream is to have tea with her.

For most of us this won’t happen, but it’s a good aspiration, so don’t stop dreaming. We have decided that in the event that you don’t get through the palace doors, you should be able to experience some Royal luxuries.

As HM The Queen is celebrating her actual birthday tomorrow, we are going to take you on a tour of her favourite shops. So if you’re thinking of buying her a present… you can’t go wrong.

800 businesses around the world hold a Royal Warrant. This means, they have supplied Her Majesty the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales with their goods for more than five years.

If you are staying with us at The Cadogan, you are in an area rich with Royal connections. Just a short walk down to Sloane Square and you can end up suited, booted and fed like Royalty (although you will be required to carry your own bags).

Heading south down Sloane Street, you will find Cartier. The magpies among us needn’t search too hard as its glistening, sparkling window display will grab your attention instantly. Cartier was granted a Royal Warrant in 1904 and is now jeweller and goldsmith to HRH The Prince of Wales. Enter at your own risk – the Royal Warrant holders are sure to give you Royal service too, so you have the potential to leave dripping in diamonds.

After such opulence, you might need something slightly more ‘normal’. Just around the corner, on Sloane Square, the Grade II listed, 1930s building that houses Peter Jones will come into sight. A branch of John Lewis, Peter Jones is one of the best department stores in London. The service is exquisite and you are always met with a smile. Shop here for, well, just about everything. Be it make-up, high-end high street fashion, electrical goods, gifts, crockery or if you fancy a coffee and a pastry in the top floor restaurant, Peter Jones has it all under one roof. If you want the real Royal experience, why not re-furnish your home, for Peter Jones holds the Royal Warrant as Draper and Furnisher to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. If you plan to continue your Royal shopping experience, may we suggest asking for home delivery?

Gosh, you must be famished after that! Never fear, Partridges of London is near. Across the road, on Duke of York’s Square, you will find the most glorious of independent food markets. Holding the Royal Warrant as Grocer to HM The Queen, you would expect excellence. And you will get just that. Selling both branded food goods that you will recognise and fresh, homemade treats that you won’t find anywhere else. Exquisite home made terrines and tortellini, luxury chocolates, refreshing and lovingly blended teas and you can even buy your favourite magazine to read while you sit in their cafe enjoying homemade quiche or a savoury pie.

After you have bought (and eaten) so much yummy food, the last thing you would probably want to do is to have a suit fitting, but you won’t have a tailoring experience quite like the one at Gieves and Hawkes. Historically, they have served Royals both domestic and international, and hold the Royal Warrant as Livery and Military Tailors to HM The Queen – The Lord Chamberlin’s Office as well as Naval Outfitters to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Tailor and Outfitter to HRH The Price of Wales.

As a tiring day of retail therapy comes to an end, you can stroll back to The Cadogan and settle down in our cosy and comfortable Drawing Room for Afternoon Tea, in association with Partridges. Ours is the only Afternoon Tea menu to offer the Chelsea Bun (a favourite of Kings George II and III) and Partridges have blended a special Chelsea Flower Tea, to celebrate a century of The Chelsea Flower Show. This is truly a tea fit for a Queen.

Visit our website to book Afternoon Tea