Claridge's

 
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Where Hitchcock slept
One of London's signature grand hotels, Claridge's has kept up with the times, for better or worse, and remains an elegant, fantastical and unstuffy place, the kind of hotel where Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn might — and did— stay. And Alfred Hitchock too. The building dates from 1898, but it's the 1920s art deco makeover that continues to define the essence of this red-brick landmark, despite some unfortunate tampering in the 1990s. The overall afternoon tea experience (food, service, decor) arguably ranks as London's most treasurable, while Gordon Ramsay has set up shop in the restaurant to splendid effect [see entry]. There's also a buzzy but unglittery bar for drinkees. Landmarks within easy reach: designer clothing shops in and around local Conduit St; Cork St art galleries, the Royal Academy of Art [see entry] and Piccadilly to the south; a wallop of quality-mainstream shopping a few minutes to the north in Oxford St. including Selfridges and John Lewis [see entries]; and Soho to the east, just on the other side of shop-happy Regent's St.

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