Brook St, Mayfair London W1K 4HR, UK

It says a lot about the values of Claridge’s that the hotel once refused Katharine Hepburn entry because she was wearing trousers (strictly not allowed for women at that time). Instead, one of the world’s greatest actresses was asked, politely, if she would enter through the back door. Though this outdated tradition no longer stands, there is much about the historic Mayfair hotel that remains timeless. The downstairs Art Deco lobby looks as elegant as the day it was built in 1931, thanks to a renovation at the turn of this century. And the staff, who got their moment in the spotlight when the BBC aired its Inside Claridge’s documentary in 2012, continue to busy themselves, discreetly meeting the wants and whims of every guest. Upstairs, the story is slightly different, with the hallways and corridors starting to show their age. But the hotel’s willingness to work with a trove of contemporary designers—Diane von Furstenberg, India Mahdavi, and David Linley among them—has ensured the rooms, and the hotel, have not been left to languish entirely in the past.

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Diane von Furstenberg’s Piano Suite at Claridge’s

Diane von Furstenberg’s Piano Suite is a sea of raspberry, chocolate, and ivory patterns. It features handcrafted Balinese trunks, Murano glass sculptures, a leather-top bar, as well as travel photos taken by the “Queen of Print” herself. The bedroom is more subtle, with pale blue-and-lavender carpet and a bleached oak four-poster bed. Brook Street, 44/(0) 20-7629-8860.

Claridge's Afternoon Tea

It’s hard to beat this grande dame hotel for the quintessential afternoon-tea experience—perfect finger sandwiches; scones with huge, rich dollops of cream; a tea connoisseur to guide guests through 24 varieties; plus old-school service and some of the city’s prettiest Art Deco architecture. The Fumoir Bar does some of the best martinis in town, too. Book ahead.

Inside Claridge's

London’s best.

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