I have stayed in Hilton Hotels before. In London one of them being the Langham Hilton. I must admit though although this one was in the middle of being refurbished in the reception area and one of the main public rooms, it was still a beautiful and grand hotel.
In 1889, the new London County Council made plans to clear a large part of the Strand to form the Crescent shaped Aldwych. Edward George Saunders, Manager of the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill, wanted a theatre of his own, so joined forces with Thomas Frederick Wild a Chartered Accountant. They decided on the theatres and then decided to add a hotel to the plans. William Waldorf Astor, the richest man in the world, injected some money into the building and it was therefore given the name The Waldorf Hotel and Theatre. The hotel itself still forms part of a big building which consists of the Aldwych Theatre on one end and on the other the Novello Theatre, formerly known as the Waldorf Theatre.
The hotel was built on a grand scale with the Palm Court lounge being a glass covered grand courtyard. This is still there and currently undergoing extensive refurbishment. It was finally opened to the public in 1908. In 1920 they held tango tea dances. When you are there today you can picture these tea dances. The public rooms are all glass chandeliers and art deco pillars, and lovely windows. The rooms are very grand.
Frederick hotels (as the company was known) eventually sold the hotel after the war, to Charles Forte, Lord Forte of Ripley. In 1992 the hotel closed for a year for major refurbishment costing £12.5m. The hotel re-opened on it's 85th anniversary. In 2004, the hotel was awarded the management contract and started on a £35m refurbishment contract. Current refurbishment is being undertaken but the hotel remains open.
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|Chocolate and raspberry trifle|