Opened in 1854, Claridge's is famed for its art deco interiors and traditional service. Many staff, such as Roman the doorman, have worked there for over 30 years, giving guests continuity and the sense they might be living in a different century.
The Crown Prince of Yugoslavia is a regular guest, and he returns to stay in the suite where he was born in 1945. Joan Collins, Stephen Fry and the Emperor of Japan also come to visit, as well as 85-year-old Gerry Parker, an ex-East End bookmaker who has breakfasted at Claridge's for the last 40 years.
Given this weight of tradition and expectation, general manager Thomas Kochs takes any change very seriously, and no decision - from new alarm clocks to a £10 million renovation plan - escapes his obsessive attention to detail.