In the heyday of glitz and glamour, the well-known and famous were often rabidly followed around the world. Even the tiniest glimpse of one of Hollywood’s greatest stars would turn into a media frenzy, and throughout the decades, the hotspots for these high-flying individuals would easily become a place of legend. Beloved for the intimacy and company, such destinations also became known for their tongue-waggingly delicious stories – and none moreso than the Café Royal.
Carefully situated right next to the hedonistic and nightlife abundant Soho, adjacent to the affluent, sleek, and polished Mayfair, the Café Royal had humble beginnings. Throughout the decades, however, it gradually expanded, becoming a behemoth of a location within London itself, but always retained its generously demure stature. And it was this humble attitude towards socialising that caused its popularity to skyrocket, especially amongst the who’s who of the day.
Though originally meant to be a much more private destination in London, the Café Royal garnered a particularly noteworthy reputation for being discreet, yet glamourous; low-key, but all the rage; the place to be seen in every sense of the word, but a place not many could catch a glimpse inside. And as the decades passed and its doors welcomed more and more of society’s most known names, the Café Royal’s reputation was certainly one to be envious of – partly thanks to the luxurious discretion it provided to its patrons of all walks, where the only inside source was someone who was, indeed, on the inside.
From literary greats Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde, to political savants like Winston Churchill to artistic geniuses like Andy Warhol, the Café Royal was indeed the sort of place to hobnob and rub shoulders. But it also certainly earned its stripes when it came to its ‘royal’ moniker.
The British Monarchy aside (Diana, Princess of Wales was once met outside with a raucous crowd for an appearance), the Café Royal also became the go-to for another kind of royalty – the kings and queens of music.
From the likes of Lulu and Lou Reed to Mick Jagger and Louis Armstrong, the Café Royal was, for all intents and purposes, the place to be for music royalty. Whether for a performance or just simply to relax, it became a true hub of musically inclined names. So much so, in fact, that a one David Bowie decided that after his final concert as his Ziggy Stardust persona, a party to send off the musical spirit in style needed a fabulous location. And if you guessed that that location was the Café Royal, you’d be on the nose.
Today, as the Hotel Café Royal welcomes individuals from all walks of life, it continues to be a home for those that love a little glamour. Having hosted celebrity guests including Tracee Ellis Ross and other influential individuals (we’ll say no more, because our lips are sealed), the Hotel Café Royal has also become a go-to destination for those that are seeking the same escapism as the patrons of the past. And despite its central location in London, the Hotel Café Royal continues to be as subtle as it was decades ago, maintaining a quiet dignity as it looks out across Piccadilly – and beyond.