The History of The Lanesborough

James Lane, second and last Viscount Lanesborough, built Lanesborough House in 1719. By 1825, the house was in a poor state. At this time, respected architect William Wilkins, best known for his designs of famous buildings such as the National Gallery, was commissioned to redesign the building. Wilkins employed classical Greek revival styles, both of which were hallmarks of the Regency period. In 1859 the third floor was added.

In an unprecedented co-operative effort the architects, designers, and a group of world-class artisans worked closely with esteemed historical preservation organisations including the Royal Fine Arts Commission, the Georgian Society, the Victorian Society and English Heritage. Some of Wilkins’ most important original architectural elements are still intact.  These include the entrance foyer, the first floor gallery, the main corridors, and graceful stairways.

Nearly 150 years later, in 1980, Knightsbridge had changed from being little more than a suburban village, and now sparkled as London’s most exclusive residential and shopping district. In 1988, planning permission was secured to turn the property into a hotel.

Fitzroy Robinson Partnership was appointed to prepare plans to transform Lanesborough House.  Its mission: to create a luxury hotel incorporating as much of the original façade as possible, yet completely renovating and converting the interior.  In co-operation with the architect / historian Anthony Blee (of the highly respected Sir Basil Spence Partnership), Fitzroy developed a plan that resulted in a highly accurate recreation of the original, magnificent façade, as we know it today.

A complete overhaul of the interior began, adding the 93 rooms and suites and a conservatory restaurant (now The Lanesborough Grill) which was originally a courtyard. 18 months before the hotel opened, the building was named The Lanesborough. At first Rosewood Hotels would manage and operate the new hotel which was designed in the style and manner of a grand 19th century town house. The hotel officially opened to the public on Monday 30 December 1991.

Barbara Walters, Madonna, Joan Collins, George Bush Sr, Bianca Jagger, Cher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Johnny Depp, Michael Bolton, Mariah Carey and Pamela Anderson were amongst the many celebrities and dignitaries who stayed at The Lanesborough during its earliest days. Stanley Kubric used The Royal Suite to shoot Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. Stevie Wonder has played on The Library Bar’s piano, all of which aided The Lanesborough to establish a reputation as a ‘home away from home’.

In its own remarkable way, The Lanesborough changed worldwide perceptions and expectations of hospitality as found in a true luxury hotel. The Lanesborough has shown the way in creating a residence for guests who have always been used to the very best. This is your home.

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