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‘Twas the Knightsbridge Before Christmas

December 18, 2012

The Lanesborough Hotel in London is an enigmatic old thing.  It certainly doesn’t look much like a five star hotel.  Not for The Lanesborough the external indications of opulence favoured by other such hotels I’ve sung at; the swish revolving door and liveried footmen of Claridge’s or the iconic illuminated signage of The Ritz.  The casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that it was a bank or perhaps some sort of government building.

The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park Corner, London

Sitting in Knightsbridge, opposite Hyde Park Corner, its grand, but curiously anonymous facade offers no clue as to what lies inside.  Then again, when you have guests that are happy to pay anything from £495 to £18,000 (yes, that’s three zeroes) per night you don’t need to make a song and dance about it.  It also might have something to do with the fact that for the first 130-odd years of its life the building was actually a hospital, St George’s.

St George's Hospital. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

Designed by architect William Wilkins the hospital opened in 1844 and was operational until it moved to new premises in Tooting in the late 1970s.  The hotel opened for business in 1991.  The interior these days echoes the Georgian style of the exterior.

entrance to The Lanesborough Hotel

Lanesborough Hotel interior

Bronze sculpture in the Lanesborough Hotel, London

The five star Lanesborough Hotele-Lanesborough, Knightsbridge, London

The Lanesborough is the five-star residence of choice for presidents, oligarchs, film stars and pop royalty.  Michael Jackson stayed there on his final trip to the UK in 2009 and last year Lady Gaga held court in one of the hotel’s suite (even being interviewed by Stephen Fry in the process).

There were no crowds of screaming fans to greet my own arrival at The Lanesborough last week, but at least that made unloading and setting up my equipment less troublesome than usual.

Set up in the Belgravia Room at the Lanesborough Hotel, London

 I was there to sing for Matt and Gill’s evening wedding reception in the hotel’s Belgravia Room.

Belgravia Room at the Lanesborough Hotel, London

Fabulous wedding table flowers

Candlelit wedding reception in London

Table centrepiece for a romantic Christmas wedding in London

The bride and groom took their first dance to “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” then I entertained guests for two-hours with classic numbers from my reperoire of songs from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.  It was a romantic, candlit affair with more than a hint of Yuletide spirit in the air so I ended the night with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

Vintage wedding singer Simon Partridge with Matt and Gill

Its exterior may be anonymous, but the inside of The Lanesborough is anything but and I was delighted to have been able to add a just a dash of my own musical flavour to its atmosphere.  A splendid evening in a glorious setting – an absolute pleasure!

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