One of Britain’s most exclusive hotels has been accused of throwing out a visitor–for being white and English.
Claridge’s in Mayfair, central London, has been a favourite venue for the rich and famous and is often referred to as ‘an extension of Buckingham Palace’.
But socialite and writer Taki Theodoracopulos has accused the establishment of favouring rich Arabs who spend frivolously over British aristocrats.
Theodoracopulos said that he was with a group of friends at the hotel’s bar when he was asked to leave because the staff ‘were hoping for Gulf people’.
‘We were neither drunk nor obstreperous but we were refused a table although the place was less than one third full,’ Theodoracopulos wrote in his Spectator magazine High Life column.
Theodoracopulos said that he had dined nearby with his group of friends, including the Marquess of Worcester and his brother Lord John Somerset.
The 74-year-old Greek-born writer said that he wanted a table but was asked to leave.
Theodoracopulos, who has homes in London, New York and Switzerland, is demanding an apology and calling for a boycott of the venue.
‘Harry Worcester had the brilliant idea to go to Claridge’s bar for a drink,’ he wrote.
‘After politely suggesting that the management should give us one, the maitre d’ came over and asked us to leave.
‘Lord Worcester protested, as did his brother Lord John Somerset. I was at the bar and unaware we were being given the heave-ho. Once I caught on, it was too late. My party was out the door.
‘So here’s what I think happened and why I am outraged. We were speaking English, we were white and we had not demanded myriad bottles of champagne.
‘The staff were obviously hoping for Gulf people, whose moolah (slang for money) derives from the theft of their countries’ resources.
‘The idea that four English-speaking European gents with four ladies in tow are asked to leave Claridge’s is as outrageous as it’s foul.’
The hotel has denied any knowledge of the incident and rejects the idea that they prefer wealthy Arabs as guests.
‘We have checked. There is no record of such an incident. I think he is being deliberately provocative and mischievous,’ a spokesman told the Daily Telegraph.
But Theodoracopulos said he stands by his story is ‘still very upset by what happened.’
The hotel was founded in in 1812 as Mivart’s Hotel in a conventional London terraced house. It grew steadily over the years and expanded into neighbouring houses.
Claridge’s flourished after the First World War due to demand from aristocrats who no longer maintained a London house.
Well-known guests include Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, U2 and Mariah Carey.
Typical rooms at the five star hotel around £400 per night. Claridge’s is owned by Maybourne Hotel Group, which also has two other five-star luxury hotels in London, The Berkeley and The Connaught.