Palace Hotel - History
The Strand Place Hotel has a fascinating history that dates back to 1907 when permission was given to build a 'grand' hotel in the prominent Westminster thoroughfare of the Strand. Two years later the Strand Palace Hotel opened for business. When the Hotel first opened in 1909 a single room with breakfast would have set you back five shillings and six pence (31p in today's money).
During the roaring Twenties the adjoining Haxell's Hotel was acquired in order to expand and improve the Strand Place. The Hotel underwent a major refurbishment to make it a thoroughly modern Hotel. Art Deco features were incorporated into many of the public areas, and the Hotel became a popular venue for social gatherings where London's bright young things could show off their dancing skills with displays of the Charleston and Tango. Some of the original art deco and architecture can still be seen today and has featured in several movies and television period dramas.
At the same time, some not so prominent changes were being made behind the scenes. Two second hand coal fired steam boilers, salvaged from World War 1 battleships, were installed in the boiler house. They proved to be highly labour intensive and required 24-hour monitoring. The story goes that over a thirty six year period, a father and son team looked after these boilers and it is said that the only time they ever saw each other was when they changed over at the beginning and end of their 12 hour shifts.
During the Second World War, food ration vouchers could be exchanged for meals in the restaurant and air raid shelters were provided for all guests in the basement vaults. Due to its large number of bedrooms, the Hotel became popular with the American armed forces that needed accommodation for their personnel before they were sent into action. The Hotel was in fact commissioned as an official U.S rest and recuperation residence. Once again the Hotel became an important social venue as Londoners and war weary soldiers jived and jitterbugged long into the night. Over the years many of those service personnel have returned to relive memories, and today their families and relatives still visit the Hotel.
Some years ago during the excavation work in the fields of Normandy, France, a Strand Palace Hotel room key was discovered in one of the trenches of the First World War. That key and other art deco features are now held in the archives of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The post war era saw the Strand Palace Hotel develop further with a number of improvements. With the introduction of private bathrooms in all guestrooms in 1958, new oil fired boilers were installed to cope with the increased demand for hot water. It was at this time the son of the original boiler house team finally hung up his coal scuttle and joined his father in happy retirement. Also at this time electronic cash registers were installed.
Today the Hotel is fully computerised. It offers comfortable accommodation with extensive catering facilities and excellent conference suites.
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find Strand Palace:
Strand Palace is easily accessible from Heathrow,
Gatwick Stansted and London City airports, all the
mainline London railway stations and the Eurostar
nearest tube is Covent Garden, served by the Piccadilly
line and the nearest rail links are Charing Cross