The hotel made famous because author of James Bond, Ian Fleming, frequented the hotel bar – Dukes Bar – when writing the classic spy books. Therefore, a drink at Dukes Bar is something of an occasion. The legendary bar is internationally renowned for its famous Martinis and personalised cocktails. As it was frequented by Ian Fleming, the bar is said to be the inspiration for the classic line, ‘˜shaken, not stirred’.
The Luggage Room at Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel was used for a scene during the filming of the latest 007 James Bond spy thriller Spectre. Within close proximity to the current American Embassy on Grosvenor Square, The Luggage Room is a prohibition styled speak easy bar in the heart of Mayfair. With 15 meeting spaces to choose from and hosting receptions for up to 1,000 guests, the Luggage Room is a more intimate space that can be hired exclusively and may just be that little more popular following the latest Bond movie!
The South Place Hotel has two meeting rooms named after Napoleon Solo (the original Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and his side-kick, Ilya Kuryakin. Napoleon Solo is a fictional character from the 1960s TV spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a series which unusually and remarkably paired the American Solo and the Russian Illya Kuryakin as two spies who work together for an international espionage organisation at the height of the Cold War.
The Pine Bar at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel was the scene for a real life spy drama, as former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had a deadly poison sprayed into his cup of tea by former KGB agents and reported assassins Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtunan during a meeting in November 2007. A hotel waiter, Norberto Andrade, who provided the first eyewitness account of the moment the former Russian spy was consigned to death, coincidentally used to serve Cubby Broccoli, the late producer of James Bond films, as well as Sean Connery and George Lazenby, who both played 007.
Remaining with the real life association with spies, the St. Ermins hotel is the only publicly accessible establishment in London that is closely associated with the history of British espionage. During the 1930s, the St. Ermin’s hotel and neighbouring building at 2 Caxton Street were used by officers of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) located close by at 54 Broadway to meet agents, and is well documented from March 1938 as the headquarters first of SIS’s Section D, headed by the Australian George Taylor and then as the home of Special Operations Executive (SOE), working under ‘˜Statistical Research Department’ cover. A whole host of famous personnel are known to have worked from offices in the building, including Ian Fleming, H. Montgomery Hyde, Kim Philby, Laurence Grand, H., Guy Burgess and Eric Maschwitz. Located just north of Parliament Square and Whitehall, opposite New Scotland Yard, and across the river from the new HQ of the British secret service, it is rumoured that it has a tunnel running underneath the lobby’s grand staircase all the way to the Houses of Parliament, possibly forming part of the Q-Whitehall network of secret tunnels that was built to run between key strategic buildings during the war.
The Ritz features in the James Bond book and film of the same name, ‘˜The Man With The Golden Gun’. A quote from the book reads:
‘James Bond was staying at the Ritz Hotel. Colonel Boris [To be clear, that’s not the current Mayor of London], had told him to do so. Bond’s file in the K.G.B. Archive described him as a high-liver, so, on arrival in London, he must stick to the K.G.B. image of the high life.’
The Marriott County Hall Hotel is certainly one of the most iconic hotel settings in London, with views across the river Thames to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. The hotel has a number of scenes featured in the new highly anticipated James Bond film Spectre. As a result of the film, the hotel has teamed up with the No.3 Gin from London’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd in St James, to create the perfect Bond martini.
Situated in Whitehall, it is maybe no surprise that the Royal Horseguards is another of London’s hotels with real life connections to spies.
Sir Mansfield Cummings, who was known as ‘˜C’ due to his habit of initialling papers he had read, was Chief of the Secret Intelligence Bureau from 1909 until he died in 1923. The hotel also once served as headquarters for the British Secret Service (MI5 and MI6) with numerous secret meetings occurring in the hotel. As with the St Ermins Hotel, it is said that the Royal Horseguards forms part of the Q-Whitehall network of secret tunnels that was built to run between key strategic buildings during the war.
For anyone paying attention during one of the chase scenes in Skyfall, Bond villain Raoul Silva exited the tube at an exit that does not exist in Embankment Gardens at the back of the Royal Horseguards, opposite the real tube station at Embankment
The swimming pool of the Virgin Active Canary Riverside Health Club, which is located adjacent to the Four Seasons hotel, where guests of the hotel enjoy complimentary access, was used to film the swimming pool scene in SkyFall. The scene is supposed to take place on the rooftop of 007’s hotel in Shanghai.
Skyfall’s racy shower scene was also filmed in room 712 of the Four Seasons Canary Wharf.
The Langham London Hotel is one of the capital’s grandest hotels, built in 1865 and is one of London’s first purpose-built hotels. The wide hallways within the hotel were designed to accommodate ladies’ huge ball gowns in the 19th century.
In the Bond movie ‘GoldenEye’, which was the first James Bond film not based on Ian Fleming’s novels, the Langham Hotel features as a double for the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg.