10 Things you didn’t know about the Strand Palace Hotel

DID YOU KNOW THESE TEN THINGS ABOUT THE STRAND PALACE HOTEL?

1) When the hotel opened in 1909, the price for a single room with breakfast was just 5s6d (equivalent to 31p in today’s money). Now it is priced at least £125.

2) Before the Strand Palace Hotel was built, anti-slavery campaign speeches were held in it’s predecessor Exeter Hall, which soon stood at the centre of the fight to help abolish the slave trade in England. The Hall was also famous for bringing incredible music to London, with the likes of composers Spohr and Mendelssohn.

3) Before Exeter Hall came Exeter Exchange, which was home to the famous Royal Grand National Menagerie. Three floors were dedicated to dangerous and exotic animals and it was said that the lion’s roar could be heard from the street. Exeter Exchange made the front pages in 1826 when the ill-tempered elephant, Chunee, was publically shot for killing one of his keepers.

4) A key belonging to the Strand Palace Hotel, dating back to the First World War, was found in the trenches in Normandy, France. It is thought that an Australian soldier chose not to return the key after staying in London, and it was later lost among the carnage. The key is now housed at the V&A Museum in London, along with the regal revolving doors that once gave the Strand Palace Hotel the elegant art deco look it was famous for.

5) The hotel was originally opened in 1909. According to the strap line that adorned their posters, the Strand Palace Hotel provided ‘the maximum of luxury and comfort with the minimum of expense’.

Strand Palace Hotel Old Drawing Room

6) During the Second World War, the Strand Palace Hotel was commissioned as a US rest and recuperation residence. The hotel became popular with American soldiers due to the hundreds of rooms and lively bars. Like a home away from home, many spent their last night at the hotel before heading off to fight the enemy.

7) As well as being a rest and recuperation residence for the American army, the Strand Palace Hotel also allowed guests to exchange food ration vouchers for meals, and gave them permission to use the air raid shelters, many of which still exist today.

8) Arctic Explorer Roald Amundsen stayed at the Strand Palace Hotel on the 30th of January 1922, the same month that a second famous Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton died of a fatal heart attack. Amundsen himself died only six years later.

9) The Strand Palace Hotel offer a special deal in exceptional circumstances, for couples that return to the hotel to celebrate a diamond-wedding anniversary. So if you celebrated your honeymoon at the Palace in the 50’s, then you could receive one night at the hotel for only £1.70.

10) There used to be a rule at the hotel where you couldn’t tip the staff. In bold letters, ‘NO TIPS’ would be printed across receipts, with small print that read ‘NO TIPS – VISITORS ARE ASKED NOT TO OFFER TIPS TO THE EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE ADEQUATELY PAID BY THE MANAGEMENT’.

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