Corinthia Hotel London, England – Review
While I’ve stayed at a former royal post office, a former monastery, a former 17th-century army barracks, and a former cotton warehouse, none of these comes close to staying at the fictional headquarters of MI6.
What is now the Corinthia Hotel London first opened its doors as the Hôtel Métropole in 1885. One regular guest was the Prince of Wales, who later reigned as King Edward VII. During the First World War, the hotel, along with other buildings in the area, was used as lodging for governmental staff. After the war, it reopened as a hotel and was known for its “Midnight Follies” cabaret show, but was returned to government hands in 1936, when the building was leased to be used as offices. Indeed, during the Second World War, part of it was home to MI9, the unit of the War Office charged with facilitating the escape of British servicemen held as prisoners of war.
After the war, it continued to be used as government offices and, although it never served this purpose, it appeared in the Daily Express comic strip James Bond as the headquarters building for MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, Bond’s employer.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century. The building, which had stood empty since 2004, was sold in 2007 and emerged as a hotel, the Corinthia, four years later.
After a very fast flight across the Pond, I hopped aboard the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, took the Bakerloo line tube to Embankment, and had a quick walk over to the hotel, where I was warmly welcomed. Check-in formalities were brief and I was soon shown to my room.
My Deluxe King room, with a reasonably sized balcony, had a courtyard view. The modern décor, done in beige, olive, and tan tones, was spacious and well thought out. The bedside light switches were a thoughtful, useful touch.