Two of the UK’s most famous luxury hotels are in the spotlight, thanks to the screening of prime-time television documentaries, writes Janet Harmer.
A four-part Channel 4 series, A Very British Country House, started on Sunday (November 25), taking viewers behind the scenes of Cliveden House (pictured) in Taplow, Berkshire.
Meanwhile, the Corinthia Hotel London will be the subject of A Hotel for the Super Rich and Famous, a two-part BBC1 series which will launch on November 29.
Actor Simon Callow is the narrator of the Channel 4 series, filmed at the 48-bedroom Cliveden House, which hosted Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland on the night before the royal wedding in May.
Alongside general manager Kevin Brooke and executive chef Andre Garrett, other staff to be featured will be restaurant manager and head sommelier Sean Arthur, butler Michael Chaloner and wedding coordinator Lydia Kenny.
Channel 4 said that it is the first time that Cliveden – part of the Iconic Luxury Hotels group and owned by property company L&R – has allowed cameras to film within the property.
It is part of a strategy “to reinvent itself for the modern era”, with the programme following the hotel’s 150 staff as they are “pushed to the limit by increasingly demanding and outrageous guests”.
The Corinthia documentary was filmed by Jane Treays, the award-winning director of Inside Claridge’s, which was made when Thomas Kochs was the general manager of the Mayfair hotel. Kochs was appointed managing director of the 283-bedroom hotel Corinthia – owned by a nine-strong, Maltese-based group headed by the Pisani family – in April 2017.
Key highlights of the programme will be the transformation of what used to be the Massimo restaurant into Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in partnership with two-Michelin-star chef Tom Kerridge.
The BBC said that the two programmes, shot over the course of a year, “re-visit the land of the rich, who can ask for anything they want and are willing to pay for perfection”.
What neither programme is unlikely to feature is the resignation of Garrett from Cliveden House, following his appointment as executive chef at the Corinthia, a post he will take up in January 2019.