NOVOSTI 11 MAY 2007.
IN THE HEART OF THE BRITISH CAPITAL, IN THE CLARIDGES HOTEL, THERE ARE 100
SQUARE METERS OF OUR LAND
SERBIA, IN LONDON
In this most exclusive hotel, there are Serbian employees. Suite 212 has been
proclaimed Serbian territory in July 1945, so that our Prince Alexander could be
born in “his country”. Many people don’t know that, in the heart of London,
between the Bond and Oxford Streets, there exists a territory of Serbia! By the
order of Winston Churchill, on 17 July 1945, 100 square meters in the heart of
London were proclaimed as our territory. This was done so that Crown Prince
Alexander II could be born in “his country”. The Prince was born on the second
floor of the Claridges hotel, in suite 212. In The Claridges, Serbia is
luxurious, elegant, refined, warm, fragrant, attractive, and artistically
In this luxurious hotel, ever since 1860 when Queen Victoria came here,
celebrations are traditionally held, organized by the entire European nobility,
from the baptizing events to weddings, that can fit 800 guests. Because all the
cousins of the Queen of England organize their celebrations here, this is often
called the “branch office of the Buckingham Palace”. The foyer and the bars in
the art-deco style are an ideal place for intrigues and Palace affairs. Even
today, one can often hear the anecdote when someone had dialed the receptionist
and asked for a King, to which the receptionist replied: “Which King?”, because
there are no European aristocrats who have not stayed here. But, of all the
countries in the world, only Serbia has a territory here. In The Claridges, at
any given moment, it is possible to come across someone from Serbia. The
students of the Hoteliers’ College (Viša hotelijerska škola) from Belgrade get
their practice here. We came across Milan Sudar, one of the best receptionists,
awaiting a promotion.
- In 2001, several managers from The Claridges came to the Hoteliers’ College
in Belgrade. They selected 19 of us, including Professor Miro Lončar, and took
us to London, Sudar says. We all got beginners’ positions and a chance to prove
ourselves. At first, I carried the luggage, now I am a receptionist. This is
good for my career, but more money can be made as a luggage-carrier, he says.
The Claridges reception is like the Command Centre at NASA. Phones are
ringing all the time, selected guests demand all sorts of things. This is where
Thomas Keatley (spelling?) works, one of the finest concierges around, who can
get literally anything that the guests ask for.
- One asked for a white horse carriage, to propose to his girlfriend; another
asked for a Formula racing car, and he got those things for them, Sudar says. –
In 3 years, I have seen a countless number of celebrities: Mike Jagger, Michael
Douglas, Christian Slater, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Vojislav Kostunica… To
me, they are all ordinary guests.
In this hotel, it is not enough just to have money. In order to get a suite,
the guest must have a “name” and a tradition of coming here. Because of this,
when Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine come here, they get a special
treatment, and managers start running around them.
- Prince Alexander was born here and is part of the history of this hotel,
which is what we all appreciate very much, says Neal Penlington, one of the
managers. Suite 212 is reserved for almost every day of the year, even though it
costs 5,500 euros per diem. Still, not everyone can stay here, because we are
very selective of our guests.