The name 'Piccadilly' originates from the 16th century ornate 'Piccadilly' collars that were so popular, they turned a tailor into the local landowner. Centuries later, Victorian gentlemen seeking a lady of the night would pick a 'dilly' on the main thoroughfare.
Meanwhile, life at No.116 Piccadilly began apace. "Hope House" was built in the Victorian era during 1849-50 and was noted by Charles Dickens for its extravagant interior. Rumour has it, the house had to be sold by the boisterous 6th Duke of Newcastle to pay off his gambling debts. The 'athenaeum' name was first used over 150 years ago in 1864 when the house was bought by the Junior Athenaeum Club as the ideal spot for entertaining MPs, Lords and the great and good of London.
Around the corner, where our apartments are located, life started even earlier in 1720 when John Downe first built 'Down Street'. It was rebuilt in the 1890s and transformed into beautiful Victorian townhouses.
No.116 was regenerated in the 1930s as a luxurious Art Deco apartment block, still called the athenaeum. The Rank Organisation snapped it up in 1971, transformed it into an iconic hotel and installed all their stars here whenever they were filming at London's famous Pinewood and Ealing Studios.
Sally Bulloch, our effusive Executive Manager, could always be spotted in the restaurant with the likes of Harrison Ford and Marlon Brando or sipping champagne in the bar with Joan Collins. Spielberg even installed an edit suite in the adjoining apartment to his own and edited ET, First Encounters and Indiana Jones right here. From Michael Douglas to Sandra Bullock, stars and VIPs still use the Athenaeum as their discreet home from home. Say hello to Sally for me...
The athenaeum has been family-run since the 1990s and could not be more committed to providing an outstanding and friendly service, resisting any and every anonymous corporate tug. The athenaeum is the essence of Englishness: discreet, personal, friendly, interesting, lavish, quirky, down to earth and brilliant.
Our sister properties are The Grove in Hertfordshire, named by Conde Nast Traveller as "UK Best Leisure Hotel", Runnymede Hotel & Spa near Windsor and Greengarden House, serviced apartments behind London's Oxford Street.