When César Ritz threw open the doors of The Ritz London hotel in 1906, it immediately attracted a clientele of the rich, the glamorous and royalty – King Edward VII and his mistress Mrs Keppel would dine in the Marie Antoinette suite, and in the following years Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward and Tallulah Bankhead were regular guests. This year sees the hotel’s 110th anniversary and, following on from sensory celebrations earlier in the year, to mark the occasion it is throwing The Ritz Big British Birthday, an extravagant black tie evening (£350 per guest) of food, champagne, music, singing and dancing on Friday September 23.
The party will take over the five interconnecting rooms in the 18th-century William Kent House to the side of the establishment and start with a Laurent-Perrier champagne and canapé reception, followed by a series of food bars presided over by chefs – including a seafood bar, one for whole suckling pig and others for salmon en croûte and sumptuous beef Wellington.
During this feast, The Wandering Hands will perform a repertoire of energetic songs from the past 60 years, topped off with a one-hour performance by the internationally acclaimed 17-part BBC Big Band orchestra (second picture) – accompanied by in-demand jazz singers Claire Martin and Iain Mackenzie.
Vintage swing band Elle & The Pocket Belles will then step on stage in The Music Room, singing vintage swing and modern-day classics as the best of The Ritz desserts are served – from towers of profiteroles to liquid-nitrogen ice cream.
A truly Ritzy evening.