Discover the rich history of The Rubens at the Palace, extending back to the 1700s, hosting royalty throughout history.
1890 - 1906
The Rubens Hotel formed part of the grounds and stabling of a much earlier house on this site, which in 1703 once owned by John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave, also known as ‘Lord Allpride’. Queen Anne created him Duke of Buckingham a year after coming to the throne.
By this date, houses and shops had begun to spring up over Chelsea Road, which is now Buckingham Palace Road. These served the Palace and its occupants. They frequently let the rooms above their shops to middle-ranking Palace servants such as housekeepers and footmen.
The site of the present hotel belonged to a druggist and a ham and tongue dealer named Thomas Murley. The firm of Thomas Murley & Son continued here until the mid-1880s. Their premises then passed into use as a law stationer’s shop with a gentleman named Polwarth.
'Madame Excalier’ ran a Court dressmaker’s establishment from here with fashionable hats and bonnets, costumes and mantles, Court robes, ball gowns, dinner and tea dresses, walking costumes and bridal wear.
Around this time, another of the shops on this site belonged to a maker of artificial flowers named Elizabeth Dowe. Artificial flower-making was a Victorian ‘home’ industry in which hundreds of girls and women were engaged. By 1885 the property went to auction and may have been redeveloped.
It was occupied by the Aerated Bread Company. In time the one cafe became a chain and the Aerated Bread Company had at its peak two hundred and fifty tea-shops throughout London.
The Hotel Rubens became very popular with debutantes and others attending royal functions at Buckingham Palace. During the Second World War it was taken over by General Sikorski’s Free State Polish Army, which used it as its headquarters. The plaque remains to this day on the building.
The hotel was purchased by Grand Metropolitan Hotels.
Towards the end of the 1970s the property was sold to Sarova Hotels.
The hotel was sold to The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and quickly became an award-winning property, rated among the best hotels in London.
Hotel 41 opened on the previous 5th floor ballroom of The Rubens Hotel.
bbar opened, serving signature cocktails and drink pairings to complement the seasonal, South African-inspired menu. It was voted 'Most Loved Local Bar' in Westminster & St James by TimeOut 2018.
London’s largest Living Wall was unveiled by The Rubens, standing at 350 square meters and containing a total of 10,000 herbaceous plants.
The hotel completed a beautiful, multi-million-pound refurbishment, adding the exquisite English Grill, The Curry Room and The New York Bar to its collection of dining venues.
The Rubens at The Palace was proudly recognised as an AA five-star hotel and The Leopard Bar received a stunning transformation. The bar now offers over 200 whiskies and 30 Champagnes against a backdrop of live jazz and swing music.