Claridge’s ex-manager, who served Hollywood stars and royals for over 30 years, is now dead at 95.

Ronald Fitzgerald Jones, who was born in Liverpool in 1926, began working in hotels as a teenager in 1940 when he was hired to work as an appointed junior control clerk at the prestigious Adelphi Hotel just a week after his father’s death. 

He went on to work for some of the country’s most luxurious hotels, including Gleneagles and the Athenaeum Hotel in Piccadilly. 

Jones became general manager of Claridge’s three decades ago. The Claridge’s annexe was also called Buckingham Palace Annexe. Jones spotted three kings and three princesses in Claridge’s breakfast one day after he arrived.  

Under Ronald’s watchful eye, Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother would dine,  while the Queen and Prince Philip hosted parties, including their 40th wedding anniversary, at the hotel. 

Ronald Fitzgerald Jones was born on Liverpool’s waterfront in 1926. He became Claridge’s manager and caters to Hollywood stars and royalty.

Ronald was the only child of Harry Jones and Margaret (née MacKenzie), both of whom worked in hospitality.

Harry was in charge of catering at the royal train, on the London Midland or Scottish railway dining cars. However his wife managed a bakery shop in Liverpool.

Margaret was the granddaughter of John Ban Mackenzie who was a Scottish champion piper whose admirers included Queen Victoria. 

Ronald, who was musically gifted at an early age, learned piano and received a silver award in the Liverpool Musical Festival for his performance of Dance of the Dew Fairy. 

Harry, who had been gassed during WWI in 1940, died tragically in his family.

Days later, Ronald, who was just 14-years-old, was interviewed for a job at the Adelphi Hotel.

Jones was general manager of Claridge's, which was also known as 'Buckingham Palace annexe', and on one of his first days observed three kings and three queens at breakfast

Jones, Claridge’s general manager, was also known by the ‘Buckingham Palace Annexe’. He observed, on one of Claridge’s first days, three kings as well as three queens at breakfast.

These are the secrets behind Britain’s most luxurious hotel, and their celebrity clients. 

One of the managers of Claridge’s has a story he likes to tell about the world-famous hotel.

Timothy Lock says that people used to call the phone operators to get help. They would then ask the operator: “Could you speak with the King?” The operator would respond, “Which one ?”.’?”

Over the past 150 years, Claridge’s — in the heart of London’s Mayfair — has played host to hundreds of heads of state.

With a night’s stay costing up to £7,000 — and afternoon tea £50 per head — it’s hardly surprising few manage to pass through its highly polished art deco portals. 

The hotel is also known as Buckingham Palace’s ‘annex’. 

The majority of guests have more conservative names, such as the American couple Jack and Norma Melchor, who have visited Claridge’s for 40 years.

It is returning guests like them the hotel especially values — which is why, it seems, every one of them is treated like royalty.

Photographs are taken in the suite when guests like the Melchors visit, so that it can be recreated exactly as it was before they returned. A profile of each guest is also created. 

In 2011,  a Japanese pop star and her 35-strong entourage stayed in the hotel for a month. So, the hotel removed the old bath and installed a new one.

Some guests say the colour of the room is not to their liking, in which case Claridge’s re-decorates the room for the course of the stay, and then returns it to how it was before.

This willingness to help Arab royalty is a great asset. A princess with her entourage booked 40 rooms in the third floor of this building for 2011.

Ten rooms were cleared from furniture in order to create dressing and dining areas. One of the rooms was converted to kitchens. Two entire suites were dedicated solely for storage.

The hotel took two days to complete the necessary changes even though they had not yet confirmed the reservation. The princess also requested that her mattress be padded with four duvets as she prefers soft bedding. 

Whenever a room is refurbished — which can cost up to £200,000 — senior members of the hotel staff spend a night in the room to ensure that everything is as it should be.

Every angle of the room is examined to ensure nothing unattractive is seen. A guest should not be allowed to place their feet on the desk and see the untidy cables under it. You should immediately call the decorating department if you see even the slightest scuff on your skirting boards.

Just over 400 people work at Claridge’s, all of whom are highly-trained, and many of whom have worked at the hotel for decades. Among them are those who work in the laundry — they wash 1,500 towels a day, nearly 550,000 per year.

There are more than 1000 lobsters cooked each year in our kitchen, as well as 60,000 champagne bottles.

There are more than 200 miles worth of corridors that need to be vacuumed. Many panes and mirrors also require regular cleaning, some of which may be required every hour.

Some guests stay at the hotel so many times that they have to store their belongings. One of these is the sugar magnate Jose ‘Pepe’ Fanjul, who has stayed at the hotel for 300 nights over the past decade.

 Mr Fanjul sees the hotel as a home from home, for whenever he stays he finds his dozens of suits and hats all positioned in exactly the same places as when he previously visited.

Joan Collins was one of those guests who found the charm of the hotel in the evocations of an older age.

‘There’s a feeling you’re not quite in the 21st century,’ she says. ‘It’s so pristine and wonderful, it’s as if it’s not from today.’

He was appointed the job of  junior control clerk in accounts.

In 1997, his memoir, The Grand Hotelier, he wrote that he earned only 16 schillings per week.

His manager would send the teenager on various jobs, including collect outstanding debt from a prostitute who had ruined one of the hotel’s Louis XV chairs with a client.

The witness was present when security officers suspected that one guest had entertained a male friend in sex. 

According to The Times, he stated that he would blush at the sight or odor of Wren wearing a full-length naval uniform. 

He also used to listen to guest calls and gather gossip. 

He penned: ‘I  was able to discover that the tenor Richard Tauber had numerous mistresses while he was married to the exquisite Diana Napier [and] Noël Coward used to have long, intimate conversations with Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.’ 

He also mentioned how celebrity guests were given ‘ten pennies’ to dine at Adelphi’s French restaurants. 

He remembered, ‘Michael Redgrave was dressed in an ordinary sailor uniform before he was promoted as officer.

Meanwhile he spotted  ‘Laurence Olivier and breathtaking Vivien Leigh, and Jessie Matthews, Jack Buchanan, Ivor Novello and the pianist José Iturbi.’

Ronald also discovered a new culture and life style in Liverpool through this job.

His hotel staff was among those who were able to get complimentary tickets for Diamond Lil at Mae West’s Empire Theatre. 

During the war, he was a wireless-telegraphist for the navy aboard the King George V.

He recalled praying in the chapel of his ship with many other recruits as they were being bombarded by enemy fire.

He said, “At the age of 19, I was huddled together with dozens other Royal Navy sailors in the chapel at the battleship King George V. Mid-Pacific. While a kamikaze fighter in a plane filled of explosives tried his best to end both his life and that of ours on our quarterdeck.

‘All I could do was pray I’d live to see 20!’ 

He was able to survive the war and was at Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered.

VJ Day was over, and he went to Australia to spend a year before returning to Britain to be a hotel manager. 

Jeanette Wood (whose father was an Adelphi employee) met his future wife upon returning to the UK.

The couple married in 1951, had two sons, Graham (who lives in California) and Russell (an economist).    

He completed his managerial apprenticeship at Gleneagles and immediately set about transforming both the Dornoch Hotel and Turnberry. 

The father-of-two spent the next two decades working at 15 of British Transport Hotels’ properties. 

But in  1970, he was invited to run the Royal Garden Hotel, overlooking Kensington Palace Gardens, by Michael de Marco, who had been his reception manager at Gleneagles.

He then oversaw the two year redevelopment of the 1930s Athenaeum Court apartment into the Hotel in Piccadilly. 

The hotel immediately attracted Hollywood guests and has continued to have a star-studded clientele, including Steven Spielberg, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minnelli, Warren Beatty and Kim Kardashian.  

The Hollywood Reporter noticed that Hollywood stars were seen more in London’s Athenaeum, than at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Jones heard Maureen Stapleton, an American actress, scream: “Jeez-us.” Three thousand dollars. And I didn’t even get to f*** the manager.’

While he was working at the luxury London hotel, Ronald’s wife Jean died from multiple sclerosis in 1975.

Ronald and Eve MacPherson met in 1977. They felt ‘immediately’ connected. 

Eve told The Caterer: ‘My great friend John Tovey said: ‘There’s only one man you should write about first and that’s Ron Jones of the Athenaeum hotel in Piccadilly.

“There’s no better hotelier today in the country.”

As a teenager, Ronald worked as a wireless telegraphist with the navy on the King George V in the Far East during the war (pictured)

Ronald was a teenager who worked for the Navy on King George V in Far East as a wireless telephone telegraphist (pictured). 

“John was familiar with his hotels, so I offered to interview Ronald Jones. He said that he would give me 45 minutes on a morning at 11am. Lunch was served at 11.30. I came back for dinner at 7.30.

What’s multiple sclerosis (MS), exactly?

An immune system disorder is MS. This is when something goes wrong with the immune system and it mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body – in this case, the brain or spinal cord of the nervous system.

MS is caused by the immune system attacking the protective layer around the nerves called the myelin sleeth. The sheath and possibly the underlying nerves are damaged or scarred, causing messages to be slowed down or stopped along the nerves.

Although it is not clear what exactly causes this immune system to function in this manner, most experts believe that a combination genetic and environmental factors are involved. 

Although she had been planning to relocate to the USA, Ronald asked her the question at one Queen’s Buckingham Palace party, and convinced her to stay.   

She recalled: ‘A few months later we were married in the Queens Chapel of the Savoy.’

Each Valentine’s Day, they renewed their vows at the chapel.

He moved to Claridge’s in 1984, describing it as ‘like stepping on to the stage of a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera towards the end of a long, long run: the scenery was badly in need of refurbishing, the audience had aged in its seats, the stars were fading and the chorus was in need of remotivating’.

This stage has seen him redevelop multiple luxury hotels. Claridge’s was his first investment in renovation and profile construction.

Mivart’s Hotel was established in 1812 in a London terraced house.  

This hotel was a favorite venue for the famous and wealthy, as well-known directors, actors and entertainers who chose to stay there. 

David Niven’s memoir, The Moon’s a Balloon, stated that Alexander Korda’s home was Claridge’s Penthouse. 

Some of the most well-known guests are Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn as well as Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, U2 or Mariah Carey.  

Claridge’s hosts visiting royals and members of the Royal Family. 

He moved to Claridge's in 1984, and was general manager for 10 years, frequently brushing shoulders with royalty (pictured with the Queen and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi in 1987)

He moved to Claridge’s in 1984, and was general manager for 10 years, frequently brushing shoulders with royalty (pictured with the Queen and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi in 1987)

King Hassan II of Morocco used his Savoy Mattress when he traveled, although he did so with his own bed. He was impressed by their quality and ordered 24 identical Savoy mattresses for his palace.                                

Ronald would get used to rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, with the hotel becoming known as the ‘Buckingham Palace annexe’.  

Two lightbulbs were on his desk: one was green, the other was red.

The green light would illuminate when a guest arrived, while the red indicated royalty was at the  hotel.

In 1987, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted a private party for their 40th wedding anniversary and he recalled: I don’t jump up for every green light. 

“But, when the red light turns on, it signifies that it’s head of state…the light shone very, very brightly that day.”

He stated that “Royalty, heads of state and are rarely difficult although those recently elevated may be challenging.”

Celebrities from Hollywood royalty to politicians have stayed at the luxury hotel (pictured, Jones greeting the Reagans at Claridge’s in 1993)

Celebrities from Hollywood royalty to politicians have stayed at the luxury hotel (pictured, Jones greeting the Reagans at Claridge’s in 1993) 

Ronald was the general manager from 1994 to 1994. He slept in nearly every room over the years, in an effort to get a better understanding of the hotel.

Claridge’s was his favorite place to work, describing it as “the ultimate climax of an exciting career.” He also said that Claridge’s is the best workplace for him. 

He received the OBE 1989.

From 1995 to 2010, he was the Director at Dormy House, a hotel in Broadway (Worcestershire).

Ve-gone! Claridge’s sack star chef at £150-a-head restaurant after he suggests turning the menu fully plant-based, declaring ‘this is not the path we wish to follow’ 

Claridge’s star chef has been sacked from his £150-a-head restaurant because bosses refuse to allow him to turn the restaurant fully vegan.

After tense discussions with management at five-star hotel, Davies and Brook, Daniel Humm (45) will be leaving his position at Davies and Brook in December.

The vegan chef wanted to create a fully plant-based kitchen at the hotel’s  fine-dining restaurant.

Claridge’s management stated, however that this is not the right path for them at Claridge’s currently.

As the US-born chef, Mr Humm has vowed to introduce a bold new way of eating plant-based food to London, both Mr Humm and the hotel have “mutually” parted ways.

The statement added: ‘We wish to thank Daniel Humm and his extraordinary team at Davies and Brook for what they have created here at Claridge’s since they opened in 2019, gaining accolades along the way under challenging circumstances.

Daniel Humm (pictured), 45, will leave his post at Davies and Brook at the end of December following tense talks with the five-star hotel's management

After tense discussions with five-star hotel management, Daniel Humm (pictured), will be leaving his position at Davies and Brook in December.

“We are completely open to the idea of Daniel championing a 100% plant-based cuisine and want to bring it to London. 

“But, Claridge’s isn’t following this path at the moment. Therefore, we regretfully have decided to separate.

“Daniel is a friend and long-standing supporter of our hotel over many years. We wish him every success in his bold new venture. 

‘Davies will still be in charge of Brook until December 2021. Claridge’s will then update us on any future plans. 

One hotel employee told Richard Eden yesterday that it was ‘a nightmare’. The insiders added that they were afraid Humm would leave, which could mean being without Humm during their busiest season of the year, Christmas.

The hotel and Mr Humm have 'mutually' decided to part ways as the US-born chef aims to bring a 'bold new vision' of fully plant-based eating to London

Humm and the hotel have “mutually” decided to separate. The US-born chef wants to offer a completely plant-based diet to London.

Yesterday one hotel insider told the Daily Mail's Richard Eden 'it's a nightmare'. They added: 'Bosses are terrified that Humm will leave if his demands are not met.' Pictured, Claridge's

Yesterday, a hotel insider said to Richard Eden that the situation was “a nightmare”. “Bosses fear Humm might leave, if they don’t meet his demands,” they added. Pictured, Claridge’s

“But, if they make the restaurant vegan they’ll upset many regular customers.”

It comes after Mr Humm turned the £250-a-head menu at his three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, plant-based.

Now available are cucumber with melon & smoked Daikon, Swiss Chard fried pepper and courgette with lemongrass.

Meanwhile, a four-course menu at the Claridge’s menu Davies And Brook, costs £125 a head and includes caviar; roasted venison with beetroot; and foie gras with black truffle.

Yesterday’s Claridge’s spokesperson said that Mr Humm was being discussed with the hotel. They stated that they are continually reviewing Davies and Brook’s offerings, which could include the introduction of a plant-based menu.

Mr Humm recently attended the Cop26 eco summit in Glasgow, where he said his mission in life was ‘to make plant-based food delicious, magical and luxurious’.

He said, “It’s better to our planet and for our health.”