Since its inception, the Café Royal has long been the place to be seen, and if the walls of this Grade II listed building could talk, the stories would be inspirational, magical, and most importantly, endless. Countless figureheads of society have walked through the doors of the Café Royal, from politicians and writers to musicians and royalty, each with their own stamp on history. 

Some of our most iconic past patrons continue to inspire the Hotel Café Royal even today, their legacies a consistent reminder of our illustrious past and foundations as a London landmark. To us, these individuals are more than just historical icons, but rather, our VIPPs – our Very Important Past Patrons, that is.

 Our VIPPs, from left to right: Rodin, Sean Connery, Diana, Princess of Wales, David Bowie, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammed Ali, Louis Armstrong, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf.

 Auguste Rodin – One of the earliest known patrons of this historic locale in London, Rodin’s influence on art and culture continues today. Most famously, Rodin found himself at the Café Royal to celebrate a banquet in honour of his unveiling of St. John the Baptist at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum – alongside a litany of high-profile guests and art students.

 Sean Connery – You may not think of James Bond at the Café Royal, given the venues distance from the spy’s notable headquarters in London, but the first James Bond, Connery, was no stranger to the Café Royal, attending events for friends and contemporaries alike within the halls of the then café.

Diana, Princess of Wales – One of the Café Royal’s truly royal patrons, the Princess of Wales frequented many occasions at the Café Royal, and was once famously filmed exiting our doors to a raucous, excited crowd, each of them eager to catch a glimpse of the loved royal.

David Bowie – Musician and icon extraordinaire, Bowie shifted the culture of pop music with his persona Ziggy Stardust, and in July 1973, Bowie retired the persona at a concert, after which he returned to the Café Royal for a star-studded party to send it off in style with friends including Lulu, Lou Reed, and a young Mick Jagger.

Winston Churchill – One of Britain’s most highly regarded Prime Ministers, Churchill could often be seen at the Café Royal, dining with his political contemporaries and entertaining guests, and swiftly became a frequent patron during his career.

Elizabeth Taylor – The Café Royal became a haunt for the actors and actresses of Hollywood, including Mia Farrow, Laurence Harvey and Cary Grant, but it’s Elizabeth Taylor who left her mark on the Café Royal the most, with a tongue-wagging rumour that she once met with Richard Burton for a date at the Café Royal…

Muhammad Ali – The Café Royal had long been a patron of the arts, but in tandem with the National Sporting Club, soon became the go-to place for boxing matches and athletes. Such athletes included the great Muhammad Ali, who once charmed onlookers as he fed his daughter Hana during a press conference.

Louis Armstrong – With such a cultural presence, the Café Royal came to be the go-to place for every type of musician, including the famed Louis Armstrong, who selected the Café Royal as his go-to destination for lunches and speeches.

George Bernard Shaw – Another of the Café Royal’s literary patrons, George Bernard Shaw was indeed a frequent guest in the dining halls, often holding court alongside his contemporaries as they jostled for literary excellence. Shaw soon became a close confidante of another VIPP, Mr. Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Wilde – Possibly one of the Café Royal’s most famous patrons, Wilde was an integral part of the then-café, often holding court for his poetry, with countless stories retelling the events around his career centering on the Café Royal – some more infamous than others. Today, Wilde is commemorated in the historic Grill Room, which has been renamed the Oscar Wilde Lounge.

Virginia Woolf – Some of the world’s literary greats were patrons of the Café Royal, and even Charles Dickens hailed it as a place for those “who know how to order dinner”. To no-one’s surprise, Virginia Woolf was another trailblazing patron of the venue, her works and history resonating with individuals around the world to this very day for their feminist stance and clever prose.