Claridge’s on a Saturday night is pristine, echoing and a little spooky. The entrance is so quiet I feel like calling out: “Is anyone home?” After filling its rooms during lockdown by hosting NHS staff, the hotel has been welcoming back paying guests. The Claridge’s bar and the foyer, which offers all-day dining, have been operating this month with support from Eat Out to Help Out. The rooms and restaurant are to reopen in September.

The Savoy, which has not announced a reopening date, looms over the Thames in silence. Lockdown was its first unplanned closure since its polished doors opened in the summer of 1889. Many hotels in the world’s finest cities, from Paris to Rome and New York, remain empty. In Paris, the Hôtel de Crillon, the Ritz and Le Bristol are outliers in welcoming people back.

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