It’s been a great experience staying at the Baileys Hotel as a guest. I was one of the staff here nearly 30 years ago, from late 1982, working as a kitchen porter. From the outside, the hotel hasn’t changed. The front entrance is where it’s always been. Inside the foyer, or lobby, Reception is still to the right, the doorway to the lifts still to the left. But the old coffee shop overlooking Gloucester Road has been replaced by the more upmarket Olives, an Italian restaurant.
In my day, Baileys was owned by Indians, but they are long gone. Baileys is today owned by the Millennium group of hotels. But in 1983, while I worked here, the Indian owners established the Bombay Brasserie, nestled between the Baileys and the Gloucester Hotel next door, also a Millennium hotel. The Bombay Brasserie still exists, and is widely recognised as London’s finest Indian dining. I walked through the restaurant, and indeed it is very beautiful, the chandeliers magnificent.
I was escorted into the basement of Baileys for a nostalgic tour. The place has totally changed. The layout is nothing like it used to be. The kitchen I worked in, which serviced the old coffee shop above, no longer exists. And the quality of the basement itself is superior to the early 80s. Today, the floor is covered in lino, and the walls have the standard plastic attachments that seem to go with quality building work. In the old days, the basement was very rudimentary. The floor was concrete, and the walls bare, hard and no frills. The corridor leading to what used to be the staff canteen still slopes downwards. But, unlike before, the basement of the Baileys leads into the basement of the Gloucester.