The Portland Hospital is where the rich and famous go to give birth – but it’s not just babies they deliver.
The London hospital also offers a five-star hotel service where new mothers can sip on vintage champagne, feast on oysters… and leave the nappy changing and feeding duties to staff.
Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Jools Oliver, Jemima Goldsmith and the Duchess of York all chose to give birth there.
A new BBC series takes a peek inside the UK’s most exclusive, not to mention expensive, maternity hospital.
The Daily Mail looks at the luxury on offer – and the eye-watering price tags that go with it.
The Portland has 36 private rooms and suites available to the 1,600 women who give birth there every year, the cheapest of which is £1,200 ($2200 au) a night. The more luxurious rooms cost £1,800 ($3300 au) and feature a separate lounge area and en-suite bathroom. A handful of super-deluxe suites reserved for VIPs and royalty that cost upwards of £2,100 ($3900 au) per night.
As Portland Hospital CEO Janene Madden says: ‘It’s like having a holiday. After two to three days you leave fit and well. You only have to pick up Hello! magazine to see the patients we have here in the hospital.’
The cheapest of births at the Portland (natural and midwife-led) are unlikely to leave parents with much change from £10,000 ($18,500 au).
A consultant-led package, with planned C-section, costs in the region of £20,000 ($37, ooo au) depending on how many nights the mother chooses to stay afterwards, while CEO Janene says some patients spend £500,000.
‘Sometimes patients want a whole floor to themselves. They might want to refurbish and redecorate and it’s important for our brand that we meet those needs,’ she says.
There is fresh fruit, pancakes or a hot breakfast cooked to order.
New parents get one complimentary ‘celebration’ meal, with most opting for the opulent afternoon tea that comes with cucumber sandwiches, scones and luxury pastries. After that it’s a pay-as-you-go affair with five-star hotel prices to match.
Food is cooked by one of nine chefs, presented on silver platters and served to the patients silver-service style. The whole operation is headed up by Sonia, the head of catering, who was poached from the five-star Dorchester Hotel in London.
As hotel services manager Paul says: ‘We can get lobster, oysters, foie gras and Dom Perignon.’
Former NHS midwife Doreen says: ‘They are very demanding I must say, because of the money they spend. That’s their way of life, they have everything done for them. If they ask for the baby to be changed, they want it done there and then.’
She adds: ‘Sometimes you feel like a servant. One lady had a glass of water right next to her, but she called me to come and hand it to her.’
Some mothers even ask for their C-sections to be scheduled so that their babies can arrive on particular dates and times.
‘We’ve had patients want to deliver at 7pm on the seventh day of the seventh month for example,’ says CEO Janene, adding that this is only possible ‘if you’re lining up to deliver at that time anyway’.
Luxury nursery furniture, is on hand to kit out the nurseries for new arrivals.
The new parents can then transfer their sparkling new baby kit to a residence of their choice.
While a standard Moses basket from John Lewis costs £35, Dragons’ most-requested basket is £3,295, decorated with French Chantilly lace and silk crepe, stitched with hand-cut glass crystals.
Another popular item is the four-poster Little Duchess cot at £14,000. The cot is hand-carved from beech and draped with French silk and hand-quilted padding.
Mums are given a lavish goodie bag upon departure. The gifts include a bottle of Portland champagne, a stuffed toy panda called Portly Bear and luxury toiletries.
WOW! Just WOW! I am feeling a bit star struck and very lower class now.
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