The Portland Hospital is one of the most expensive hospitals to give birth in. Their usual clients are the rich and famous from across the globe. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Kate Winslet, and the Duchess of York were among those who chose to have their baby in this luxurious hospital.
Take a peek inside the most posh and expensive maternity hospital in London.
Rooms Pricier Than the Ritz
Every year, an average of 1,600 women give birth at Portland hospital. They have 36 private rooms and suites of which the cheapest is $1,728 a night. The grander room, which costs $2,590, has a separate lounge room, extra bed, and adjoining bathroom complete with Molton Brown toiletries. Round-the-clock room service is available as well.
There is also a limited number of super-deluxe suites reserved just for VIPs and royalties, which have a minimum price tag of $3,022 a night—far more expensive than an executive suite at The Ritz hotel in London, which only costs $1,295 a night.
Natural and midwife-led delivery are the cheapest in Portland at $14,395. While planned C-section, which is the most in-demand type of birth, costs twice at $28,790. On top of that, if the mom-to-be requested for an epidural, she must be prepared to shell out an additional $1,432. Induction is $906 and another $199 for forceps delivery.
Depending on the number of nights the patient stays in the hospital, Portland’s CEO Janene Madden says that some families have paid as much as almost $1 million.
Redecorate Before the Birth
There are some patients who want to take the entire floor to themselves. The hospital can do that too. Privacy is not a problem as well because they have secret private entrances for guests who would like to be incognito.
In the BBC show featuring the Portland hospital, a Saudi princess sends her assistant ahead of her to the hospital to brief the hospital on her requests. She also hires an interior designer who would refurbish the rooms according to her taste.
She wanted to book four luxury suites: one for herself, one for the baby, one for family, and one for visitors.
The princess arrived in family-owned private jet with her entire little kingdom. She brought along her own cook, florists, maid, as well as her own decorative accessories, linens, and towels. The arrival of a new prince cost them about $360,000.
C-sections on Demand
In the BBC documentary on Portland hospital, it was seen that more than half of their patients are not prepared for the pain of natural labor so they opted for cesarean procedure.
One of the hospital’s consultants, Shazia Malik, is known for delivering a baby through cesarean with little trace of scar.
During the making of the film, one patient, Chinese fashion designer Lu Hui admits that she doesn’t want to have a natural labor, she’s afraid it will hurt.
Celebrate with Afternoon Tea
In NHS hospitals, patients spend an average of 90p for breakfast; but in Portland, guests can order fresh fruit, pancakes, or a hot breakfast.
Portland offers one time complementary “celebration” meal to new parents. Most choose the sumptuous afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches, scones, and delightful pastries. After that, the guest can have whatever she wants at five-star hotel-like price.
The hospital’s catering service has nine chefs and is supervised by Sonia, who was pirated from the first-class hotel in London, the Dochester. They serve lobsters, oysters, foie gras, and Dom Perignon.
Can’t Sleep? Put the Baby in a Nursery!
In Portland, where patients pay sky-high bills, they must have the best services.
The hospital has three theaters, employed 50 midwives who are mostly trained and pirated from NHS, 21 nurses to care for the babies when mothers can’t.
When patients are paying tens of thousands of pounds for the Portland’s services, they expect the best.
Doreen, one of the midwives, says some mothers are very demanding. She tells, “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.”
They often hear mothers say to them, “Don’t you know who I am?” They would answer no because honestly, they don’t.
One staff member observes, “They leave the labor ward looking like film stars.”
Consultant Who’s a Countess
If the patient has deep pockets, she can choose whoever she wants to deliver her little one. She can even have a countess assist her. Dr. Penelope Law is a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at the Portland. She’s also the Countess of Bradford, married to the 7th Earl of Bradford. She is known at Portland as the doctor who is “not too posh to pull.”
Four-Poster Cot That Costs $20,153
Portland uses the same plastic, transparent crib for babies used in NHS hospitals. But if the parents think it’s just too plain for their little bundle of joy, no problem. There’s a first-class shop in West London that has a selection of luxurious nursery furniture called Dragons of Walton Street. Parents can get fancy new baby kit from the said shop.
If you’re curious at the price difference, well. The regular cot at John Lewis costs $50 while Dragons’ best seller basket has a price tag of $4,740. It has French Chantilly lace and silk crepe embellishment, sewn with hand-cut glass crystals.
Another favorite item at Dragons’ is the four-poster Little Duchess crib with a whooping price of $20,153. The cot is manually carved from beech, adorned with French silk and carefully quilted cushion.
Goodie Bags with Toys and Fizz
In NHS hospitals, moms leave the hospitals with few diapers and baby wipes. In Portland, they’re more extravagant. New mothers get a lavish giveaway bag that includes a bottle of Portland champagne, a stuffed toy panda called Portly Bear, and luxury toiletries.
The gift also contains a complementary photo session with a set of prints and a free consultation with an high-end baby list company (like a wedding list but for babies).
Arrival of the Chinese It-Girl
The most remarkable among the patients on the TV series is probably the beautiful Chinese girl Lu Hui. She’s the 24-year-old wife of a Hongkong tycoon, who gave birth by cesarean at Portland because Victoria Beckham, her idol, had her baby there. She found out by googling.
While most mothers are advised to do “skin-to-skin contact” immediately after birth, Lu Hui was different. She asked the staff to clean up and put on a diaper to her son first before giving the baby to her.
And in her private room, she had no idea that infants sometimes cry at night. She complained to the film crews how the baby kept waking up and that she couldn’t sleep, so she sent the baby to the nursery to sleep.
After her four-day stay at the hospital, where she paid a total of $57,500 bill, she finally got to go home with a nanny in tow. “It’s good to have a nanny live-in. I don’t need to cook or do dishes. The nanny will take care of me . . . and the baby.”
After two weeks, the crew visited Lu Hui and found her in tears. It’s not a tears of joy coming from a woman who just gave birth to a healthy baby, but she was crying because she’s afraid her husband will walk out on her for she has not yet regained her slim figure from before.
“I’m worried someone is going to take my husband from me,” she weeps. “I had a C-section and my belly is still very big. I know lots of men want their wives to be back to normal—the same size. Not big and no stretch marks.”