Imagine giving birth while chomping on lobster washed down with vintage Dom Perignon and knowing the moment your baby arrives someone else will be on hand to look after him.
If you have a spare £10,000 then that’s what’s on offer at the Portland Hospital, where parents pay big money to have their every whim catered to.
And now the hospital is set to give the public a tantalising glimpse behind its doors. Last year, the Portland granted unprecedented access to the BBC for a new documentary that is to air next week.
About 1,600 babies are welcomed at the hospital each year. Jerry Hall, Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson have all reportedly given birth at the Portland.
It is a far cry from the experience of most women, with chief executive Janene Madden saying she has seen some families spend as much as £500,000 to give birth at the Portland.
“We have princesses from the Middle East who deliver here quite regularly. We have celebrities and individuals of very high net worth and they are used to getting what they want.”
“And if they want 10 additional rooms or 20 additional rooms we will provide it.”
“As long as that woman or her husband can pay for what they are requesting we will do our best to provide that.”
“What I can advocate here is it is like having a holiday. When you deliver at the Portland you get to use the nursery and your baby is only bought back for feeding time so you absolutely after 2/3 nights you leave here fit and well and ready to face the challenges of motherhood.”
There is a team of 50 full time midwives at the hospital. One midwife who appears in the documentary describes how many of her patients are shocked by the reality of childbirth, despite being waited on hand and foot.
She said: “When I first came here I knew it was private hospital and knew it was for the wealthy but I didn’t know what to expect.”
“It’s a different way of life, getting what they want and having everything done for them.”
“They expect things to be done on the spot. If they want the baby changed they want it done there and then.”
“They will ask you for things that you know they can do themselves – her glasses will be next to her and she will ask you to hand them to her but that is lifestyle they expect so you just have to do it.”
“But having money doesn’t make having a baby pain free and most of them are really shocked and say ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be like this’.”
One first time mum who recently gave birth at the hospital is Beijing born fashion designer Lu Hui, 24. Ms Hui spent £40,000 to give birth to her first son Lucas via elective caesarean section.
“I was Googling which is the best hospital to have a baby and the Portland is the top one that popped out,” Hui, who is married to a wealthy business tycoon who runs a shipping empire out of Hong Kong, said.
“I know Victoria Beckham has had a baby there, she is my icon.”
When Lucas was born, Hui requested midwives clean the baby up and make sure her son had a nappy on before passing him to her.
When she was asked what would happen if she could not afford the service and care provided at the Portland, Hui laughed: “Are you kidding me? I’d have died straight away! I am kidding, if I had no money or less money than I have now I would work really hard.”
As well as maternity care the Portland offers a range of high end facilities to guests at it’s 36 rooms.
A hotel standard kitchen, based on the one in five-star hotel The Dorchester, provides around the clock fine dining.
One cooks boasts: “We can get foie gras, lobsters and oysters if people want, and fantastic champagne, Dom Pérignon if people want that, too.”
Five Star Babies: Inside The Portland Hospital is on BBC Two on April 13 at 9pm.