The 140 attendees included international luminaries such as British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, the former head of the CIA, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, The Daily Telegraph reported. Many arrived at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire in limousines with tinted windows or used newspapers to hide from protesters and the news media.
There were about 400 people outside the hotel, The Guardian said, describing a mix of protesters and journalists.
Among those outside were Alex Jones, the U.S. talk show host who believes the moon landings were fake and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was the work of the government. Jones called for a "1776 worldwide."
Hannah Borno of the Bilderberg Welcoming Committee called the meeting "profoundly undemocratic." Another protester said those on the outside were there to "fight evil."
Those attending the four-day meeting say the secrecy gives them a chance to exchange ideas without having to guard their words.