London is always a wonderful city to visit in the summer but following on from the success of our fabulous and over-all-too-quickly Olympics and with the party still to come at the Paralympics, our capital city has well and truly positioned itself at the centre of the travel universe. So, here’s a wee look at two celeb-studded hotels in the city. First up, the rather lovely Landmark London Hotel.
LUCKY STARS: Katy Perry, Keira Knightly, Jack Black,Justin Timberlake, Freddie Flintoff, Myleen Klass and the Manchester United football team.
The Landmark was originally constructed as an elegant railway hotel for the well-heeled travellers of the “golden age of steam” and although our grand tour had only brought us from Manchester and Glasgow, it seemed fitting that Mommy Dearest and I arrived directly from the Marylebone station platform. After hours of negotiating the London Tube system (getting lost on more like – Mum and I are proof positive that a poor sense of direction genetically disposed), the sight of the hotel’s magnificent Victorian architecture and the promise of some old-school service couldn’t have been more welcome. Crossing the threshold, weariness was replaced with wonder as we entered into a world of creamy marbles, softly-lit chandeliers, enormous floral displays and Victorian neoclassical oil paintings. While we were still wow-ing over the beautiful interiors we were discreetly checked-in and whisked to our room as all the while the sound of a piano tinkered in the background.
Any travel tensions that may still have been lingering quickly disappeared when we saw our delightful and downright enormous Executive bedroom. Celebrity guests of course opt for the sprawling Landmark or Presidential suites but as The Landmark boasts some of the biggest rooms in London – 300 in all – all tastefully appointed in the classic Victorian tradition, you won’t feel short-changed. The bathrooms too are a treat with a huge soaking tubs, walk-in showers, twin sinks and a generous collection of White Company amenities. Oddly though, for such a thoroughly British hotel there were no tea and coffee making facilities in the room.
After a couple of hours lounging on our feathery bed it was time for dinner. And the location for our mother and daughter meal couldn’t have been more perfect. The Winter Garden restaurant sits at the heart of a beautiful eight-storey atrium at the centre of the hotel. Frocked-up and famished, we settled in amidst the towering palm trees, juliet balconies and soaring glass ceiling and were feeling very special indeed – a sweetly smug sensation that was only further enhanced by the arrival of Thierry Henry at the next table (Gasp. Tweet).
The classic menu and warm service were loyal to the hotel’s traditional aesthetic, however the waiting time was not – a late start and a forty-five minute between courses left us nodding into our empty breadbasket. When the food did arrive though it was delicious – Mum declared me her favourite daughter (I’m her only daughter) as she devoured her lobster risotto – and the thoughtful offer of our waitress to send dessert to our room for a cosy cake and TV combo more than made up for any delays.
Having skipped the Mirror Bar (a favourite celebrity cocktail bar hidden at the back of the hotel) in favour of Baileys creme brulee in bed, and having ran out of time to visit the chic TwoTwentyTwo restaurant and bar, there was one other hotel hot spot that I wanted to visit. The Landmark’s swanky spa and health club is as popular with the well-groomed Marylebone locals as it is with the guests and was said to have been Katy Perry’s first stop when she stayed at the hotel. Featuring a 15-metre pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, monsoon showers and four cocoon-like treatment rooms for some luxe-y treatments – try the ESPA Advanced Super Active Facial for a cover-girl glow.
Overall this is one of the most reasonably-priced and grandest five star hotels you can stay at in London. Situated opposite Marylebone Station, and short stroll from the lovely Regent’s Park, this beautiful old grand dame is perfectly located for exploring all that London has to offer, although you may, like us, find it hard to leave such lovely surroundings.
The Landmark London, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7631 8000; www.landmarklondon.co.uk; Double rooms from £250.