Posts Tagged: London


30
May 13

Celebrity Hotel Review: The Baglioni London

Big news! I’m moving to Thailand. Phuket to be precise. This may seem a bit out of the blue but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed me (t)wittering on for the last few months about visas and form-filling, car-booting and packing boxes – with a fair amount of despair and tears thrown in along the way. At times, it’s felt like it was never going to happen but – hooray! – it’s finally all come together and it won’t be long now until  I’m blogging from the beach. But, as excited as I am to go, I’m also a little bit sad to be saying my goodbyes. The only thing for it, is to bow out of Blighty in style. So when the swanky celeb-frequented Baglioni Hotel in London invited me a long for a visit how could I say no?

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The Baglioni sits has a primo position with Hyde Park and Kensington Palace on its doorstep.

Lucky Stars: Al Pacino, Halle Berry, Will Smith and Italian film producer Dino di Laurntiis have all been spotted soaking up la dolce vita at the Baglioni. Other big Hollywood names have checked in here too but if I tell, I may find myself “sleeping with the fishes”.

The Lowdown

The the first thing I noticed as I walked into the Baglioni’s bijoux lobby, was the wonderful fragrance that wafted around me. It’s not a particularly new trend for hotels to have their own signature scent but this one was particularly inviting, kind of citrusy and warm, instantly making me think of Mediterranean climes. The decor too, was conducive to on-the-spot relaxation; all flattering lighting, polished walls and deep velvet sofas, with the sound of a tinkling wall of water cascading in the background. The crowd of at-ease guests and power-lunchers that peppered the room were a stylish bunch, lots of suited and booted business-types and raven-haired beauties – my husband straightened his back and I immediately wished I’d worn bigger earrings.

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The lobby at the Baglioni. All shiny and smelling like Sorrento.

We could get dressed up later though. For the minute all we wanted to do was rid ourselves of bags and relax. It had been a rather demanding morning, up at 5 a.m. for what turned out to be a five hour drive down from Manchester followed by a visit to Thai embassy, but equanimity was quickly restored with a friendly welcome from the reception desk. We’d arrived a little bit earlier than expected so were informed that our room wouldn’t be ready for another couple of hours. But, this was hardly an inconvenience: the hotel couldn’t be in a more desirable London location, with Kensington High Street just around the corner and Hyde Park opposite. We toddled off for a spot of lunch and a hand-in-hand stroll around the park and before we knew it we were checking into our executive suite with splendid views of the pretty green places we’d just been exploring.

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The Royal Suite at the Baglioni Hotel London

Celebrity guests usually to opt for the opulent Royal Suite, a five-bedroom, high-ceilinged number with sweeping views of Kensington and Hyde Park. We were privileged to have room 505, a spacious top-floor room with terrific park views, an enormous marshmallow-soft bed and a ridiculously decadent black marble bathroom stocked with divine-smelling Baglioni amenities. There weren’t any bedside sockets – where to charge? – and the black-out blinds had an inch gap around them making for an early rise but other than that, I lapped up the chic Italian designer feel of it all.

The Highlights

The Baglioni has 67 rooms, with 49 suites, though the smooth service and discreet atmosphere, allow you to feel like you’re the only people staying there. It was only when we returned downstairs for dinner at the glam Brunello restaurant that we remembered there was a world outside of our gold-clad cocoon of a room. The mod-Baroque dining space with its central glass bar and Murano glass chandeliers made for a rather theatrical setting for what would be an absolutely delicious meal.

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Brunello Restaurant at the Baglioni Hotel

We opted for flutes of Prosecco, and flirted with the excellent wine list before settling on a bottle of Contado Aglianico del Molise, as recommended by the very clever sommelier. Hubby was raised in Italy and is sometimes guilty of being a little bit picky when it comes to Italian food, but he couldn’t fault any of the three courses. Silky carpaccio dotted with raw baby vegetables, rocket and Parmesan, was followed by melt-in-the-mouth tortelli di burrata with burnt butter and hazelnut, and a delightfully light white chocolate mousse with passionfruit sorbet. After dinner, we really should have ventured out for a nightcap in Knightsbridge but given our classy surroundings it seemed madness to leave, so we sat outside on the terrace sipping on digestivi. Perfetto.

The next morning, we lingered over breakfast, reluctant to leave our little slice of the sweet life in London, but sadly the time to say ciao came around all too quickly – just as it seems to be doing in real life. As we walked through the revolving doors to our waiting car, we wondered what lay ahead in Thailand and thanked the Baglioni for sending us off in style.

 

Go There

Baglioni Hotel London available from £145 per person per night. Price is based on two adults sharing a double room on a B&B basis and includes VAT. For booking and further information please visit www.baglionihotels.com or call 020 7368 5700

Book car hire at www.rhinocarhire.com or call 0845 508 9845

I stayed as a guest of the Baglioni Hotel, however, my views, as always are 100% my own.

 

 


29
Oct 12

Celebrity Hotel Review: Ten Manchester Street, London

Following on from an ultra-relaxing stay at luxury hotelThe Landmark London, Mommy Dearest and I nipped just a few streets away to sample the delights of a much smaller, but no less stylish, star-filled hotel in the city. Celebrity singers and firm friends, Kylie Minogue and Natalie Imbruglia have shared some girlie time together at the bijou Ten Manchester Street Hotel and we liked that idea, so decided to do the same.

Ten Manchester Street Hotel

The Lowdown

Ten Manchester Street Hotel is situated on a slice of prime London real estate, around the corner from the chic boutiques of Marylebone High Street, and walking distance to the West End, and couldn’t be in a better position for a girlie break in the city. And it’s everything a boutique hotel should be: low-key, luxurious, stylish and a little bit decadent. 45 guests rooms are spread over five floors, with the penthouse level being given over to the show-piece Grand Suite which boasts a separate living room furnished with cool Christopher Guy furniture and creamy marble bathroom loaded with Aveda products.

Junior Suite at Ten Manchester Street

All of the rooms are kitted out in a classy palette of brown, gold and cream with lots of glossy surfaces and fancy fabrics. The rooms aren’t large – even our junior suite was on the dinky side – but they are incredibly comfortable with statement chairs and sofas, dramatic hand-made mirrors and silky-yellow padded  headboards above beds swathed in Egyptian-cotton sheets with an off-the-chart thread count. Downstairs, the small black-marble clad reception leads to an intimate bar/lounge/restaurant and chic all-weather cigar terrace. It’s all very polished, as were our fellow guests.

 

The Highlights

Boutique hotels come with a expectation of personal service and Ten Manchester Street certainly excelled in that department. The reception and concierge staff were friendly and helpful, with everyone we passed from the cleaners to the bar staff offering a cheery nod and “Hello”. After noticing me snivelling miserably with a horrible head cold – my runny nose and freakishly-red eyes were probably a clue too – the concierge arranged for a nice big pot of hot water, honey and lemon to be sent to my room.  A lovely, thoughtful touch which I was incredibly grateful for and which, of course, meant they could do no wrong in my eyes from that point onwards!

Restaurant at Ten Manchester Street Hotel

Of course, a few sniffles weren’t going to stop Mum and I from making the most of our day out in London. The streets surrounding the hotel were brimming with pretty little boutiques, and nearby Selfridges made for the perfect spot for catching up with Auntie T for some champagne-fuelled chit-chat.  But by the end of the afternoon, the Beechams and bubbles combo was taking it’s toll and the only thing that was stopping me from collapsing into my super-sized invitingly white bed was the need for a good feed. Thankfully the dining room was a welcoming spot with the same cosseted feel as the rest of the hotel; all soft-lighting, dark brown and gold tones with statement furnishings like the Asian-inspired lacquer screen that separates the eating area from the swish little cocktail bar. We both settled on the steak and it arrived juicy and delicious-looking with a square-shaped stack of thick-cut chips. It was excellent. And so was desert, which inspired by our cake-in-bed event the night before, we asked to be sent to our room (I can see this becoming my favourite new hotel habit!).

It was easy to see why celebrities love this little hideaway, the atmosphere is warm, the location perfect for a post-shop drop and the staff make you feel like you’re staying over with friends – rather posh, stylish friends but friends nonetheless.

Go There

Ten Manchester Street, Tel +44 (0)207 3175 900; www.tenmanchesterstreethotel.com; Doubles from £169 


22
Aug 12

Celebrity Hotel Review: The Landmark London

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.

The Landmark London, built in 1899 it’s one of the last great Gothic revival railway hotels.

LUCKY STARS: Katy Perry, Keira Knightly, Jack Black,Justin Timberlake, Freddie Flintoff, Myleen Klass and the Manchester United football team.

THE LOWDOWN 

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.

The elegant North Entrance of the Landmark Hotel London

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.

The Landmark Suite

THE HIGHLIGHTS

The Winter Garden restaurant

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.

Indoor swimming pool at the Landmark, something of a rarity in London and a lovely spot for a few hours pre or post-spa lounging

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.

GO THERE

The Landmark London, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7631 8000; www.landmarklondon.co.uk; Double rooms from £250.

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