Posts Tagged: London Hotels


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 


21
Jun 11

The Dorchester: Home to More Stars than the Milky Way!


If The Dorchester was a drink it would definitely be champagne – it’s effervescent, exclusive and ever so much fun! Since its opening in 1931, The Dorchester has been one of the most desirable places in the world to stay achieving legendary status for its exemplary facilities, immaculate service and outstanding dining.  During its eighty-year history, royalty, world leaders, celebrities, musicians and cultural luminaries have graced The Dorchester with their presence so imagine my delight when a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to take a peek behind its renowned revolving door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAR DESTINATION

The Dorchester has been an essential stop for the high-profiled and well-heeled for nearly a century. From its opening in the 1930s which attracted eminent artists like Cecil Beaton, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward, to the war years when General Eisenhower set up headquarters alongside Winston Churchill, to sensational 1960s Jet Set that included Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, to the superstars of the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties, every celebrity worth their salt has been spotted at The Dorchester. Recent Dorchester darlings include Ben Stiller, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Elton John, and Lady Gaga to name just a few.

 

STAR SANCTUARY

As the doorman, in his heavy gold-braided green coat, escorted me into the lavish lobby of The Dorchester I felt like I had made it! The entrance is suitably dramatic for the establishment’s celebrated patrons; reminiscent of a spectacular stage set, the marble-clad lobby resembles a proscenium arch with two splendid reception desks at its wings. Its players are provided in the form of an unending stream of models and yummy Mayfair mummies, international industrialist and suited-and-booted businessmen. The Dorchester runs as smoothly as the well-oiled Bentleys that sit outside: this is the kind of place where if Britney wants a hundred Marilyn Monroe DVDs and a selection of “chick lit”, they will be carefully arranged in her bookcase, or if J-Lo turns up with sixty-six suitcases and insists on Jo Malone candles, suitable stowage will be found and the room will undoubtedly reek of Lime Basil & Mandarin. The Dorchester is, of course, much too discreet to divulge these star secrets but a quick search on the internet provides ample confidential celebrity demands that have been met with ease by the world’s most agreeable hotel.

 

STAR TREATMENT

Celebrity, and non-celebrity, guests residing at The Dorchester can expect round-the-clock pleasure and delight. I was treated to some Star Treatment in the hotel’s beautiful Belgravia Suite. Favoured by many celebrated guests, these suites overlook Park Lane and Hyde Park and are opulently decorated in traditional yet timeless English fashion. Rich wood panelling complements the plush furnishings, elegant fireplace and oriental rugs in the sitting room, and a four-poster bed and Italian marble bathroom, boasting London’s deepest tub and a range of bespoke Floris amenities, combine to provide a truly A-list experience. Cosseted amidst such luxury it was difficult to leave my sumptuous surroundings and obvious why Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell madly in love in the hotel’s Harlequin Suite. But duty called, so after a quick plunge in the bathtub it was time for tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The restaurants and bars are in a class of their own, and dining at The Dorchester is on every icons itinerary. Whether it be taking afternoon tea in The Promenade, hanging with the celebs at Tang, or enjoying some fancy French cuisine at the booked-months-in-advance Alain Ducasse, there’s an abundance of taste bud titillation on offer. We opted for a champagne-fuelled feast at The Grill and, even though my Seventies-inspired jumpsuit clashed badly with the tartan-filled interiors, being a Glasgow girl originally I loved the quirky design, which looked like it had been realised by the love child of Vivienne Westwood and Braveheart! Service was, as expected, impeccable and refreshingly fun, and the adventurous menu proved to be an absolute joy.

 

The Spa at The Dorchester is definitely one of the most glamorous on the planet and has devotees that include Sophie Dahl, Elle Macpherson and Vanessa Hudgens. I was utterly seduced by The Spa’s unashamedly opulent, navy and ivory, Art Deco inspired decor and loved the gorgeous Spatisserie where it is the custom for guests to enjoy champagne, cakes and cocktails pre and post-treatment. The sublime spa space features a show-stopping chandelier of 72,000 South Pacific white pearls, decadent blue velvet day beds and lashings of lilies – I wouldn’t have been surprised if Greta Garbo had swanned out of one of the nine treatment rooms. The Spa has teamed up with some of the world’s leading beauty practitioners, from the supreme facialist Vaishaly to celeb-favourite and anti-aging specialist Carol Joy London, to Aromatherapy Associates and Kerstin Florian, to offer the ultimate beauty experience. A suite for manicures and pedicures is also available, as is hairdresser to the stars, Royston Blythe.

 

 

 

STAR STYLE

I had some serious handbag envy going on during my visit! A glambag is de rigueur at The Dorchester so grab a Great British design like this cute clutch from Nadia Minkoff to garner some green-eyed glances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dorchester: Park Lane, London W1 (020 7629 8888; www.thedorchester.com). Doubles from £265

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