If you’re looking to paint the town red while in London, check out these amazing and luxurious places you won’t want to miss!
London. It’s a city like no other. Fast, furious and fabulous, London offers the traveller anything and everything your heart desires and never fails to put on a show, come rain (yep, there’s plenty), hail or shine.
Offering the best of urban decadence, London is a rich girl’s playground, with a merry-go-round that you won’t want to get off (until you run out of money).
So, where to go? As a born and bred Londoner, here’s my pick of the 11 best luxury London experiences:
1) STAY: Conrad Hilton, London, St James
If it’s style and location you are looking for, Hilton’s five star Conrad London St James won’t disappoint. Set in the heart of London next to Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, this hotel is swish and glossy and my kind of place. A smart building, the entrance hall is contemporary in décor with an attention to detail that makes you feel swathed in luxury.
Not to mention the doormen, who literally cannot do enough for you. Check out their whistle for the nearest black cab and prepared to be impressed.
And if the stay is not enough to gush about, the Blue Boar restaurant will have you feeling truly indulged, with a decadent menu, uber classy leather-clad modern low-lit setting, and staff who think before you do. The chef has even reopened the kitchen for me on occasion (when lunch has finished), and of course I enjoyed a glass of champagne while I waited. This spot is spectacular for a girly stay or a romantic stay with your man.
2) COCKTAILS: The Polo Bar, The Westbury
With its Swarovski crystal fittings and custom Fendi detailing, The Polo Bar on Bond Street in Mayfair is in my opinion the best cocktail bar in London, with the most incredible cocktail menu I have ever come across. In fact, it has a special place in my heart, with a particularly amazing afternoon of decadence had here.
Specialising in infused G&T cocktails, with a choice of six infusions created by two of London’s top mixologists (such as Blue Lady Tea and Grapefruit Peel served with Mediterranean Tonic, or Rosebuds served with Elderflower Tonic). The bar offers all that a high-end cocktail bar should and more – such as world-class cocktail makers (who can pull together the very best cocktails at a moment’s notice – I speak from experience!). Friendly enthusiastic staff that cannot do enough for you, an extensive canapé menu with tasters that bring out the very best in your tipple and a classy clientele of locals (who love nothing more than a pink champagne after work).
I particularly love their signature cocktails – the Mayfair Gold and also the Pomegranate Deluxe, while my hubby enjoys their rum-based Greta Garbo. Don’t miss it and tell them I sent you!
3) PAMPER: Thai Square Spa
When to comes to escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour or so, you cannot beat a retreat to Thai Square Spa. Situated in Covent Garden, this little oasis is a secret hideaway for the darlings of London, masked by a fairly unassuming frontage. However, once you step inside you feel the Eastern charm of its surroundings impress upon you, encouraged by the underground lair of twinkly candlelight and soft Thai melodies.
Recline in your robe on your lounger in the relaxation area as you await your massage and let your mind recalibrate.
Run by a team of genuine Thai staff, the commitment to service is second to none. Having enjoyed many massages around the world, this is my favourite when in London.
4) AFTERNOON TEA: The Langham
When it comes to afternoon tea, The Langham is the place to be. Famed as the spot where the tradition of afternoon tea was born over 140 years ago, The Langham has it all.
With the most beautiful Victorian surrounds and a stunning tea room buzzing with activity and atmosphere, you will find yourself transported to another era of high society, where the most perfect teas, canapés, cakes and finger sandwiches are served on Wedgewood fine bone china to match.
Throw in a grand piano and an exuberant pianist who plays requests, and you have the most beautiful afternoon at your fingertips.
5) STAY: The Athenaeum Hotel
The oldie-world charm of this boutique five-star hotel set in the glitz of Mayfair, just up the road from The Ritz, is enchanting. In fact, The Athenaeum is one of my favourite private hotels, with a quirky historic character and a sense that nothing is too much trouble. Very English in feel and design, the hotel is like a home-from-home and equally as welcoming. With a plethora of celebrity guests including Kim Kardashian, Joan Collins, and the late Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.
The Athenaeum is a jewel for anyone who loves class and luxury. And don’t miss their smoked salmon buffet breakfast, it’s the perfect start to the day.
6) CHAMPAGNE: Vertigo 42
If it’s a Champagne sunset with a view you are after, you can’t get much better (or more intimate) than Vertigo 42.
Known as London’s highest Champagne bar, with every table boasting a window seat (together with a bird’s eye view of the sprawling iconic landscape), it truly is a spectacular place to spy on the city as the golden glow of the day disappears into night and the urban metropolis comes alive.
7) DINE: The Northall, Corinthia Hotel
For an impressive dinner, The Northall at The Corinthia Hotel is top of its class. With lux surroundings consisting of oversized windows, super-high ceilings, high-end shiny finishes, plush floors, marble in abundance and flowers on every corner, The Corinthia Hotel certainly has that ‘wow’ factor that stays with you even after you have left.
Beautiful in stature and extensive in its menu (led by Executive Head Chef Garry Hollihead), The Northall delivers the most sensational of dishes, including all my favourites Porthilly Rock Oysters (the largest I have ever eaten), Grilled Native Lobster and Beef Steak Tartare, with a sommelier who will match your wines to each course at your whim. Problem is, you’ll never want to eat anywhere else.
8) Whisky and cheese tasting: The Capital Bar
For all those who love whisky, or for those who don’t but want a unique British experience, don’t hesitate to visit the ever-charming Cesar at The Capital, Knightsbridge and the most knowledgeable man on the planet about whisky.
Offering the most incredible one-to-one whisky and cheese master classes at this classic five star boutique hotel next to Harrods, it is a luxury London experience not to be missed. Cesar has the accolade of being the youngest ever UK Keeper of the Quaich no less (a society at the heart of the Scotch Whisky industry) and oozes charm in abundance.
Girls, this would make a great surprise gift for the boys in your life. I took my dad and he loved it (as did I). It’s an experience I won’t forget.
9) DINE: The Grill, The Dorchester
Total decadence on a plate is the only way of describing lunch at The Dorchester, the ambience alone enough to make you feel like a superstar.
The ultimate in Englishness, The Grill at The Dorchester is an experience to be remembered, with a sense of class that can only be found in such an iconic British institution.
With an incredible menu on offer, including the restaurant’s signature Blue Lobster Chowder, and an extensive selection of wines (again with your own personal sommelier who is happy to educate on the wines of choice), this is fine dining at its best.
10) VIEW: London Eye
There is only one way to see London in style, and that is via a London Eye Champagne Flight.
Don’t worry, you won’t be taking off, this is the name affectionately given to the VIP London Eye Experience, which includes priority boarding, a glass of bubbles and a more secluded clientele.
A thrilling way to spend an hour, it’s the ideal pre-cursor to lunch.
11) DINE: TiNG, Shangri-La, The Shard
With 360-degree views over London, including St Paul’s Cathedral, The City of London, The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, it’s worth taking the lift 68 floors up to the viewing gallery at the very top of The Shard first, before descending to eat at TiNG.
With the sun streaming in through the window as you dine with London below, you’ll certainly feel rather A-List, with the lavish surroundings and opulent ambience making it a meal to remember. Prepare to feel rather special.
Have you been to London recently? Please share any of your special places in the comments below.