I'm just back from London, which looks stunning these days; following the Olympics it’s shining and cheerful. If you haven’t been, consider going back. While there, I visited the new London Edition hotel near Soho, a fun, eclectic part of the city with boutiques, bistros and Thai food places and outdoor markets. The British Museum is a short walk away, as is Regents Park. When I was there the hotel had literally just opened its doors; it has a beautiful large lobby with a bar, and there are plenty of places to sit and watch the world go by. Upstairs, the rooms have blonde wood floors and stark white bedding, with lots of natural sunlight. It’s Ian Schrager’s latest hotel; he opened it in conjunction with Marriott International. I’m sure it will be a hit with locals and travelers since when I was there for its opening it seemed as if it had always been on the London scene; everyone in its public areas seemed quite at home.
During my trip I stayed at The Savoy, right near Covent Garden. The hotel is extremely high end and its lobby bustles with locals and guests. It’s fun just to sit and watch everyone coming and going, you’ll get a real taste of London life here, as this is where residents of the city come to celebrate special occasions in the restaurants. Kaspar’s is the hotel’s new seafood dining option; I can fully recommend it and suggest requesting a seat that has a view of the River Thames. The Savoy also serves an excellent afternoon tea, which also brings in affluent guests. It’s a stunning setting, all under a glass cupola, truly worth going to have a look even if you don’t want to stay for tea. If you do go for tea (I actually making a reservation), you’ll want to dress up in your finest. You might instead opt for a drink at the snazzy Beaufort Bar, just across the way in the hotel. I have yet to do this but it’s on my bucket list. It’s extremely classy and sophisticated and in the evenings there’s always live piano music and sometimes a singer. A martini with my name on it is waiting for me there in my future.
For a full report on my stay at The Savoy last year, click here: http://www.luxurytraveladvisor.com/united-kingdom/savoy-london
Outside the hotel there’s theatre and shopping at Covent Garden where you can search for vintage and antique goods in the stalls or grab a coffee or glass of wine at one of the establishments. We happened upon a quartet playing Pachelbel Canon in D Major; it was a magical moment. The musicians were quite entertaining as they knew they were playing a true crowd favorite, and it was a fun London moment that I’ll remember for a long time.
Also, near The Savoy, which is located on the Strand, is a true gem of an arts institution that’s sometimes overlooked since London is a city of great museums. It’s Somerset House (www.somersethouse.org.uk), and within it is the Courtauld Gallery, filled with impressionist paintings, including Van Gogh's Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear. It’s really worth a visit even if you’re not staying in that part of the city. It’s also on the Strand. A fun surprise was that Somerset House hosted London’s Fashion Week, so it was exciting to see fashion editors and models all over the area for the few days we were there.
For a full report on my visit to Somerset House, click here: http://www.examiner.com/article/small-museum-london-is-a-must-see
While The Savoy is quite classical, I suggest going down the street for a drink or tea in the lobby of One Aldwych, and in the ME by Melia across the street. Both are a bit more contemporary in their offerings, and the ME is downright buzzing with a young crowd, who frequent its bars and restaurant.
For more on the ME London Hotel, click here: http://www.luxurytraveladvisor.com/england/me-london-hotel-open-september-1-8553