Posted by: Sonali Velinker Kamat on October 17, 2014
From Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and Hyde Park to Harrods, I have an alphabetical list of reasons to return to London at every given opportunity. Whether your interest is art, architecture, history or shopping, England’s capital city offers up something for everyone. If you crave cultural action, the theatre scene is buzzing, as are the museums and galleries. If you’re looking to satisfy your culinary cravings, every chef from Heston Blumenthal to Gordon Ramsay puts his best plate forward in this chic city.
LIVE IN LUXURY
There is nothing more exciting than living in the lap of luxury, while at a walking distance from London’s busiest shopping street. Check in to the five-star Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill for its incredible service, exceptional food and amazing location, just off West End. The 434-room hotel has a gorgeous green view of Portman Square gardens and its plush Regency Executive suites defy the London standard, with a generous offering of space in a city where the average hotel room can safely be described as mingy!
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SPLASH OUT, ALSO TRY
Waldorf Hilton, The Dorchester and Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, or soak up some genuine grandeur at the Langham, Claridge’s, The Ritz or the newly-restored Savoy.
SHOP IN STYLE
Before you hit Oxford Street, Soho or Bond Street — all a stone’s throw from the Hyatt Regency — pull on a comfortable pair of shoes and figure out where you can get a good reflexology massage because you will need it afterwards! From Selfridges to Harrods, heaven comes packaged in a shopping bag at any budget here. Head to John Lewis or House of Fraser for everything from furniture to fragrances; HMV for all your music needs and (if you want a few budget buys) Dorothy Perkins, River Island, Top Shop or H&M for high-street fashion. Of course that’s only just the tip of the iceberg if you consider the treats at Knightsbridge, Dover Street or Portobello Road Market over the weekend.
If you’re in need of a good strong cuppa after all that shopping, there is nothing like The Montagu’s award-winning themed afternoon tea service (also at The Churchill). There’s something blissful about a perfect scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream — and you can let your personal trainer deal with the damage later! You could also try the Italian fare at Locanda Locatelli, but we highly recommend indulging at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, over at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. The MO is also home to French food star Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud London, but it is Heston’s Meat Fruit — now more famous than ever courtesy ‘MasterChef Australia’ — that has us pining for a taste and pushing for a park-view table!
Heston Blumenthal and Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts spent years researching and exploring Britain’s gastronomic past to come up with the ‘Dinner’ menu, with recipes used for inspiration dating as far back as the Royal Courts of King Henry VIII. When I finally cut into their innocuous-looking mandarin starter to discover a divine chicken liver parfait inside, it made every second of the nine-hour flight to London worth it. Progressing from Powdered Duck Breast and Triple-Cooked Chips to a terrific Tipsy Cake, Dinner gave us the best lunch we’ve had in a long, long time!