In December I visited London prior to attending ILTM in Cannes and couldn’t wait to check into my home away from home, the still “red hot” Soho Hotel. My good friend Craig Markham, Marketing and Public Relations Director at Firmdale always looks after my clients personally when they are in residence at any of their fabulous properties. The luxury and refined discreet service Firmdale are famous for keeps me & my clients returning.
Number Sixteen, The Haymarket , Covent Garden Hotel, Charlotte Street Hotel , The Knightsbridge & the Crosby Street Hotel in New York are all part of the fabulous Firmdale collection of hotels. They are also opening the Dorset Square Hotel in London at the end of May, followed by the Ham Yard project in Soho in 2013 and a further property in New York in 2014.
Its all go, go, go for Tim and Kit Kemp the owners of Firmdale and the undisputed King and Queen of the international boutique hotel business.
Kit as Firmdale’s Design Director is responsible for developing the distinctively modern, quintessentially English style for the interiors of all the properties. Check-in and experience them, they are rooms like no others, I promise you will love them. Her rooms are perfect with everything right where you need it (they have the best minibars and blow dryers standard in ALL of their properties!)
I constantly rate their rooms as the best in the world with the most comfortable beds, and “room to move” bathrooms – nothing is more annoying than those hotel bathrooms that have nowhere to place all those recently purchased lotions & potions we collect when travelling abroad.
Number Sixteen has always been my personal favorite as the location in South Kensington suits me perfectly, but I also hold The Haymarket and The Soho Hotel dear. I will help you decide which one would suit you best as I have stayed in all but the Charlotte Street Hotel… I have added this to my list for 2012!
I was also lucky enough to experience the luxury of The Corinthia London for two nights. The Corinthia London, a graceful and historic hotel is a fine example of breathtaking glamour, the light in that lobby is amazing and you can’t help but feel glamorous.
My Executive King room was immaculate, luxurious and thanks to Kathrin King, Assistant Director of Sales I was assigned a room with the biggest walk in closet I have ever seen, I simply had to unpack the lot!
Their bathrooms are beautiful and big, no shortage of lotion storage here and wait till you see their spa, the biggest and most luxurious in London, it’s a destination in itself! ESPA Life at Corinthia is without dispute London’s most exclusive and most luxurious spa.
The other new hotel I discovered on this visit was The Arch London.
Situated near Marble Arch, an area I am not familiar with, I enjoyed the hotel and loved the sleek rooms , thoughtful complimentary soft drinks mini bar (including your own personal Nespresso Machine) and modern bathroom – I even watched MTV very loudly while I bathed! Beyonce looked so cool under waterproof glass at the end of my bath! Rafi Bejerano, Director at the Arch Hotel and Grant Powell the Aussie GM helped make my stay flawless and fabulous.
That night I attended the London Times Reader’s Travel Awards as the date of the fabulous Chrissie Lincoln, the Regional Sales Manager of Aman Resorts Indonesia, who was in town to collect the Award of Best Worldwide Resort Hotel won by the fabulous Amanpuri, Phuket (Amanpuri is also on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 – how can you not love this hotel group??). After the awards we headed back to the The Arch to enjoy some of the best food I have eaten in London at their restaurant HUNter 786 , it was the funniest night and the food was superb.
A must visit restaurant right now is our own Aussie, Bill Granger’s new London outpost Granger & Co in Notting Hill, on the Sunday I lunched with friends from Australia and Italy , we shared the Semolina-Crusted Calamari with Lemon, Parsley, Green Beans & Fennel then I enjoyed the Parmesan Crumbed Chicken Schnitzel with Spicy Slaw, all washed down with delicious Veuve Cliquot and ended with us all sharing the Ricotta Hot Cakes with Fresh Banana and Honeycomb Butter. Well done boys, we ate the lot!
Of course we didn’t stop there, we wandered Notting Hill and couldn’t resist a stop at Ottolenghi where we picked up the most delicious Pumpkin Pies. Martha, I thought of you!
Don’t miss it.
Oh and Orlebar Brown is next door for those tailored designer swim shorts they do so well (in all the right colours, cut and lengths!) and I will be sporting more than one pair when I hit the Maldives in March!
*This trip I also dined at Polpetto in Soho, da Polpo ,a casual Osteria in the heart of Covent Garden, Brasserie Max at the Covent Garden Hotel & enjoyed drinks at The Savoy in the American Bar with the very fabulous Brendan Hearity, Marketing Manager of UGG Australia
London, I will be back and you are at the top of my favorite cities list. I love the food, the people, of course the hotels… and if the sun shines you can have it all!