Fish & Chips
Fish & Chips
Good day, mate!
Good day, mate!
Keep calm and carry on (my favorite!)
Mind the gap!
Not my cup of tea
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
West End Theatre District
West End Theatre District
When you hear these words/phrases, what comes to mind?
The TODAY show gave me a little taste of European travel this morning! With the 2012 Summer Olympics underway, the media has been riding on a full-blown London frenzy (who can blame them?), offering segments on everything from its history, to British pop culture (i.e. Beatles, James Bond), to quintessential English pubs, to traditional British cuisine, to double-decker bus tours, to royal family sightings/drama, to strolls through famous antique/shopping markets, to my recent favorite...On this morning's NBC TODAY show, Nilou Motamed from Travel + Leisure introduced us to six of London's most "charming and intimate" boutique hotels, in fabulous locations that make you "feel at home". (segment link provided below)
I fell in love with the charm, character, history, and British quirkiness of these six hotels. In addition to the photos presented of their dynamic interiors, from traditional to modern, to an eclectic mix, I loved Motamed's claim that these luxury boutique hotels are even for the budget-minded traveler. All six are located in various prime London neighborhoods, and have rooms with relatively reasonable rates (many starting from approx $220/night), in contrast to the typically pricey travel accommodations in this European hot spot.
After traveling all over Europe with family, friends, or my college study abroad program, I have shared amazing memories and experiences, regardless of the sparse vs. luxurious factor of accommodations. Granted, all of these boutique hotels look like uber-luxurious castles compared to the budget-friendly places we stayed during my college adventures, (i.e. youth hostels, 1 or 2-star hotels, etc.)
Shortly after college, while visiting London with my family, we rented a flat that was certainly superior to the bare-bone lodgings of my backpacking trips, but not exactly the Ritz. It was spacious, charming, and situated in a cute/quaint neighborhood, which provided for an authentic/local feel. We had a ball visiting all of the typical requisite sites: The British Museum, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, riding horses through Hyde Park, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, boatrides down Thames River, 'punting' on the Cam (Cambridge), Covent Garden, Liberty shopping center, Harrods, "The Original London (doubledecker bus) Sightseeing Tour", Rules (London's oldest restaurant), The Savoy Hotel, various West End theatre shows, etc. I have always been a believer that there is so much to see and do while traveling, that the hotel itself is rather secondary. Just give me a safe, clean, peaceful hotel in a good location, and I am a happy traveler!
Nevertheless, as a lover of interesting/unique/quirky interior design and London in general, I wish I could provide commentary, based on my own visits to these unique, featured hotels. Yet, I am limited to providing excerpts from their websites. Hopefully, I will have a chance to make a return visit to London someday, and perhaps stay in one of these cute little hotels!
After watching this segment on the Today Show, I decided to collect some cool photos and notes about these six hotels, as obtained from their respective websites.
20 Nevern Square
According to website...http://www.20nevernsquare.com/
"Situated in a serene garden square, Twenty Nevern Square is a boutique hotel in West London, featuring 20 beautifully designed rooms. The rooms at this four star luxury London Hotel are defined by an attractive mix of European and Oriental influences, with hand carved furniture in all rooms."
Main House in Notting Hill
According to website...http://www.themainhouse.co.uk/
"The Main House is designed to suit the discerning taste of the independent traveller, an elegant home from home.
Each beautifully appointed suite occupies an entire floor of a period Victorian house, simply and stylishly furnished with antiques. All have private bathrooms, twin or superking beds, private number cell phone with answer service and wireless internet connection, TV and video. Complimentary newspaper with morning coffee or tea is brought to the room or enjoyed on the balcony. Organic continental breakfast or full English breakfast also available.
Notting Hill, regarded by many as London’s most interesting place to live, is in the heart of the city and the epicentre of bohemian London chic.
The Main House is a minute from the world famous Portobello Road, antique markets, designer shops and art galleries. Some of the most popular London night places are on the doorstep including restaurants, cinemas, theatre, bars and clubs.
Surrounded by famous parks with Kensington Palace Gardens, the Albert Hall and the museums within walking distance, the area is extremely well served by transport: buses, tube, Paddington Station (Heathrow 15 minutes)."
Dean Street Townhouse in Soho
According to website...http://www.deanstreettownhouse.com/
"Dean Street Townhouse is a 39 bedroom hotel and all-day dining room, located in the thick of buzzing Soho, in central London. The dining room is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
The four-storey Georgian townhouse, once home to the Gargoyle Club, is rich in both its historic past and its Georgian architecture.
Located in the thick of London’s Soho, Dean Street Townhouse is a thirty-nine bedroom hotel and all-day dining room, rich in both it’s historic past and architecture.
Numbers 69 and 70 Dean Street were built in 1732-1735 by John Meard, a carpenter, on land leased from the Pitt estate. Throughout the eighteenth century, the buildings were occupied by aristocratic families, and Soho itself was thriving with a community of traders, artists and professionals. Dean Street became somewhat of a cosmopolitan centre, home to a number of sculptors, architects and artists of note – William Hogarth, for one.
In 1901, both buildings were drastically remodelled and converted to industrial premises. In 1928, the socialite aristocrat David Tennant founded the Gargoyle club on the top floors of number 69, a socially radical club and well-known hangout of politicians, cosmopolitan intellectuals and artists. Consisting of a vast ballroom, bar, coffee room and drawing room, the Gargoyle dripped with decadence and lavish interiors, some by Henri Matisse. Regulars included Fred Astaire, though the popularity of the club began to dwindle by the mid 1950s – the in-crowd inevitably moved on to pastures new. The club went into decline, becoming a drinking den frequented by artists such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. By the 1970s, a theatre had been added to the top floor and revue shows were staged, though this could not keep the club afloat. The Gargoyle closed its doors in the late 1970s, and the buildings were listed Grade II in 1978."
According to website...http://www.hazlittshotel.com/
"At Hazlitt’s our philosophy is simple. We have set out to create the kind of accommodation we ourselves would love to find in the heart of one of the World’s great cities. Civilised surroundings; old fashioned hospitality; friendly efficient service; a location away from the roar of traffic, but within a very short walk of the most important attractions.
The hotel occupies a group of historic Georgian houses in Frith Street, off Soho Square. In 1718 there were no modern conveniences, but we have updated the plumbing, installed bathrooms and replaced most of the candles with electricity."
The Rookery (sister hotel to Hazlitt)
According to website...http://www.rookeryhotel.com/rookery/
"The Rookery is located in the fashionable area of Clerkenwell, between the West End and London’s central business district, known as The City. It is like Soho in the east, with bustling street life and a plethora of fascinating places to eat and drink.
Quietly located a short distance from the Barbican, St Paul’s, Holborn and The Tate Modern, the only remaining early houses in St Peter’s Lane have been repaired and extended to create our delightful small hotel. Inside, the Rookery is all period charm. Polished wood panelling, stone flagged floors, open fires and genuine antique furniture give the place a warm, homely atmosphere – more private club than hotel."
Knightsbridge Hotel (my fav!)
According to website...http://www.firmdalehotels.com/london/knightsbridge-hotel
"On a quiet leafy street not far from Harrods and Harvey Nichols, designer Kit Kemp has added another chic bauble to her collection of London luxury properties. As admirers of Kemp's classically British aesthetic well know, she pays careful attention to each room, filling it with modern English style featuring clean neutrals and bold colors. In this eponymous Knightsbridge gem, the drawing room, library, and lobby are adorned with original works by significant British artists. Art lovers will adore the Carol Sinclair sculpture that rises like stalagmites from the floor. But the art does not overshadow Kemp's signature harmonious mixture of patterns, fabrics, and furniture styles. Setting this location apart from her other hotels are the African sculptures and fabrics, mixed with tasseled curtains and the blue neon rungs of a ladder in the library, which add adventuresome touches to the stately interior. First-floor guests gaze through floor-to-ceiling windows onto one of London's most charming areas, while the upper floors reveal tantalizing glimpses of Harrods' rooftops. Although the guestrooms' cozy cushions and array of pretty fabrics could be considered quaint, the jazzy contrast of stripes, florals, and geometric shapes injects a thrilling jolt of modernity into their comforting charm. Visit Made by Originals to meet the creative spirits behind this hotel.
LOCATION OF KNIGHTSBRIDGE HOTEL
The Knightsbridge Hotel is situated in the heart of Knightsbridge. Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the international designer stores of Sloane Street and Brompton Cross are a minutes walk away, as well as the museums of South Kensington - Victoria & Albert, Natural History and the Science Museums."
Milestone Hotel in Kensington
According to website...http://www.milestonehotel.com/
"You know The Milestone is different from the moment you arrive. Your butler will take you on a tour of the hotel's facilities, show you around your room, hand you a complimentary glass of champagne (or any other drink of your choice), and offer to unpack for you. Nothing is too much trouble: this is British warmth, hospitality, and service at its most engaging. At The Milestone, we take care of your every wish, which is why we retain two staff for every guest.
The facilities in this romantic 5-star hotel are exceptional too. You can dine in Cheneston's Restaurant, unwind in the Stables Bar, sip cocktails in the Conservatory, or take tea by the fire in the Lounge. There's a heated resistance pool, a gym, a sauna, and a chauffeur-driven Bentley to whisk you to the city sights.
Each of our deluxe guest rooms, luxurious suites, and long-stay apartments has been individually designed and decorated. The colours are rich and warm, there are custom-made fabrics, antique furnishings, and numerous original artworks. Many rooms and suites have magnificent views over Kensington Gardens; all are filled with character and distinctive one-of-a-kind features.
Guests return to The Milestone time after time. They love our mood of relaxed friendliness, our impeccable service, the thoughtful touches and surprise treats at turndown, the readiness with which we take in their pets, and the time we take to make their children feel at home."