London Lowdown

The Goring Hotel’s Room No. 78,

 

 

Visitors to London who want to try something new (or at least resplendently remodeled) will get a kick out of the Goring Hotel, which is celebrating its centenary this year. Through the years, it has remained one of the largest privately owned five-star hotels in the world (it has always been run by a member of the Goring family; currently at the helm is Jeremy Goring, the fourth generation to manage the hotel).

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Six of the hotel’s sweetest rooms were recently remodeled with handmade silk wallpaper—as such, the rooms are referred to as the Gainsborough Silk Rooms. All of these rooms overlook the property’s popular gardens (the largest private gardens in London, we hear, and a great spot for a destination wedding), and give off a sense of luxury that is never overwhelming—just perfectly comfortable. (The rubber duckies in the marble bathrooms are a good indicator of the mix of fashion and whimsy.) We hear that Suite No. 52, a Belgravia One Bedroom Suite designed by Nina Campbell (she has tailored homes for the Duke and Duchess of York, as well as Rod Stewart), is one of the best picks in the hotel, with a separate bedroom and sitting room and views over Beeston Place.

The hotel is a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and, as such, was a popular hangout for the Queen Mum. Other members of the Royal Family too have been among the guests here, as has Lady Margaret Thatcher, presidents and—yes—HM The Queen herself.

Ask Head Concierge John Andrews ([email protected]; 011-44-20-7396-9000) to arrange a private two- or four-horse drawn carriage tour around central London, or perhaps charter an original Dunkirk boat (Aberdonia) for a ride on the Thames with a picnic lunch and Champagne. Andrews can also arrange exclusive private Verger tours of Westminster Abbey. And, of course, all of these tours would be arranged in the utmost of style: Guests traveling around town can request a chauffeur-driven S-Class Mercedes or Bentley Arnage.

Note: The hotel doesn’t have its own spa, but guests have complimentary access to the Victoria’s LA Fitness Club, a three-minute walk away, which has all the features of a spa, including massages.

Luxury travel advisors should contact Managing Director David Morgan-Hewitt ([email protected]; 011-44-20-7396-9000) for details.

For a newer experience, The Arch London is a hot new hotel that opened in January; it’s a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Named after the nearby London landmark to the south, the hotel is an 82-bedroom townhouse on Great Cumberland Place (two blocks from Hyde Park, and walking distance to the best shopping in the city!) built inside seven Georgian Grade II-listed buildings and two mews houses.

The hotel’s rooms have funky names that evoke classic telephone numbers: For example, their most popular suite is ABBey 222, a Junior Courtyard Suite, and the best, we are told, CHANcery 242 and JUNiper 586. All of the rooms face either the mews or the townhouses, offering genuine London vistas. Note: Pet lovers will appreciate The Arch London’s pet-friendly policy.

Playing further on the hotel’s phone fetish, the hotel’s restaurant sounds like a phone number. HUNter 486 (named after the 1950s district dialing code for the Marylebone neighborhood) serves breakfast, lunch, dinner (try the gravlax) and a decadent Afternoon Tea.

Theo Dubois, head concierge at the Arch, can arrange for just about any type of unique experience—past accomplishments include booking a magician for an event in a guest room, looking for spy shops in the middle of town and finding out a place for a guest to go fly-fishing.

Like the Goring, The Arch London does not have a dedicated spa, but does have a full gym that includes Technogym equipment and a Power Plates machine. Cool Touch: Guests can request personal trainers and yoga instructors.

Luxury travel advisors can contact General Manager Beccy Gunn ([email protected]; 011-44-20-7724-4700) for any special requests.

Duchesses at Dukes

Ladies on the go will certainly appreciate the new Duchess Rooms at Dukes London, which are designed just for women. Whether traveling on their own or with friends, guests of these rooms will be escorted in by a female room attendant, who will handle all room service and housekeeping requirements. Anyone who has ever wandered from spot to spot in a hotel room will appreciate having the makeup mirror, hair dryer and styling accessories all within easy reach of the dressing tables. Fresh flowers and a complimentary fruit bowl are in every room, and a selection of glossy magazines is available. Nice Touch: Female guests dining alone can get a table in a quiet corner of the dining room so that they won’t feel “on display.”

As an idea of what ladies staying at Dukes can enjoy, here’s an exciting excursion that was created for an American mother and daughter who recently visited the hotel.

 

The Arch London’s ABBey 222 Suite
The Arch London’s ABBey 222 Suite, one of four suites at the hotel, has a private decked courtyard.

 

Head concierge Ian Steiger arranged a chauffer-driven car pick up from Heathrow airport with a lady driver. After checking into the hotel, Champagne, strawberries and chocolates were delivered to their room.

Once they were settled, the ladies went on a shopping run to some hidden boutiques as well as enjoying some personal shopping in Harrods. They came back to the hotel for a late-afternoon tea in the drawing room before heading off for an evening at the theater.

On the following day the ladies visited the Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts—with VIP tickets, of course, so there was no need to wait in line. They enjoyed lunch at Caprice, then back to the hotel for an afternoon of pampering in the health club. That evening, they enjoyed a private wine tasting at Berry Bros. & RuddBritain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant.

 

The Princes Arcade
The Princes Arcade has a host of high-end shops and is near the Piccadilly Arcade.

 

The next day, the ladies traveled by private car to Covent Garden, then visited Spencer House—conveniently located around the corner from the hotel!

Need a plan on how to spend a day in London? Check out www.luxuryta.com/londonin24 for the perfect agenda.

The Regent Suite at the Langham London

Less than a year after The Langham London’s multimillion-dollar renovation, the hotel is building a second presidential suite—The Regent Suite—and upgrading 25 additional hotel suites. (Those afraid of clashing styles need not worry; the project is being helmed by the same design team that oversaw the hotel’s 2009 refurbishment.)

The Regent Suite, which will be unveiled this month and is named after The Prince Regent, who became King George IV, sits above the hotel’s main entrance, with large bay windows and views down Portland Place to Regent’s Park. The 1,785-square-foot suite has two bedrooms (each with its own private sitting room) and a private salon that can be adapted into a third sitting room, dining room, or boardroom. Residents of the new suite will also receive a 24-hour personal butler and access to the Style Service at Liberty.

Bespoke Touch: A pre-arrival menu from the personal butler will enhance guest stays with options like personal exercise equipment, private in-suite dining, nanny services, exclusive casino membership and private chauffeur services.

Luxury travel advisors should contact Managing Director Katie Benson ([email protected]) with questions.

 

The Regent Suite
The Regent Suite is atop Langham’s main entrance and has views down Portland Place.

 

Insider Insight: Shopping

London is, of course, one of the best shopping cities in the world, with unique boutiques in every district. Kristina Lukovnikova, senior operations executive of The Noteworthy Group helps organize tours—especially walking tours—of some of the city’s most famous shopping spots (think Bond Street in central London) and the up-and-coming areas.

For those interested in the big names, Lukovnikova recommends a walking tour that goes from Bond Street to the West End with stops in Mayfair (plenty of time to check out the latest from Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.)

But for those out to discover, Lukovnikova has a special tour of the East End, which, she says, is home to lots of up-and-coming designers and artists with plenty of boutique shops. “Most people, when they come to London, don’t know about the East End,” Lukovnikova says. “We can obviously then get clients into specific boutiques, and have private/VIP closed-to-public arrangements, too. We usually adapt to clients’ specific interests,” she adds, referring to the guest’s taste in clothing, designers or shopping area. “Once we get the particular inquiry, we tailor-make it.” For those interested in other kinds of shopping, Noteworthy can also arrange antique or art shopping tours.

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