Have a client traveling throughout England? The concierge at Milestone Hotel and Apartments (www.redcarnationhotels.com) can arrange for meet-and-greet transportation service anywhere in the country. Head Concierge Peter Davies has also set up three-month excursions throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales for regular guests.
At the Milestone, all of the Kensington Gardens Suites (107), The Prince Albert Suite (106), The Club Suite (108) and Park Queens & Kings have panoramic views of Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Most popular are the Deluxe Studios, with spacious living quarters and separate guest rooms. Families should select one of the two-bedroom apartments (as in full kitchens, washer and dryer). Butler service is provided specifically for suites and apartments (but if you ask, it can be arranged for guest rooms, too.)
With just one treatment room, the new spa should be booked ahead of time. Book the cozy Chenestons Restaurant (now offering a new Sunday Roast Menu) at least a week out to avoid disappointment. The Milestone also has a Bentley available for excursions; personal shoppers can also be provided. General Manager Christine Hodder ([email protected]; 44 (0) 20 7917 1000) prefers to be contacted directly when agents are sending VIPs.
At the Langham Hotel, London (www.langhamhotels.com), the new Infinity Suite is the main event. With a very British drawing room, two bedrooms (the Master has a dressing room), two bathrooms and a kitchen, reserving the suite requires a phone call direct to the hotel. Not booking this lavish suite? A variety of room styles on floors two through six in the front of the building have excellent views of Regents Park.
The hotel’s Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa, managed by Femme Findlay (44 (0) 20 7973 7550; [email protected]) has seven treatment rooms: Agents can book treatments (including the “Travel Reviver”) six weeks out. Request masseuses Yin Li, Kathleen Turner and Mika Matsubara.
Be sure to reserve Sunday Brunch at Memories restaurant at least a week ahead. Contact Head Concierge Rashid Ali for special requests and be sure to let Managing Director Duncan Palmer know when your VIP is arriving.
For the ultimate British experience, look no further than The Ritz (www.theritzlondon.com), where the best accommodation is the two-bedroom Berkeley Suite (a separate hall with cloakroom, dining area for up to 10 and a kitchenette make entertaining easy). Junior Suites are the most popular at The Ritz, ideal for two adults and two children. For groups of five, two-bedroom suites are more suitable. Most suites at the hotel look out at Green Park; Junior Suites overlook Piccadilly.
There’s no spa here, but a “ladies’ and gentlemen’s hairdressing salon” provides manicure and pedicure services by appointment. Knowing your way around The Ritz’s dining options is key. The Ritz Restaurant is a London staple; reservations are recommended. Agents: Advise your clients that a formal dress code of jacket and tie is strictly observed.
High tea is another story. Hosted at The Palm Court, this is the ultimate experience for first-timers to London. Reservations are essential: Book six to eight weeks in advance.
General Manager Stephen Boxall is “delighted” when travel agents contact him directly. Challenge Head Concierge Michael de Cozar and his staff to secure the most exclusive restaurant tables and theater bookings in London.
Teatime is also a mainstay at The Dorchester (www.dorchesterhotel.com). Book Sunday lunches two weeks in advance. The five Roof Garden Suites on the top floors sell at premium rates. The Oliver Messel Suite and The Terrace both have two bedrooms, and the Seri and Suri Begawan Suite can be combined to make a four-bedroom suite, an ideal option for those seeking extreme privacy. We suggest the Dorchester Suites, Park Suites and Front Suites for views over Hyde Park.
The spa, overseen by Wayne Duberley, has nine rooms. Request therapist Christine Ambrose, who is always in high demand. Contact Head Concierge Paul Pugh for special requests; the hotel is managed by Christopher Cowdray.
Claridge’s (www.claridges.co.uk) has a posh new Dom Perignon Afternoon Tea. Served from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, reservations are essential (call 44 (0) 20 7409 6307). Model Kate Moss favors this hotel, where it can be plain difficult to get a dining reservation at Gordon Ramsay (44 (0)20 7499 0099; [email protected]) on weekends, so book weeks out.
At Claridge’s, rooms on the seventh floor offer the best views. Multiple-bedroom suites throughout the hotel can be easily created for families and entourages, thanks to a series of internal corridors running between rooms. The hotel’s five premium suites provide butler service.
A Special Services Team serves as a liaison for travel agents sending VIPs.
Concierge Thomas Keatley can arrange private flights and boats for clients. For a special touch, request a chauffer-driven Bentley from the hotel’s own fleet of cars, which also offers plenty of BMWs.
The spa, managed by Kelly Ashdown, has three treatment rooms; book specific time slots to avoid disappointment. Anika Grainger and Karen Street are most requested for massages; Suk Yee is particularly requested for waxing, including Brazilian-style.
General Manager Michael Hoffmann is happy to be contacted when a VIP is arriving.
A guest floor manager on each floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (www.mandarinoriental.com) is on hand to unpack or provide concierge services. For those who must have a view of Hyde Park, reserve one of the hotel’s 23 suites (book by phone, not GDS). If these are sold out, a number of small rooms offer the same vista. Alternately, Mandarin Junior Suites at the hotel, managed by Liam Lambert, have views of Knightsbridge. The Royal Suite has a full-length terrace overlooking Hyde Park, perfect for viewing the daily procession of the Royal Household Cavalry en route to Buckingham Palace.
The eight-room spa, run by Helen Norm ([email protected]; 44 (0) 20 838 9888), is a destination unto itself. Clients here book time, not treatments, so be sure to consult ahead of time. Book prior to arrival to ensure a slot in the schedule. Note: Agents with clients staying at other London hotels can book appointments here, but you must reserve a minimum two-hour treatment for them.
Head Concierge Gerard Daverat has purchased and shipped a London telephone box to the United States for a client, and has also filled a room with 5,000 yellow roses with just one hour’s notice.
Brown’s Hotel (www.roccofortehotels.com) reopens in July. Now owned by Rocco Forte Hotels, the hotel has undergone a $35-million restoration. All 12 suites here will have working fireplaces. The Grill will be managed by former VIPs at the Savoy Grill; watch for high tea to become a “must” again for London locals.
The famed Savoy (www.fairmont.com) is now managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts with Mark Huntley taking over as general manager. Watch for a multi-million-dollar renovation to upgrade the Grande Dame; in the meantime, the best rooms are those overlooking the River Thames on the fifth and sixth floors. The spa, managed by Stephan Weber, has only one room; agents booking ahead for their clients get a 10% commission on treatments.