How to Spend the Perfect Festive Weekend in London
December 8, 2016 | BY Chloe Street
Heading to London for a spot of Christmas shopping? Read our guide on how to spend the quintessential festive weekend in the British capital
There can be few hotels that feel more twinkly and festive than the stunning Rosewood London. Located in Holborn, one of London’s most historic locales where the City meets the West End, the hotel, with its wrought-iron gates leading to an intimate courtyard, is a unique retreat set in the very heart of London.
The 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building was sensitively renovated and transformed by the superstar hotel designer Tony Chi in 2013. A rich composition of materials—from lacquer to textured wood veneers and prismatic mirror—make the space feel elegant and sumptuous without being over the top.
The 262 guestrooms and 44 suites convey the feel of stylish London residences, public areas are filled with artwork and books, while sweeping marble staircases and mahogany panelled dining rooms nod to the building’s past as the headquarters of an insurance company.
All the rooms in the Rosewood are spacious and sumptuously appointed with quality sheets, elegant lighting and beautiful bathrooms. If however you can stretch to a suite, they offer some of the finest—and chicest—accomodation in London.
The Grand Manor House Wing is accessed via a private elevator and its own street entrance and is the only hotel suite in the world to have its own postcode. Six bedrooms, a dressing chamber, a library, a dining room and several sitting rooms are lavishly arranged over 6,318 sq.ft. of living space. The Garden House features a stunning garden terrace overlooking the London skyline while the stately Chancery House possesses elegant grandeur. All guests residing in suites receive access to the hotel's Manor Club. A comfortable, private retreat, the Manor Club offers a personal butler and concierge service as well as a menu of cocktails and light dishes.
The hotel’s bar, designed by the renowned Martin Brudnizki, has a roaring fire at one end and wooden bar running along the other. Warm, cosy and comfortable furniture is organised to create discreet, intimate corners on a wooden herringbone floor strewn with hand-woven rugs. On a Friday night, the Scarfes Bar throbs with the sort of post-work cool Soho crowd that a really good central London hotel bar should.
Holborn Dining Room, also designed by Martin Brudnizki, is a smart, bustling brasserie with a menu of simple yet sophisticated British dishes. In April of this year, they launched the Gin Bar, which stocks over 400 different gins, making it the largest selection in London.
The dining room leads to The Terrace in the hotel’s peaceful inner courtyard, where guests can dine alfresco or enjoy a fine cigar. The seats are cleverly heated to ensure it remains fully functional even in the chilliest of winter time.
Shopping at Liberty's is a department store experience like no other. Built in the 1920's the mock-tudor timbers and leaded windows of the facade make it an instantly recognisable London icon. Once inside, the interconnecting jumble of rooms, with occasional fireplaces and window seats, make it feel like you are exploring someone's home rather than simply shopping.
Against this old-world backdrop, however, Liberty boasts one of the finest collection of men’s and women’s fashion in town. The Paper Room is an oasis of micro-floral Liberty print stationery and gifts and the jewellery and beauty halls are perfect places to find that special gift.
From fresh seasonal produce to caviar and chocolates, smoked salmon and Stilton, vintage marmalade and rose petal jelly, Fortnum's Food Hall is a wonder to behold. Filled to the brim with an irresistible display of autumnal gourmet pleasures, this is the perfect place to stock up on delectable edible gifts and Christmas supplied. Plus there's something about being welcomed through the antique wooden doors by a legion of staff in frock coats that feels wonderfully British.
Situated in the media neighbourhood just north of Soho, The Charlotte Street Hotel is a minute's walk from leafy Soho Square and the theatre district, within easy reach of the financial centre and is surrounded by some of London's best bars, restaurants and cafes.
Designer Kit Kemp has used a 'Bloomsbury Group' theme throughout the hotel which features original art from the period and a mural in the brasserie reflecting scenes of 'contemporary London life'.
Afternoon Tea is served all day long in the Oscar Bar and Restaurant. There is a choice of both savoury and sweet menu items, with the option to add a glass of Pommery NV or Pommery Brut Rosé NV, for those guests who wish to truly indulge. Sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan afternoon tea is now available on request, to satisfy every festive fancy.
The grand 18th-century courtyard of Somerset House ice rink provides a stunning backdrop to the most beautiful ice rink in town. Set against the stunning neoclassical facade, this popular icy experience is open all day and well into the evening, when you can skate to live DJs. After your session, drop by Fortnum & Mason’s pop-up shop brimming with gifts and festive goodies in Somerset House’s West Wing, and warm up with wintry food and drinks in Fortnum & Mason’s Lodge. Ice skating sessions generally run between 10am and 10.15pm daily, with shorter opening times on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, as well as extended opening hours on selected dates. The ice rink is closed on Christmas Day.
Mayfair is home to many a wonderful fine dining restaurant, and the latest epicurean pin on the map is certainly no exception. Ormer restaurant, housed in the 165-year-old Flemings Hotel on Half Moon Street, opened in March 2016 following the luxury hotel’s £15m top-to-toe refurbishment.
Helmed by the Michelin star chef Shaun Rankin, the art deco-style interior design of velvet banquettes, mirrored columns, and geometric marble floor gives the restaurant a relaxing super-luxe brasserie feel, and yet the food is thoroughly of the fine dining variety. From the army of incredibly talented and capable staff clad in pink bow ties to the champagne trolley and the delightful little petit fours we were given in sweet little boxes to take away, via some utterly magnificent, thoughtfully crafted and perfectly presented food; the entire meal was an absolute treat.
Menus include a £29.50 lunch, a vegan menu, and an eight-course tasting. For those looking for a festive option, you can't go wrong with the three-course private dining menu which includes dishes such as linguine of jersey crab with fennel ceviche, roast Norfolk turkey and a vanilla and chestnut souffle with Christmas ice cream. This secret little subterranean treasure trove will not remain a secret for too much longer.
Looking for a little boost after all the shopping and partying? Carol Joy London has recently launched a new pure 24 carat gold and collagen facial at The Dorchester Spa to provide the ultimate skin brightening treatment. Best suited to revitalising dull complexions or as a defense against ageing, the 60 minute ‘Pure Gold and Collagen facial’ begins with a plumping Pure Collagen mask, after which 24 carat gold leaf, renowned for its brightening and regenerative properties, is applied to the face for ten minutes. The gold leaf is then massaged into the skin with gentle, circular movements. The treatment ends with a final spritz of Pure Collagen Spray to maintain skin hydration and provide a youthful glow.
Not only is the treatment wonderfully relaxing (and the Dorchester spa a heavenly luxurious oasis in which to pad around post-treatment) but apparently ions in the gold leaf increase the skin’s metabolism by stimulating cells and encouraging skin regeneration. Gold also helps transport oxygen into the skin and locks in skin’s moisture reducing the breakdown of collagen and elastin, in turn improving skin’s elasticity and firmness. Plus, gold's pretty festive, right?
The Pure Gold and Collagen Facial by Carol Joy London at The Dorchester Spa is priced at £220 and lasts for 60 minutes.
And why not round off your weekend with some carols? Attending a concert at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall is a London experience everyone should tick off their bucket list at some point. And what better time than when either the infamous Kings College Choir are singing carols or the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra are performing Messiah? Whichever concert you pick from the festive line-up, an evening of fine dining and music in even finer surrounds is guaranteed to fill you with Christmas cheer.
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