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London is one of the world’s greatest cities and is a perfect city for an Ultimate Weekend Getaway. After a period of slow decline, London has become one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities over the last decade.  London offers everything for a luxury weekend – grand luxury hotels, Michelin starred restaurants, fabulous shopping options, an incomparable service culture and historical buildings on almost every corner. London has managed to perfectly blend the old and the new – futuristic office towers rising next to well-preserved centuries-old buildings, modernist chefs reinterpreting recipes from hundreds of years ago, and boutiques filled with clothes from the hottest new designers next to shops that have been selling the same wares for 200 years.

Friday

 Photos courtesy of The Connaught

Photos courtesy of The Connaught

Connaught-1-2.jpg

The Connaught, which opened in 1917, is an intimate 121-room hotel located in the exclusive Mayfair district. While we love the classic luxury and glamor of Claridge’s (see Recommended Hotels at the end of this Guide), The Connaught will appeal to those who, like us, prefer smaller hotels with an intimate feel and polished discrete service.  Both hotels, together with the Berkeley, are owned by the same hotel group.  Upon arrival, you will be escorted by the top-hatted doormen to the intimate lobby with a small reception desk across from the wood-paneled concierge desk and the magnificent staircase with dark wood balustrades and ruby and cream striped carpeting.  The rooms are beautifully decorated but, for this luxury weekend, we highly recommend the hotel’s large deluxe suites, with their large contemporary living rooms and spectacular marble bathrooms featuring a deep soaking tub and rain shower for two. 

  Photos courtesy of the Connaught Hotel

Photos courtesy of the Connaught Hotel

Connaught-1-4.jpg

In addition, the hotel’s spa is excellent.  The hotel has teamed up with the Aman hotel and spa group to offer the world’s only stand-alone Aman Spa.  The facility includes a nice indoor pool and offers the Aman’s signature massage and body treatments.

One of the most important aspects of a luxury hotel is their concierge staff.  Led by the ever charming Corrado Biogi, an Italian by birth and very much a citizen of the world, the concierge desk at The Connaught is among the best.  Corrado and his team are able to provide unique access to best of London and arrange special experiences not available to the general public.  For Corrado and his team, nothing is impossible.  Travel Hint:  The better restaurants in London often require booking a number of weeks in advance, so we recommend that you reach out to Corrado Biogi and his staff for any reservations well in advance of your trip.

The Connaught // Carlos Place // website

For a luxury grand hotel in London, Claridge’s cannot be beat.  However, for a luxury boutique hotel, we highly recommend Chiltern Firehouse located in the heart of London’s Marylebone district.  American hotelier André Balazs, who operates Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and the Mercer Hotel in New York, converted an old fire station into a luxurious 26-room boutique hotel.  All of the rooms have been designed with an impeccable eye to detail and style, including custom light fixtures, retro-style light switches and a handsome drinks cabinet stocked with house-made mixers.  If you stay at the Chiltern Firehouse for this ultimate weekend getaway, we recommend their Ladderhouse Lofts or one of their suites.  The Ladderhouse Lofts have views over Chiltern Street and the hotel’s beautiful courtyard and have a separate seating area and working fireplace adjacent to the bedroom. 

Chiltren Firehouse // 1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone // Website

AFTERNOON

London is a walking city and, after getting settled in to your room, we recommend exploring the St. James, Mayfair and Marylebone districts. London is a shopper’s paradise and this walk will take past the high-end fashion houses and boutiques of St. James and Mayfair, the bespoke tailors of Savile Row, and the unique stores of Marylebone.

Starting in St. James, you will find some of London’s oldest purveyors of luxury goods, including James Lock & Co. Hatters, offering custom hats since 1676, John Lobb, makers of bespoke leather shoes and boots since the Victorian days, Berry Bros. & Rudd, wine merchants since 1698, Fortnum & Mason, the “Queen’s grocer” offering gourmet foods and wines since 1707, Paxton & Whitfield, sellers of amazing cheeses for over 200 years, Swaine Adeney Brigg, makers of quality umbrellas since 1750, Hatchards, London’s oldest bookstore (1797), Turnbull & Asser, gentleman’s bespoke shirtmaker and clothier since 1885, James J. Fox, the oldest cigar seller in the world and Christie’s auction house founded in 1766.

Heading north from St. James will take you across the busy Piccadilly road to the high-end luxury boutiques and stores of Mayfair.  After crossing Piccadilly, pass through the Burlington Arcade, which is a covered shopping arcade built in 1819 and preserved to look much as it did 200 years ago. If you are hungry, you can start by picking up a fabulous macaroon at Laduree at the entrance of the Burlington Arcade.  Many of Mayfair’s finest shops are concentrated on a few streets -- the iconic Savile Row, Burton Street, and Bond Street (both Old and New).  In this area, you can find some of London’s finest stores -- fine jewelry and silver (Asprey, Garrad, Tiffany, George Jensen), fine clothing and outerwear (Burberry, BelstaffPaul Smith), boutique fashion designers (Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney), leather goods (Louis Vuitton), fine and antique books (Heywood Hill), stationary (Smythson of Bond Street), and bespoke tailors (Huntsman, Gieves and Hawkes, Richard Anderson).  Also, it is also worth exploring the Dover Street Market for its eclectic mix of mini-boutiques featuring new and established designers, as well as housing Paris’ Rose Bakery on the top floor.

Marylebone is known for its independent, somewhat eclectic, boutiques and stores, as well as some fabulous artisanal food shops.  As you head into Marylebone, we suggest you skip Oxford Street, which marks the southern boundary of Marylebone, since it is very crowded and filled with uninspiring chain stores. If you are interested in antiques, Church Street is lined with antique dealers, including Alfie’s Antique Market, London’s oldest indoor antique market with over 75 antique dealers on four floors. For books, the Marylebone branch of Daunt Books, which is housed in an old Edwardian bookshop, is worth a visit for its excellent book selections and the character of the space. Selfridge’s, one of London’s better department stores, is also located in Marylebone.  Don’t miss La Fromagerie for their fabulous cheese selection contained in a walk-in cheese cave, as well as a nice selection of gourmet delights and a casual restaurant.  Next door to La Fromagerie is the Ginger Pig, one of London’s finest butcher shops.

EVENING

  Photos courtesy of the Connaught Hotel

Photos courtesy of the Connaught Hotel

The Connaught has three excellent bars – the Connaught Bar, which is justifiably famous for its creative cocktails and martini cart, the Colberg Bar, which has a small clubby feel, and the romantic Champagne Bar, a small, intimate bar that features champagnes and classic cocktails. While the Corburg Bar at the Connaught Hotel is fabulous, we recommend the Connaught Bar, which is a jewel of a bar tucked away in the hotel.  The Connaught Hotel is one of the most elegant hotels in London yet the Connaught Bar is very welcoming and makes you feel right at home.  If you like martinis, the Connaught Bar is known for its martinis, which are prepared in front of you by a skilled barman from their martini cart.

The Connaught // Carlos Place, Mayfair // Website

  Photos courtesy of Scott's

Photos courtesy of Scott's

After a drink at the Connaught Bar, we recommend dinner at Scott’s, which is a short walk from the Connaught Hotel and serves among the best seafood in London.  Upon arriving at Scott’s, you will be welcomed by a Bowler hatted doorman and led into the beautifully restored historic restaurant.  The restaurant has been around for years but was completely revamped in 2007 by the Caprice group (which also operates 34, The Ivy and J. Sheekey) and is stunning, with wood paneling and a large marble-topped champagne and oyster bar in the middle of the restaurant.  All of the seafood is amazing but we love to start with oysters and champagne and then order their delicious and simple Dover sole, either grilled or meuniere.  Although simple, the quality of the fish and seafood is exceptional.  

Scott’s // 20 Mount Street, Mayfair // Website

  Photos courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse

Photos courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse

If you are staying at Chiltern Firehouse, we highly recommend eating at the Chiltern Firehouse restaurant which has become the A-List celebrity hot-spot and is almost impossible to secure a reservation unless you are a guest of the hotel.  Just like his other properties, André Balazs has created a certain buzz that has drawn A-listers for both the scene and the excellent food prepared by Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes.  Mendes draws on his Portuguese heritage and experience working under Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Ferran Adrià to create an ingredient-driven menu for Chiltern Firehouse.  

The restaurant is open and airy with glazed white tiles and mirrors adorning the walls and an open kitchen that fills almost then entire rear of the restaurant. The banquettes in the main room are ideal for people watching and quiet conversation but we prefer the coveted 8-seat marble counter facing the open kitchen. Watching Mendes and his skilled chefs from the kitchen counter is pure spectacle.  If the weather is nice, a great alternative is dining outside in their casual front courtyard. In the center of the massive kitchen is an enormous Bonnet cooking island and custom-designed Grillworks open-fire grill that Mendes uses to flame-grill a number of his dishes, including the stellar Galician Octopus and tender Iberico Pork with braised autumn greens with garlic confit.  For starters, we highly recommend the Crab-Stuffed Donuts, which are slider-style “donuts” with crabmeat filling.

  Photos courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse

Photos courtesy of Chiltern Firehouse

Being a guest of Chiltern Firehouse gives you access to the hotel’s three bars, which have become a celebrity favorite and have the feel of an exclusive house party.  Of the three bars, the best is the Ladder Shed, which is only open to hotel guests and friends of the hotel.  The Ladder Shed bar is very comfortable with high vaulted ceilings, enormous trees, potted plants and ivy on the rafters and, with a nod to the former use of the room, fire hoses hanging along the back wall.  The room has a cozy living-room feel with the cushions on the wicker furniture clothed in faux-worn fabric and a wood-burning fireplace along the wall.  The modern jazz soundtrack and attractive servers complete the scene.   

Chiltern Firehouse // 1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone // Website

SATURDAY

MORNING

The English are known for their breakfasts and there is no finer place to have a full English breakfast than The Wolesey on Piccadilly Street, just down the street from the Ritz Hotel.  The interior is styled after a Viennese café with black panels and gold inlay, enormous mirrors, ebony and cream marble and brass lamps throughout.  It is a favorite all-day venue but it really shines for breakfast.  The Wolesey offers a fabulous full English Breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomato, black pudding and mushrooms, as well as English staples like Haggis with Fried Duck Eggs (unless you are a native Scotsman and are fortified with lots of Scotch, this isn’t the time to try Haggis), Kedgeree and Grilled Kipper with mustard butter.  Of course, they offer a full breakfast menu in addition to these uniquely English breakfast dishes.

The Wolesey // 160 Piccadilly// Website

 
 

London offers visitors so much to do and see that it is impossible to even scratch the surface in a short weekend.  To make the most of your visit, we offer a few different options that can be mixed-and-matched based upon your interests (and stamina) to create your own unique experience.  We offer our recommendations for the best restaurants and bars, the best shopping, the best art museums and galleries and the best of the “must see” historic (and tourist) sights of London, while steering you away from the overrated sights.  

 
 

If you are a food lover, we recommend that you start the morning with a trip to Borough Hall, London’s oldest market which dates back to the 13th century.  The food market is located under the arches of the railroad tracks leading to London Bridge station and is London’s best food market, with over 100 stalls selling artisan cheese, organic and heritage fruits and vegetables, breads, oysters, meats (including rare-breed meats).  On Saturdays, the market can become painfully crowded so we recommend making this your first stop.  Very near to Borough Hall is another excellent food market – the Maltby Street Market – that includes many of Borough Hall’s original merchants who have moved to this upstart market. 

 
 

For touring the “must see” sights of London, we recommend starting at Trafalgar Square, which is the official center of London and the Westminster district (which is technically a separate city).  The square was designed by John Nash in 1830 and is dominated by the 170-foot Nelson’s Column, a monument erected in 1848 to commemorate Admiral Nelson’s exploit.  Framing the sides of the square are the National Gallery, which includes over 2,300 masterpieces, including works by Da Vinci, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Michelangelo, the National Portrait Gallery, which has amassed a fabulous collection of over 160,000 portraits of famous Britons throughout history, and St. Martins-in-the-Fields, a much loved church and well known classical music venue.

Heading down Whitehall Street will take you past 10 Downing Street, the official office and residence of the Prime Minister (though there is little to see since Downing Street is closed to the public), and the Churchill Museum (worth a visit for WWII history buffs) towards Parliament Square.  On the one side of Parliament Square along the banks of the River Thames is Big Ben and the House of Parliament and on the other side is Westminster Abby, one of London’s “must see” historic buildings.

Across the River Thames from Westminster Abbey and the House of Parliament is the London Eye, a 443-foot Ferris wheel that provides fabulous views of Westminster and all of London.  Although the views are excellent, we think the London Eye is overrated since the lines tend to be very long (although they offer a “fast track” option) and the crowded capsules take an excruciatingly slow 25 minutes to complete a full rotation.  If you are looking for spectacular views of London, we think a better option is to have a sunset drink at Gong, which is located in the St. Regis Hotel on the 52nd floor of The Shard, the 95-story glass and steel spire that dominates London’s skyline.

LUNCH

  Photos courtesy of Cecconi's

Photos courtesy of Cecconi's

If you spent the morning in Mayfair, St. James or Westminster areas, we recommend lunch at Cecconi’s, which is centrally located across the street from the Royal Academy.  Cecconi’s, which is owned by the Soho House group, serves very good Northern Italian cuisine and is quite popular with fashion and media players, as well as celebrities.  The service is excellent and professional and the dining room and large bar in the center of the restaurant are glamorous.  While you can find better Italian food in London (Locanda Locatelli comes to mind), the glamorous setting, professional service and the reliable food make this an excellent choice for a simple lunch.  As an alternative, you may want to lunch at one of London’s many pubs, however, be aware that while the historic pubs are atmospheric, traditional pub food is can be fairly mediocre.     

Cecconi’s // 5A Burlington Gardens // Website

AFTERNOON

If you spent the morning in touring the sights in St. James and Westminster, we recommend spending the afternoon in area the City, London’s financial district, where you will find the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Monument.  

 
 

Not far from the Millennium Bridge, which is a good starting place, is St. Paul’s Cathedral.  St. Paul’s Cathedral, built by Sir Christopher Wren in the early 1700’s, is one of the world’s most beautiful churches with a spectacular dome that was the tallest structure in London until 1962 and is still today one of the largest domes in the world.  

 
 

From St. Paul's Cathedral, head east toward the Monument, which is a 202-foot tall Doric column that commemorates the Great Fire of 1602. The view of the City from the top of the Monument is well worth climbing the column’s 311 steps.

 
 

Heading further east from the Monument is the Tower of London and the iconic Tower Bridge.  

  Photos courtesy of Gordon's Wine Bar

Photos courtesy of Gordon's Wine Bar

After a day of walking around London, you may want to take a break and relax with a nice glass of wine.  We absolutely love Gordon’s Wine Bar, which was established in 1890 and is the oldest wine bar in London.  Gordon’s Wine Bar is a tiny space straight out of Dickens.  The front room is lined with faded newspaper clippings and memorabilia. Make your way to the cellar, which is windowless and lit entirely by candles, and plop down at one of the handful of rickety tables.  The wine list is excellent and they offer fabulous cheeses and simple dishes.  

Gordon’s Wine Bar // 47 Villiers Street // Website

EVENING

  Photos courtesy of Artesian

Photos courtesy of Artesian

Voted as the World’s Best Bar for the last four years by Drink’s International, Artesian, which is located in the Langham Hotel, is a perfect place for a creative and delicious pre-dinner cocktail.  Designed by David Collins, the bar is chic and elegant with high ceilings, low lighting and a vaguely Asian style.  While Artesian offers excellent classic cocktails, Alex Kratena, the head bartender, is particularly known for continually creating new collections of creative cocktails that are exceptional in every respect, from the presentation to the custom-made glassware to the actual drink.  For example, in his recent “Surrealism” collection, he offers a drink called Chameleon Crystal which is delivered in a wooden box that, when opened, releases a dense cloud of smoke.  For cocktail lovers, Artesian is an experience not to be missed.  

  Photos courtesy of The Ledbury

Photos courtesy of The Ledbury

For dinner, we highly recommend The Ledbury for its two Michelin star flavor-packed creative cuisine.  Led by Aussie chef Brett Graham, The Ledbury has become one of the darlings of creative British cooking.  Housed in an elegant space in Notting Hill, the dining room is beautiful and airy with the light walls and high ceilings accented by mirrors, dark curtains and rich woods.  Darren McHugh, the general manager, oversees the impeccable service and ensures that every diner’s experience is exceptional. 

Chef Graham takes advantage of locally sourced ingredients and, as a hunter himself, he will often put deer, grouse or other wild game on the menu.  For example, on a recent fall menu, Chef Graham offered an exceptional aged pigeon dish that included three different preparations – a rare cut of breast meat, a confit wing and a delicious kebab consisting of the breast, filet and heart.  He has a light touch and really lets the ingredients shine, like his simple but delicious Grilled Mackerel with pickled cucumber and shiso or his Warm Bantam Egg with shaved celeriac, dried ham and Wilshire truffle.  The Ledbury, which consistently appears among the top restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, is a real treat.

The Ledbury // 127 Ledbury, Notting Hill // Website

SUNDAY

MORNING

There is no reason to rush this morning so we recommend a leisurely breakfast at your hotel.  

For this morning, we suggest a couple of different options depending upon your interests.

For First Time Visitors, Royal Watchers and History Buffs

 
 

For this morning, we recommend visiting one of the palaces.  Located in Westminster on the west side of St. James Park is Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen of England.  While very popular for the twice-daily Changing of the Guard ceremony, the public can tour Buckingham Palace’s 19 ornate state rooms only during the months of August and September when Queen is at her palace in Scotland. Although smaller, we prefer the less crowded Kensington Palace, which houses various relatives of the Queen, including Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and, unlike Buckingham Palace, its state rooms are open to the public throughout the year.

For Shoppers

While Knightsbridge has many unique boutiques, it is probably best known for being the home of Harrods, London’s largest and most iconic department store. Housed in an enormous building that takes up almost a full city block, Harrods has over 300 departments and 20 restaurants in over 1 million square feet of retail space.  Since Harrods has become very much a tourist attraction, the crowds can be brutal so, while worth a quick visit (particularly the food halls), if you are looking to shop at a high-end department store, we recommend Harvey Nichols, which is just down the block and offers just about every imaginable high-end designer label. 

For Food and Market Lovers

There are two exceptional outdoor markets that are only open on Sunday -- Columbia Flower Market and the Marylebone farmer’s market.  You will find a riot of color at Columbia Flower Market with over 50 stalls selling plants, flowers, bouquets and even trees.  Part of the charm of this flower market is the vendor’s constant patter. In addition, Columbia Road is lined with independent shops selling art, jewelry and antiques.   In Marylebone, the Cramer Street Car Park comes alive on Sunday mornings with one of London’s best farmer’s market.  This farmer’s market has between 30 and 40 stands and is as close as you get to a Parisian street marché.  

For Art Lovers

 
 
 
 

While you could spend a week exploring London’s art scene, if we were to recommend only one London art museum to visit it would be the Tate Modern.  The Tate Modern is housed in an old power plant south of the River Themes and is one of the world’s most popular modern art museums.  The collection covers the period from 1900 to present day, including Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych, Picasso’s Weeping Woman and Lichtenstein’s Whaam! 

If you have time, you should also consider the Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.  The Tate Britain was opened in 1897 and is focused on collecting British art from the 1500 to present.  The massive collection includes Turner’s The Battle of Trafalgar and Hockney’s A Bigger Splash.  Located in St. James along the northern edge of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is one of the world’s great art museums and includes over 2,300 masterpieces, including Da Vinci’s The Virgin and Child, Picasso, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and Sauret’s Bathers at Asnieres.  Next to the National Gallery is the National Portrait Gallery, which was established in 1856 with the singular purpose of collecting portraits of famous Britons throughout history. 

Although much smaller, we also highly recommend the Wallace Collection, which is housed in the 1788 Hertford House on Manchester Square in Marylebone.  The Wallace Collection is one of the world’s finest small collections of European old masters and French decorative arts.  Finally, the Royal Academy of Art often has exceptional temporary exhibitions and it is worth checking to see what is being exhibited during your visit.  

There are art galleries spread throughout London but many of the larger and more established galleries are centrally located in Mayfair, including Gagosian Gallery, Pace, Hauser & Worth, Michael Werner, David Zwiner and Dominique Levy, as well as Phillips auction house.

LUNCH

  Photo courtesy of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Photo courtesy of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Led by one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs, we highly recommend lunch at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which is located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  Heston Blumenthal, who also owns The Fat Duck, is one of the most creative chefs in London today and he works closely with his long-time colleague Ashley Palmer-Watts, who heads up the kitchen at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.  The dining room is extremely comfortable with ivory walls, dark mahogany woodwork and tables, picture windows with sheer gold curtains looking out to Hyde Park, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls in the center of the restaurant that look into the kitchen.  The service is friendly and very professional.  

In conceiving the restaurant, Chef Blumenthal extensively researched historic British dishes from the past centuries and reimagined them with a modern flare and taste.  Chef Blumenthal has created a number of justifiably famous (and widely instragramed) dishes, including Meat Fruit (c.1500), an appetizer that is shaped like a mandarin (small orange) consisting of a thin layer of Mandarin jelly encasing the smoothest and most delicious liver mousse served with thick slices of grilled bread.  Another standout dish is Salamangundy (c.1720 from The Cook’s and Confectioner’s Dictionary by John Nott), a beautiful dish of tender chicken oysters (the most tender part of a chicken) sitting on a bed of horseradish cream and accented with a salad of salsify and bone marrow.  Probably his most famous dish is Tipsy Cake (c.1810), which is a pineapple that has been spit-roasted using a special spit that was custom-built for the restaurant and served with a miniature cast iron pot containing a rum soaked, cream filled brioche.   It is no surprise that Dinner by Heston Blumenthal was selected as #7 on the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal // 66 Knightsbridge // Website

AFTERNOON

We recommend spending the afternoon wandering around some of the other areas of London that have not been covered in this whirlwind weekend, including Hyde Park, London’s largest park, Covent Garden, where you will find the small unique shops and the famous Covent Garden Market and Soho, which has gone from seedy to trendy with some of London’s best new restaurants, bars, nightlife and theater.   

  Photos courtesy of The Ritz

Photos courtesy of The Ritz

One of the iconic British traditions is afternoon tea and two of our favorite places to enjoy this centuries-old tradition are The Ritz, for its sense of heritage (though the pomp and ceremony of its formal Palm Court can be a little over the top), and Claridge’s, for its elegant (but less formal) room and its perfect scones and delicacies.

The Ritz // 150 Piccadilly // Website
Claridge’s // Brook Street, Mayfair // Website

EVENING

 
  Photos courtesy of Claridge's Hotel

Photos courtesy of Claridge's Hotel

 

Claridge’s has two bars, Claridge’s Bar and The Fumoir. While the famed Claridge’s Bar is fabulous, for a pre-dinner drink, we recommend The Fumoir, which is a sexy boite that is somewhat of a secret find.  This hidden gem is tiny, very romantic and the décor is straight out of the 1930’s with rich purple upholstery, dark woodwork, velvet seats, dim crystal lights, vintage photographs and 1930’s Lalique panels with beautiful etchings.  The cocktails are modern but inspired by the era.  It is one of the most stylish and romantic bars you will find in London.

  Photos courtesy of Claridge's Hotel

Photos courtesy of Claridge's Hotel

For dinner, we recommend Fera at Claridge’s, which is overseen by Simon Rogan, who also owns the Michelin two-star restaurant L’Enclume in the Lake District.  “Fera” means “wild” in Latin and the décor and the food pays homage to nature’s elements – earth, sky, water and forest.  The space, which was designed by Guy Oliver, is elegant and welcoming with warm neutral tones of walnut, bronze and green and reflects the nature theme, including a large driftwood tree in the center of the room.  Chef Rogan is obsessed with showcasing the finest ingredients and sources many of the herbs, fruits and vegetables from his farm.  Fera offers an a la carte and tasting menu but, to really experience Chef Rogan’s creativity, we recommend the full tasting menu.  The wine list is deep with classic wines but, for a real treat, leave it to Raphael Rodriguez, the head sommelier, to orchestrate a fabulous wine pairing that will likely include many rare and unusual wines.  

Claridge’s // Brook Street, Mayfair // Website


FINAL THOUGHTS

Recommended Hotels

Claridge’s Hotel.  Claridge’s, which opened its doors in 1856, is ideally located in the center of Mayfair close to London’s best shopping, art galleries and Hyde Park and provides the perfect combination of luxurious rooms and suites, incomparable service, an excellent concierge staff and fabulous drinking and dining options.  Claridge’s has perfected the art of making guests feel at home.  Upon arriving at the hotel, a livered doorman will escort you into the stunning Thierry Despont designed art deco lobby with its Dale Chihuly chandelier and black and white checkered marble floor.  The 197-room hotel has been recently updated and modernized without sacrificing any of its classic elegance.  We love the hotel for its old world charm and luxury and appreciate the preservation of certain traditions, including retaining the uniformed lift operators. While the art deco-styled deluxe rooms are spacious and well appointed, Claridge’s is known for its sumptuous suites and we highly recommend them for this ultimate luxury weekend.  One of things that makes for a truly grand hotel is its concierge staff and Claridge’s shines in this area with 30-year veteran Martin Ballard, the Head Concierge, directing a stellar concierge desk.  Claridge’s // Brook Street, Mayfair // Website

Once-in-a-Lifetime-Experience for Beatles or Music Lovers

  Photos courtesy of Abbey Roads Studio

Photos courtesy of Abbey Roads Studio

If you are a Beatles or rock music lover and are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can arrange for a personal recording session at the famous Abbey Roads Studio.  Abbey Roads Studio is known for being the principal recording studio of The Beatles, but also has been used by Pink Floyd (who recorded The Dark Side of the Moon album at the studio), Shirley Bassey, Amy Winehouse and Elton John. Since Abbey Roads Studio is a working studio, it is not open to the public but they offer a unique opportunity to record a song from their extensive catalog in the very same studios (largely unchanged from when The Beatles recorded there), using the very same equipment as these world-famous musicians.  Not only will you have an opportunity to tour the studios, their team of musical directors, engineers and vocal coaches will guide you through the recording of the song of your choice, which will then be expertly mixed onto a bespoke CD for you to take away. While not cheap, it is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for true music lovers.

Abbey Road Studios // 3 Abbey Road // Website