Sunday, November 17, 2013

London #ETISTYLE: Luxury Hotels, Gluten-Free Tea, Brushes with Royalty, Celebrity Chefs, Martinis & More (Part One)

On my recent weeklong visit to London, I chose to stay in three very different hotels while visiting with friends and General Managers at dozens of others. I pride myself on being a luxury hotel matchmaker, thus, what better way to hone my skills than experience a variety of luxury hotel styles & locations.

From the ultra-posh Corinthia Hotel in the Whitehall neighborhood with a private terrace overlooking the venue where the 2013 Remembrance Day tributes took place to the happening Edition Hotel (Ian Schrager’s latest project) to the always-classy Mandarin Oriental London (seen below) just steps from Hyde Park and Harvey Nichols, my London accommodations did not disappoint.

I’d last visited the Corinthia a few years ago--just weeks before it opened, and the final product blew me away. The bi-level 7th floor penthouse suites (like the one I stayed in, shown below) are amongst the coolest in the city, with themes ranging from music (Katy Perry’s fave) to literature, politics and art. I was quite impressed by the attentive butlers who meticulously unpacked/packed our bags, delivered a forgotten prescription and printed out a late-night presentation. The four-floor spa borders on ridiculously gorgeous, and the in-house Daniel Galvin salon where I could get an 845 am blow-out before a busy day was a bonus surprise. Cocktails at the chic Bassoon Bar are a must to start or end the day, and a meal (oysters and Dover sole top my recommendations) at Massimo’s is always a good idea. GM Matthew Dixon has done an incredible job of staffing up the entire hotel with a seasoned team who truly go above and beyond. The hotel, in one word? Flawless.

Equally impressive was the new Royal Suite (complete with butler service fit for royalty) at the Mandarin Oriental London. A longtime favorite of mine, this hotel has noticeably stepped up the level of luxury from the outstanding on-site restaurants (Bar Boulud and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) to the stunning new indoor pool and fitness center opening early 2014. My favorite accommodation here--the Royal Suite--is massive, with a beautiful terrace fronting Hyde Park and a butler at your beck and call. Heated floors, a steam shower, a full kitchen, dining room, huge living room (pictured below) ideal for entertaining or relaxing en suite, and a beautiful master bedroom with additional Park views are key reasons to book my favorite Mandarin London suite. Leaving the hotel for meals is hardly necessary with dining options inclusive of both Boulud and one of Britain’s own Blumenthal (his take on ancient British cuisine with a modern twist is amazing, and the well-trained staff make it an experience you’ll want to repeat). Lest you do want to leave, just cross the street and Harvey Nick’s food hall awaits (everything from fresh juices to gourmet cheese to sushi can be found here). And by all means, be sure to try the K’bridge martini at the Mandarin Bar!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Edition London, Schrager’s collaboration with Ritz-Carlton which opened a few months ago in the former Berner’s Hotel in Fitzrovia (steps from Oxford Street). Suffice it to say, this fun, chic boutique hotel exceeded my expectations on every level. It is obvious that the staff has been well-trained by Ritz-Carlton as everyone from the bellmen to the front desk agents to the restaurant teams to the management go out of their way to deliver. Dinner and cocktails (try the Dill or No Dill) at Berner’s Tavern is an absolute must (hotel guests are given priority for tables at the hot spot I’m told by an Edition insider). The rooms (like mine, shown below) are stylish with warm touches, and surprisingly spacious for a boutique hotel. I’ll look forward to seeing the gym and spa on a future visit as I’m told both are being given a refresh to better suit guests’ needs. GM David Taylor—formerly of the Huxton in Shoreditch--is a terrific host here at the city’s hottest new boutique hotel.

What impressed me most about each of the three hotels where I stayed was the level of customization and attention to my preferences. Healthy delicious and gluten free snacks, dark chocolate, Rose Champagne, still water, a yoga mat (thank you Mandarin!) and even treats and toys for my beloved pups were delivered as in-room amenities. Talk about knowing your guest!

For more details or to inquire about rates/VIP amenities at each of these three London hotels, contact me at And stay tuned for future posts on my other favorite luxury hotels in London serving up the city’s best gluten-free teas, cocktails, meals, martinis and more!