18 Wednesday March, 2015
You can believe the hype that has surrounded this relatively new London institution. Andre Balzac has created the Ivy of the 21st Century and the blend of modern, ingredient-led food mixed with a cheeky dollop of Americana is proving to be a continuous hit with anyone who’s anyone.
We don’t blame them. Brunch at the Firehouse is itself a talking point with the now-famous crab-stuffed doughnuts being a highlight. Gorgeous, relaxed interiors mean that there isn’t a feeling of stuffiness, rather youth, homeliness and vibrancy.
The waiting list is long, but that should not put you off. Book ASAP.
2) Best Spa: Corinthia Hotel
The Spa at the Corinthia is, in our opinion, one of the best in the country, let alone London. Taking up an impressive four floors the spa is an imposing feat of architecture and relaxation with (deep breath…) 17 treatment rooms, a private spa suite, nail studio, indoor swimming pool, vitality pool, amphitheatre sauna, ice fountain, marble heated loungers and private sleep pods.
There is also a Daniel Galvin Hair Salon, state-of-the-art fitness suites and a café that complements health and wellness with light refreshments. A wealth of experts are on hand to help you feeling rejuvenated and at your best.
3) Best Pool: The Berkeley
We love a rooftop here at Ampersand. We also love a good pool. So when the two come combined it really is a treat, and the pool at the Berkeley hotel is just that. Seven storeys above the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge is a glittering oasis of relaxation and serenity with a pool situated amongst lush green gardens on the roof of the hotel with views across the capital. A retractable roof means this pool can be used all-year round, whatever the weather.
Sunloungers are dotted around the edges of the water making this the perfect destination for any traveller or London resident who wants to soak up the summer rays and swim in style.
4) Best Lobby: London EDITION
Maybe it’ll be the scale. Maybe it’ll be the bar… or maybe it will be the huge mirrored orb that reflects all scenes below that takes you by surprise upon entering the lobby at the Edition hotel. Everything about the room is grand and opulent in a modern, classy and exclusive style.
Beautiful original features such as red marble pillars, cornicing across the ceiling and iron-work from the hotel's days of yore perfectly blend with the contemporary design of the lobby. Not only this, but a well-stocked bar and snooker table await visitors who need something extra to entertain.
5) Best Afternoon Tea: Brown's
Afternoon tea at Brown's should be at the top of any foodie’s ‘To-Do’ list when visiting London. Famous in its own right, this tradition at Brown's dates back to the Victorian era with Queen Vic choosing to take her high tea here. Steeped in history with injections of modernity, the Brown's experience is surely not one to miss. Delicious sandwiches, cakes and pastries adorn tiered cake stands and a choice of 17 different teas, including Browns own blend, will have tea connoisseurs reeling with excitement. That counts for the whole population of the UK then.
6) Best Bar with a View: Aqua at the Shard
Even a seasoned Londoner won’t fail to be impressed by the jaw-dropping views at Aqua, Shard. With huge, floor to ceiling windows directly overlooking the City, anyone who is interested in the unique combination of modern and historic architecture that London is famous for will appreciate vistas across the River Thames and into the metropolis. The drinks list is as impressive as the view, and the Lemon Meringue Pie cocktail actually tastes like the dessert. Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it?
7) Best Dinner Date: Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental
Head to Dinner for bizarre and wonderful meals concocted by the renowned experimental British chef, Heston Blumenthal. The food is inspired by old British dishes dating back hundreds of years, so expect bone marrow and pork cheeks on the menu.
Despite sounding a bit odd the food has been modernised somewhat, is absolutely delicious and is definitely a conversation starter.
Views over Hyde Park add to the experience, and the interiors are effortlessly contemporary and cool; think leather panelled walls and statement lighting.
8) Best Sunday Lunch: Boundary
Boundary is a gorgeous boutique hotel in Shoreditch set up by design legend Sir Terence Conran. The restaurant is an extension of Conran’s love of France and serves a feast of delicious French food. Head here on a Sunday to indulge in oysters, hearty beef bourginon and the finest French cheeses, washed down with full-bodied wines and artisan cocktails. In the summer when the sun is shining the rooftop restaurant provides al fresco dining with views across a London that looks as though it has been picked out of Sweeney Todd’s era.
9) Best Hotel Away from Home: The Rosewood
It is essential that you visit the Rosewood. Behind the grand exterior is an even grander interior that oozes the ultimate in luxury. It ticks every box from incredible design to delicious food and delectable smellies in the bathrooms. The fantastically designed Scarfes Bar is an Ampersand favourite with its live jazz, wonderful cocktails and roaring fire. Not to mention the nut-bowl. What is it that makes it so moreish…?
The rooms and suites are all stunning – one offering is to hire a whole wing of the hotel with 6 apartment suites and its own postcode. How many apartments have their own postcode in the ever-strapped for space Capital? One; this is it.
The Rosewood truly is a hotel to end all hotels. It is easy to imagine old Hollywood glamour wafting through the doors at any moment, and anyone wishing to swish about like Grace Kelly or Cary Grant must head here in an instant.
Browse our recommended London hotels or get in touch to plan your own tailor-made vacation to London and across the UK & Ireland:
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