Archive for the ‘london hotels’ Category

The Hempel – a touch of Zen in London

The Facade of The Hempel

The Facade of The Hempel

By Erik Bigalk –

If you’re a fan of unique designer hotels, then you’ve likely heard of Anouska Hempel and her impact on London’s hotel landscape. She is famed for her “Dark & Opulent” hotel, The Blakes in Kensington, which earned global recognition as the world’s first luxury boutique hotel in 1978 with its dark, eclectic and sensual interior. Then in 1996, the Russian-born Australian-raised British designer went to the other end of the spectrum with her Zen-inspired Hempel hotel.

The Hempel Foyer

The Hempel Foyer

Located in Craven Hill Gardens, The Hempel was purpose-built behind a white-washed Georgian facade. Yet once behind the anonymous milky glass doors, the foyer offers a calm ambience with its open, clean lines and sunken sitting areas with bold cushions that lead toward the No. 31 Lounge Bar – a minimalistic, yet charismatic haven serving modern variations of all the classic cocktails. Highly recommended is the cucumber martini.

Among the Hempel’s best suites is the “Lioness’ Den”, featuring a caged bed suspended above the room. With stunning views over the garden, it’s surely one of the most unique suites to be found in London – unfortunately it was book before we arrived. Nonetheless, our Zen Room offered us a friendly welcome with its minimalistic white walls, blonde wooden floors and ultramodern furnishings.

Superior Room

Superior Room

Our bed sat elevated on a split-level and dressed in the finest Egyptian linen and feathery pillows, it swallowed us up like a fluffy cloud – providing the most comfortable sleep in all of England. All rooms at the Hempel overlook the Zen garden allowing a birds-eye view of the symmetrically trimmed lawns, pebble paths, water features and shaped scrubs. In case you missed it, the Zen Garden was featured in the closing scenes of the hit movie “Notting Hill” starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

The Hempel offers 44 hotel rooms and suites of varying sizes from a small Zen room to an elaborate top floor penthouse as well as 6 full-sized apartments neighbouring the manicured Zen garden. Centrally located, quiet, arty and stylish, The Hempel remains an icon on London’s hotel scene and is well worth a stay…

Where – The Hempel, London
Rating – 5 Stars
My rating – 7.5 out of 10 pillows

Hot Air Ballooning in Britain

Hot Air Ballooning - United Kingdom

Hot Air Ballooning – United Kingdom

With all the Jubilee talk, we wanted to tell our readers about this sweet summer steal. The Montague on the Gardens Hotel is at the heart of all the London action this summer, and this beautiful Georgian townhouse hotel is offering an array of options for those who want to avail themselves of something very special – the delightful Best of British packages. Situated in the heart of Bloomsbury, one of the most beautiful areas of central London, The Montague on the Gardens is an elegant, long-established Georgian townhouse hotel overlooking a secluded private garden square. The 100 luxurious rooms and suites, including one two-bedroom apartment, are elegantly understated, furnished with fabrics capturing the timeless elegance of Bloomsbury and its literary heritage.

Montague on the Gardens Entrance

Montague on the Gardens Entrance

This four-star hotel is also within strolling distance of the West End and The British Museum, and a mere five minutes from the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras. Guests find themselves just minutes from London’s Financial District, Covent Garden, shopping on Oxford and Bond Streets, the West End theatres and Russell and Bloomsbury Squares. If your idea of a great vacation includes an unforgettable hot air balloon flight over the verdant British Countryside, then the Best of British Maiden Voyage package is the one for you.

Available through September 7, 2012, this package puts the ’Great’ into Britain. Guests at The Montague will spend two nights in the Guv’nors’ Suite, enjoy a full English breakfast, Afternoon Tea, a Fortnum & Mason hamper, pink champagne and strawberries, and two tickets to the British Museum, which is just a stone’s throw from the hotel.

Love the rooms at the Montague!

Love the rooms at the Montague!

  • The Best Of British Maiden Voyage package Includes:
  • Two nights’ accommodations in the splendid Guv’nor’s Suite
  • Full English breakfast daily
  • Best of British Afternoon Tea on the day of your choice
  • Transfer from any London train station or airport in our Range Rover
  • Fortnum & Masons hamper including Fortnum’s Ceylon and Assam loose leaf teas, Golden Crunch Biscuits, Dundee Cake, silver tea strainer and a copy of Tea at Fortnum & Mason
  • Bottle of Joseph Perrier Pink Champagne & strawberries in your room on arrival
  • Two tickets to the British Museum for the current exhibition of your choice
  • Virgin Hot Air Balloon Flight including a post-flight glass of Champagne


Best of British Maiden Voyage is priced from $1,418/per night, inclusive of all amenities listed based on two adults sharing the Guv’nor’s Suite for a minimum of two nights. Bookings require a minimum of seven days in advance of stay or cancellation. There will be a $650 non-refundable deposit required upon booking. Transfer to hot air balloon site is not included and can be added at an additional cost of $400. Due to popular demand, guests are encouraged to book in advance.

Sleep It Off: London

Whether you’re sleeping off a good shag or still pissed from those drinks on the plane, here are a few select spots to rest your weary head. We’ve handpicked a small group of properties that fall into the following categories: quaint little gem in a hip part of town that won’t break the bank and sweet digs worth the splurge because, well…
you only live once.

Portobello Hotel
Notting Hill, baby. In a converted neo-classical mansion, you’ll nuzzle your lovey and feel like the King’s top courtesan. Remember, you’re playing in pounds so even luxe moderately priced digs like this will make a small dent. They also offer a hotel apartment rooms for those wishing to live like a Queen just a little longer.

From £142-£310

The Main House
This one you’re really gonna thank me for… each suite occupies an entire floor in this home away from home that starts at an amazingly low £50/night. Private bathrooms and wireless internet, a complimentary newspaper with morning coffee or tea is brought to the room or enjoyed on the balcony. Too good to be true? The Main House is also just a minute from the famous Portobello Road, antique markets, designer shops and art galleries. Man, it sure is good to know smart travelers.

Blue Bells
Also known as Number 14 or 14 Pembridge Square. Ideally located in the heart of Notting Hill in Kensington, this place is just flat-out pretty. An 18th Century Victorian building situated in a quiet residential square makes you feel like you live here. At £55-£125/night it’s another sweet steal that might make you want to bake me a fluffy cake or buy me a really nice bottle of wine. (Du Vin on San Vicente has a Viognier with my name on it… winky wink)

#5 Cavendish Square
It’s a sophisticated club, a restaurant, and a boutique hotel. Take a Whiskey Bar with dark mahogany wood, plush leather seating, a restaurant with dark red walls, and a menu that features homemade pastas and brilliant wines, this former Spanish Embassy turned exclusive nightclub, restaurant and hotel even boasts a rooftop terrace.

Contemporary chic budget accommodations, it’s all about Base2stay. The rooms are small, but absolutely clean and crisp, you’ll thank me for introducing you to a place that’s a steal at £89/night.

Sloane Square Hotel
Located in Chelsea aka. central London, this hotel was suggested from a friend of a friend of a friend on asmallworld. Thanks, random friend of a friend. Modern, beautifully designed rooms with Philippe Starck basins and blackout drapes, you’re just a quick jaunt to Tiffany’s, Gucci and everyone’s favourite London landmark… Harrods!
From £140/night

These properties say chic like no one’s business.

St Martins Lane Hotel
Part of the Morgan’s Hotel Group that also operate the Delano, Mondrian, and Sanderson (see below), this 5 star Covent Garden hotel says ‘dazzling’ with it’s interactive light displays, Asia de Cuba restaurant, and Philippe Starck sex appeal. Atmospheric lighting throughout the hotel and in the rooms shift from pink to orange to green. In the Light Bar, Raspassion Martinis and Elderflower Collins are sipped alongside giant black and white photographs of different people making funny expressions. If you’ve got the dough, flaunt it here. Starts at around £245 so better enjoy yourself, sweetcheeks.

With a similarly swank vibe to St. Martins Hotel, in the heart of the West End is The Sanderson. Their Purple Bar is like no place you’ve ever seen… or been. With a Dali-esque twist, at some 80-feet in length, their glowing onyx Long Bar is another spot to thank yourself for a life well led. Expect to see beautiful people and men with style.

SoHo Hotel
Average price £320. Average accommodations? No siree. Ultra fabulous. Entirely cool. This is considered by many as the #1 hotel in London for luxury, service, and design. The Tatler calls it the ‘Most Glamorous Hotel in the World.’ We call it posh and extravagant. Along with the Charlotte Street Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel, The Metropolitan and Number 16, this is a member of Design Hotels.

The Berkeley
I love Maybourne Hotels. They’re classic, luxurious, and have the finest staff in the world… right up there with the Ritz. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. Claridges is world famous among nobility and The Berkeley world famous among discrete celebs (psstt… Madonna loves The Blue Bar).

What is The Blue Bar? you ask. Think a more refined Purple Bar. One also mustn’t miss their Fashionista Pret-a-Portea experience.

Starts at around £349 so you do the math.

Now where were we? Oh yeah… you were ready to book your Virgin Atlantic flight, find a good shag and get pissed on the plane.

— LR

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