london-calling:-the-most-fabulous-places-to-stay-in-the-capital-now

London Calling: The most fabulous places to stay in the capital now

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  • Henry’s Townhouse

    This new private rental in Mayfair is small, perfectly formed and swimming with Bollinger-bearing staff. Each of the seven bedrooms are swathed in thick silk curtains and huge, twinkling 18th-century chandeliers. Decorated by Russell Sage Studio (of Fife Arms fame), it’s atmospherically nostalgic (this was originally the townhouse of Jane Austen’s brother, Henry) so think lots of candles, sloping wooden floorboards, four posters and silver pots of smoky Chinese tea. Take it over in its entirety for the most glamorous house party, where the chef will whip up lobster cocktail followed by a divine chicken, leek and tarragon pie. henrystownhouse.co.uk

  • Nobu Portman Square

    This smooth, polished newcomer is already drawing a crowd for the taste sensation that is an ‘Uni Shot’ (fresh sea urchins, a dash of tabasco shaken with icy sake), immaculate tuna sashimi and platters of king crab tempura. Nobu Portman Square is an ode to chic minimalism with huge loft-style suites with the added bonus of 24-hour room service, where you can order wagyu beef dumplings and a chocolate bento box at 3am and no one will bat an eyelid. london-portman.nobuhotels.com

  • Mayfair Townhouse

    This is a triumph. Come for lobster curry (a signature dish taken from the hotel’s sister property Chewton Glen) in the hotel’s all-day restaurant hangout, The Dandy and fabulous and well-priced rooms (£260 per night) on this wonderful stretch of Half-Moon Street, where Oscar Wilde set The Importance of Being Earnest. Expect contemporary art and rampant eclecticism throughout the rooms (and copies of Wilde’s classic), where some suites come with spacious rooftop terraces. themayfairtownhouse.com

  • Claridge’s

    It’s the hotel we return to again and again: soothing, comforting and dripping in old school cool, especially the suites, in all their silk-draped finery. It would seem rude not to spend the whole time ordering room service, namely the prawn tempura, taking long baths and just lounging around in Claridge’s cotton pyjamas (the men’s oversized ones are so glamorous, you want to wear them out). Then there is the joy of being back inside the Fumoir Bar, a paean to art-deco elegance dressed up in rouge noir velvet and sparkling with Lalique glassware for Claridge’s Juleps. And not to be missed is the signature CFC (Claridge’s fried chicken) in the hotel’s newest restaurant, Davies and Brook, which goes so well with the free-flowing Laurent Perrier Rosé. But to really savour the timeless magic of this incomparable Mayfair grande dame, book a table in the The Reading Room, where you can dine on lobster wellington and truffle french fries, while the pianist tinkles away in the Foyer. claridges.co.uk

  • The Ritz

    There are few things more fabulous than being whisked away to this revered classic. Stay in the silk-draped finery of one of the suites (the two-floor Royal Suite is the most soothing in pinks and burgundies), gaze out at Green Park and relish the best club sandwich, which goes so well with the Ritz’s own champagne, Barons de Rothschild. Equally indulgent is an al fresco lunch, served beneath the awning by the tailcoated waiters. Or, there’s the year-round joy of being ensconced in the gilded and frescoed splendour of the Ritz Restaurant, which hums with the great and the good. They come for the classics, so wonderfully executed by Chef John Williams, including the exceptional grouse, beef Wellington and crêpes suzettes. A date at the famous golden, mirror-panelled Palm Court – where Evelyn Waugh frequently took tea in the company of Nancy Mitford – never fails to impress. theritzlondon.com

  • The Connaught

    As soon as you step inside, you’re seduced by the heady scent of Cire Trudon’s Solis Rex, and that’s before the hotel’s legendary mixologist Ago Perrone’s icy martinis have worked their magic. This is the ultimate food temple for a little dollop of caviar or some truffles (equally superb on pizzas and burgers). Star chefs provide a series of never-ending joys, from Hélène Darroze (who was awarded a third Michelin star at her eponymous restaurant earlier this year) to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who offers a Mayfair version of nursery food. A real highlight is the perfectly deboned dover sole with the creamiest mash potatoes. Another is the new Mount Street Patisserie – where a special exclusive is the River Café’s Chocolate Nemesis, available for the first time outside its home. Equally thrilling is a night in the Prince’s Lodge, a one-bedroom suite inspired by Kabul’s Peacock Palace, with an Afghan hand-carved four-poster bed and private steam room. Should you need an incentive to venture out, the Aman spa for Himalayan salt facials and Tibetan-inspired massages is a must. the-connaught.co.uk

  • Ham Yard

    If Eloise of the Plaza could pick her London home away from home, she would have a ball at hotelier Kit Kemp’s Ham Yard. It’s a dream, from the unpretentious and unapologetically indulgent food in the piazza strung with fairy lights – think burrata with a pansy on top, crab linguine and the best chocolate liégeois sundaes – to rosé at sunset on the whimsical roof garden terrace (with beehives, vegetable patch and antique Provençal fountain). There’s also a Soholistic Spa for reflexology, a 190-seat cinema and Fifties bowling alley imported from Texas for endless fun and games. Expect contemporary art and rampant eclecticism throughout the rooms. Choose 502, a loft-like suite that comes with its own huge terrace, proper bathrooms stuffed with Rik Rak gardenia-scented products, and a doll’s house that doubles as a record player, complete with vinyls. How ridiculously pretty. Even if you live in London, check in. firmdalehotels.com

  • 11 Cadogan Gardens

    A discreetly luxurious hotel for the well-heeled traveller who appreciates impeccable service in the best location and good, unpretentious food – the kind served in its restaurant, Hans’ Bar and Grill. Appealing both to the old school and the new guard, the hotel retains all the intimacy and charm of a private club from a more civilised era, with its courtyard, its library with leather-bound volumes and honesty bar, and mirrored Versailles-worthy private dining room. Spread across four red-brick townhouses in Chelsea, close to Sloane Square, there is no better base to explore all the villagey charms of the Royal Borough, whether scouring the antiques, interiors and independent stores on Pimlico Road, including Rose Uniacke and Christopher Butterworth, or browsing the crammed shelves at John Sandoe Books, the tiny bookstore on Blacklands Terrace. 11cadogangardens.com

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