Buckingham Palace Photo by Angela Fairhurst
By Kerri Zane
At one time in history, London was the largest city in the world. Though it has been usurped by new megacities, it remains one of the greatest places for unforgettable girlfriend getaway experiences. The energy of the city is late, electric and contagious. It is rich with non-stop adventures, iconic and contemporary scenery and vibrant artistry found on the streets and in the museums.
COMO The Halkin
Staying at COMO The Halkin
in the ultra-posh Belgravia section of London is a very modern 5-star experience. When you walk through the doors of this beautifully renovated space you know you’re in for a high-end stay. Sit at the lobby bar with your girlfriends and take in the sophisticated scene or don your bathrobes for a unique basque-inspired in-room high tea from on-property. Then let the masseuse treat you to a one of kind Indian Head massage.
For a completely different type of luxury spend a night at the 380-year-old The Stafford
. It’s nestled in the tony St. James neighborhood and is truly an unforgettable experience. Hands down this property has the best mattresses and pillows I have ever slept on at a hotel.
Old Game Bird Restaurant – Grouse photo courtesy of Old Game Bird
Everything about The Stafford wreaks sophisticated Brit, including the year old Game Bird Restaurant. OR so you think….Master executive chef James Durrant, who worked alongside Gordon Ramsay and Jason Atherton, has given the classic menu his own unique twist. Do not turn up your nose to a taste of Grouse and definitely order the Free Range Chicken Kiev. It’s Durrant’s mom’s old recipe, but with a decidedly delicious surprise inside…ask for a bib!
Chef Sergio Sanz Blanco
At Como the Halkin you’re in for a feast when you indulge in the multi-course tasting menu at the Basque-inspired Ametsa with Arzak Instruction. Under the direction of top female chef Elena Arzak, young Chef Sergio Sanz Blanco turns out Michelin starred dishes. Each is a creation using unique spices, which also artfully hang in beakers from the ceiling. Tasting menus are always a lot of food, but be sure to leave some room for the dessert donuts.
Christine & Kerri with Sauly
Since you can’t do fancy meals ALL the time, East London is the place to go for Mom & Pop food shops. With the help of Eating Europe
tours, you can get a VIP experience at Poppies
on Hanbury Street for traditional fish and chips. It’s been a cult classic since the day the shop opened its doors in 1952. Ask the fry master, Sauly, to whip you up a special batch. Get there early, they open at 11 am and the line starts the moment they open their doors.
Leo and Alex Guarneri, Cheese Mongers
Then top off your East London visit at the House of Androuet
for a wine and cheese tasting from Leo and Alex Guarneri, the two cutest cheesemonging Parisian brothers in all of London.
Taking a walk after a healthy meal is a wise recommendation and when it’s a special tour led by the world’s best concierge, Frank Laino, you’re in luck. Laino is one of the best reasons to stay at The Stafford. His secrets of St. James walking tour allows you to visit places no one else can access.
Lock & Co.
On our visit we stopped in at Lock and Co. the world’s oldest hat shop. It’s the worlds 3rd oldest family business in the world and a Royal warrant holder. We had our heads measured using the same instruments used for over 200 years. Lock and Co has also crowned famous luminaries such as Charlie Chaplin, The Duke of Windsor, Oscar Wilde, Sir Winston Churchill and David Beckham.
B Bakery with Haymans Gin Photo by Christina Cindric
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is not to be missed. Not only will you be able to capture all the historical highlights London has to offer, you and your friends will also learn a thing or two about Brittany’s favorite libation…Gin? We did the afternoon tour and were served a load of beautiful tea cakes and learned how to make three Haymer’s Gin mixed drinks by a lovely chap named Zack.
It was back in the 18th century that the Duchess of Bedford’s belly started growling daily just around 4pm. Not wanting to eat alone, she invited her friends to dress up and come over to her parlor for a service of tiny sandwiches and tea. It stuck with the country. Today’s Londoners have taken on afternoon tea with aplomb. There are British teas, Indian teas, teas for brides and men-only teas to name a few.
Tea at Sketch
For a perfectly pink High Tea, step into the Alice-in-Wonderland-like Michelin starred Sketch on Conduit Street. It is THE ultra-sensory experience of sight, sound and taste. And do not leave without checking out the loos – they’re quite cheeky.
Restrooms at Sketch