Girlfriends’ Getaway to London

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 contageous. It is rich with non-stop adventures, iconic and contemporary scenery and a vibing artistry found on the street and in the museums.
COMO The Halkin
DREAM
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 treat. 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 Ametza with Arzak Instruction. Then let the masseuse treat you to a one of kind Indian Head massage.
The Stafford
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 unforgettable. 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
DINE
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 treat 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 unique Michelin starred dishes. Each is an artful creation using unique spices, which artfully also hang in beakers from the ceiling. Tasting menus are always a lot of food, but do not pass up the dessert donuts.
Poppie’s Fish & Chips Photo courtesy of Poppie’s
You can’t do fancy meals all the time that’s why East London food exists. Not exactly. But the area does play home to all the English classics you’d expect.   Stop by 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, the line starts the moment they open their doors.
Christine & Kerri with Sauly
Leo and Alex Guarneri, Cheese Mongers
Another classic stop is the English Restaurant famous for its traditional savory meat pies. 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.
DO
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. Hullo!
B Bakery with Haymans Gin Photo by Christina Cindrich
B Bakery’s Double decker bus tour is not to be missed. Not only will you be able to capture all the historical highlights London has in store, 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. 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 lavs – they’re quite cheeky.

Restrooms at Sketch

 

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