london Travel Guide

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Browse & Buy Banksy Street Art at ME London

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  Site Where: 336-337 The Strand, London, United Kingdom, WC2R 1HA
April 24, 2014 at 6:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

You’ve already had a chance to browse street art at ME London last year, but while at the time you were able to make some yourself, this month you can browse and buy: from today, an exhibition entitled “Stealing Banksy?” will display over $8 million of Banksy artworks in the hotel’s Norman Foster-designed space-age pyramid atrium.

The exhibition, “exploring the social, legal and moral issues surrounding the sale of street art”, includes pieces like ‘No Ball Games, ‘Liverpool Rat’, and ‘Balloon Girl’ (check them out here), which will all be auctioned off on April 27, with profits going to local charities.

Tickets are still available through this website and cost £17.50 ($25), which includes a charitable donation and a copy of ‘The Banksy Bulge’, a one-off Banksy newspaper created for the occasion.

We found a Vibe Room for just over $500 this coming Saturday, but special offers should be available if you are going to the exhibit by contacting the hotel directly.

[Image: Stealing Banksy]

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Sydney's 1888 Hotel Looks Good Enough to Frame

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  Site Where: 139 Murray Street, London, NSW, Australia
April 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

And you can get yourself easily in the picture: just step behind the frame (or ‘Selfie’ space as the hotel calls it) that hangs from one of the wooden beams in the lobby of this wool-storage facility turned hotel in Sydney's Pyrmont district, snap away, tag it #1888Hotel and it will appear on the screens near reception.

Since we know you’d much rather look at hotels than us, we’ll let the lobby itself have its close up, which has various seating areas (including a small restaurant section), a living tree, and a set of glass elevators that take you up through the four-story atrium to one of the 90 bedrooms.

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Spot Prince George, Mick Jagger, and More at Rosewood London’s Scarfes Bar

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  Site Where: 252 High Holborn, London, United Kingdom, WC1 7EN
April 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM | by | Comments (0)

Little George Alexander Louis of Cambridge may be making his Antipodean debut on the current royal tour (and looking as a cute as a button in the process, we might add), but closer to his home of Clarence House, the baby Prince can now also boast his first caricature at Rosewood London’s Scarfes Bar.

Drawn by cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe, Prince George is in good company for many reasons: his creator’s credentials range from illustrations for the New Yorker to Pink Floyd, and aside from his immediately family (including QEII and one of her corgis), he is surrounded by everyone from James Bond and Simon Cowell to the Rolling Stones and David Beckham across eight large canvases.

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Ready, Set, Book: Fera at Claridge's by Simon Rogan Opens Reservations

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  Site Where: Brook Street, London, United Kingdom, W1K 4HR
April 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

It might have been all about booze last week at the Connaught London, but food is the focus right now at sister hotel Claridge’s, a hop and a skip across Grosvenor Square away.

We told you late last year Simon Rogan would be taking over from Gordon Ramsay as the hotel’s restaurant chef, and now there is not only a name and an opening date, but also the ability to book a table. From today, as of 9am this morning UK time, both online and telephone reservations are open.

The restaurant will be called ‘Fera’ (Latin for wild), reflecting “both the primal influence of nature and the highly seasonal ingredients used in Rogan’s cooking”, and officially opens on Tuesday, May 6 (a big day of openings for London). The website shows lots of images of Rogan’s farm in Cumbria, as well as the above shot of his team at work planning the layout of the tables that will seat 90 guests in total. A private dining room will accommodate a maximum of 12 guests.

If you want to book, head to http://www.claridges.co.uk/fera/ or call +44 (0) 207 107 8888.

[Photo: Claridge's]

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol. 5: Ritz Paris & Connaught London

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  Site Where: Carlos Place, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
April 11, 2014 at 9:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

What happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same bar? In the case of Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at the Connaught London, and Colin Field, head bartender of the Ritz Paris, it’s a bringing together of styles, a list of delicious drinks as a result, and lucky for us, double the Confessions of a Hotel Bartender.

We stopped by the buzzing Connaught Bar to hear about Colin’s week-long residence in London and learned more about cocktails in an evening than we had in our entire lives, from molecular mixology being dead (in case you didn’t know already), to the story of an old Italian liqueur called ‘the Witch’, and of course, the perennial hangover-cure conundrum.

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Hotel Indigo Is Coming to the Barbican London

April 9, 2014 at 8:56 AM | by | Comments (0)

London is trying to keep up with New York when it comes to the number of Indigo Hotels it has: the Big Apple might have already made it to a list of five (future) hotels, but the UK capital is right behind with now number four, in the form of Hotel Indigo – Barbican.

A new-built and due to open in 2016, the Indigo will sit nicely between the current hotel at Tower Hill to the east and at Paddington and Earl’s Court to the west (for a little more on the post-war brutalist architectural experiment that is the Barbican, go here).

The hotel will have 101 guestrooms, a gym, and a restaurant in the arched cellars of a former brewery. There will be 35 apartments and office space in the complex as well. We just hope there will be lots of covetable furniture, and that rates will stay below the £200 ($335) mark.

[Rendering: Indigo Hotels]

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Firmdale's Flagship Ham Yard Hotel London Is Opening On June 1

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  Site Where: 1 Ham Yard, London, United Kingdom, W1D 7DT
April 8, 2014 at 8:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

When we walked past Ham Yard Hotel last week, we could spot furniture behind the large factory-style windows, signalling Firmdale’s future flagship is making good progress. From the fabric on the chairs to the bold patterned curtains, there was no mistaking Kit Kemp’s style even from a distance, and now we have a whole set of images to back that up.

They come alongside a planned opening on June 1, which means we’re in the homestretch until the time we can check out the 91 bedrooms and suites, eat in the restaurant, drink at the bar, and knock over some pins in that bowling alley. Images show a number of different designs: from bold blue / yellow / white and a rich chocolate brown with gold and cream (above), to vibrant pink and purple and a more subdued grey (below). Reservations have also opened.

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Now You Can 'Qbic for a Quid' Every Month

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  Site Where: 42 Adler Street, London, United Kingdom, E1 iEE
April 7, 2014 at 1:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

Although we weren't lucky enough to snag a £1 room when the Qbic London ran its recent promotion, we are pretty pleased to hear that we will have another chance: one a month, in fact.

Each month from here on, Qbic London will be offering 100 of their funky, Cubi-style guest rooms at £1 each. That gets you free WiFi, a light brekkie, and evening snack, too.

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Our First Visit to Shangri-La at the Shard London

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  Site Where: 31 St. Thomas Street, London, United Kingdom, SE1 9QU
April 7, 2014 at 8:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

Having waited for so long, we were pretty psyched to check out Shangri-La at the Shard last week. One thing we can say for sure now that we’ve been inside? It will be unlike any other hotel in the city – the Asian-influenced design and skyscraper setting is more Tokyo or Hong Kong than London, even as you look out over the British rooftops.

Arrival happens through the ground floor lobby on St. Thomas Street, which has a reception desk, small seating area, and around the corner, coffee shop and patisserie LÁNG. We liked the mural made out of coffee cups and saucers (see below for a picture), and as the final furniture arrives, LÁNG will also get outdoor seating, between the Shard and the escalator that runs up to the concourse level of London Bridge station.

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Going Up to the Dizzying Heights of Shangri-La at the Shard London

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  Site Where: 31 St. Thomas Street, London, United Kingdom, SE1 9QU
April 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM | by | Comments (0)

About a month from now, Shangri-La Hotels will finally cut the ribbon on its long in the works skyscraper hotel at the Shard in London. Ahead of the May 6 opening, we packed ourselves into a construction lift - high-visibility gear, hard hat and all - for a first look at what you can expect between floors 34 and 52 of the Renzo Piano-designed landmark.

As we heard when reservations opened a few weeks back (opening rates start at £450 / $750), the ground floor lobby facing St. Thomas Street looks nearly finished, but some changes to furniture and set up are still to be made. We saw the sky lobby at level 35, which hits you with head-on views of the City and St. Paul’s, all the way west towards Westminster, the second you step out of the express lifts.

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Ritz Paris' Hemingway Bar Will Be at the Connaught London Next Week

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  Site Where: Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
April 2, 2014 at 9:06 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you haven’t caught Colin Field, head bartender of Hemingway at Hotel Ritz Paris, at 30,000 feet on Air France, next week you will have the chance to drink his cocktails at lower altitude. Much lower in fact, as he will be setting up at the Bar in the Connaught London, during a week-long residence from April 7 to April 13.

Colin will be joining Agostino Perrone, director of mixology for the Connaught Bar, to create a special drinks menu that brings together their individual styles.

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Montcalm Is Opening Two New London Hotels, We Think

April 1, 2014 at 8:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

And so the list of new London hotels continues to grow, with this time two new properties from a local brand that might not be familiar to many: Montcalm Hotels. The group currently has a total of four hotels in the West End and the City, but seems to be set on expanding with one hotel in Shoreditch and one on Finsbury Square, just west of Liverpool Street.

The latter, The Royal London House by Montcalm London City (there’s a mouthful), appears and disappears depending on where you look on the website. The former, M By Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City, is headlined as “one of London’s most notable hotels, […] essentially the spot to be in London”, which is a big statement for a hotel that isn’t open yet. According to Montcalm, it should also open near the “Silicone Roundabout”. Is that the plastic surgery equivalent of the Old Street tech area we don’t know about? Perhaps a little better copy writing is all that is needed.

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