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London’s Connaught hotel has been busy recently. It opened a smashing new Champagne Room. Its chef, Hélène Darroze, was just named the Veuve Cliquot World’s Best Female Chef. No wonder it needs to calm down.
Hot on the heels of Trump SoHo launching meditation lessons, the Aman Spa at the Connaught is doing the same. However, it’s going one better than Trump – its daily classes are free.
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Mee Restaurant at the Belmond Copacabana Palace
Once upon a time, we wondered whether in-house restaurants had any effect on your hotel choice. As hotels continue to push their offerings in an effort to compete with local establishments and become part of the city's scene, hotel restaurants around the world continue to get better and better.
Two awards were handed out this week that show the restaurant industry is taking notice. Down south, MEE Restaurant at the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio, known for its "sophisticated pan-Asian cuisine," received a Michelin star in the first edition of the Michelin Guide Rio de Janeiro & São Paolo. It was one of six restaurants to be honored in the first edition of the Michelin Guide to cover South America.
Summer in London can mean only one thing: picnics in the parks. Hyde Park, specifically, for sarnies and champagne with Speaker’s Corner in the distance.
Every summer, hotels get together picnic packages and hampers, and the first to land of 2015 is from The Arch London, right by Hyde Park at Marble Arch. You could pick up your lunch at Pret a Manger, but it might be nicer to go with something like this – a Best of British-inspired selection from the hotels’ Hunter 486 restaurant.
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Whether before in New York, or now in London, the arrival of Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibit, has been hard to miss, both for its rave reviews and the impossibility of getting tickets. The retrospective opened on March 14 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, and while “tickets still available” is listed on the website (in all caps, for that matter), as we write this we cannot even get the “buy online” page to load.
The answer to getting inside in the near future may involve a stay in a hotel, one where McQueen spent a lot of his time: Claridge’s. From now until May 17, the hotel has a “Savage Beauty at Claridge’s” package available, which gets you an overnight stay at the hotel and tickets to the exhibit. When you check in, there will be a bottle of champagne waiting for you, as well as a copy of the specially commissioned book “Alexander McQueen”.
Savage Beauty is the largest McQueen retrospective to date, bringing together over 200 pieces of his work. If you’re going the Claridge’s route, you’re looking at a starting price from £560 ($835) a night. A full price ticket – if you can get hold of one – is £16 ($24) per adult. We’ll just hit refresh on the booking page yet again…
[Savage Beauty photo via Claridge's: Duck feather dress - The Horn of Plenty, A/W 2009-10 - Alexander McQueen. Butterfly headdress of hand-painted turkey feathers - La Dame Bleue,S/S 2008 - Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen. Tulle and lace dress with veil and antlers - Widows of Culloden, A/W 2006–07- Alexander McQueen. Room photo: Claridge's]
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Right around this time last year, we saw first-hand what happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same London hotel bar: a double feature of Confessions of a Hotel Bartender and six specially-selected cocktails to drink your way through.
The bar at The Connaught, where all of this went down, was packed during Colin Field’s week long residence in Agostino Perrone’s home, but it almost always is. Luckily, there is now this: the Champagne Room at the Connaught Bar – a small, secluded drinking spot accessible either through an internal passageway from the main bar or through a set of heavy curtains off of a quiet corridor behind the lobby.
Easter is on its way, and that means chocolate. And while not every hotel can have a chocolate store inside, they can at least do things like commission their own bespoke Easter eggs. At least, if they’re Claridge’s, they can.
The 2015 Claridge’s Easter Egg, which has officially been “unveiled” by pastry chef Ross Sneddon, is on sale in the hotel shop, McQueens, now. It’s an Art Deco egg, inspired by the checkerboard lobby. There are 100 limited edition eggs up for grabs – made of dark, milk and white Valrhona chocolate. Inside each is a stuffing of chocolate mini eggs (“quail eggs”, as Claridge’s calls them). It’s wrapped in monochrome Art Deco foil and put in an eau de nil box – so you will at least have those remains once you’ve massacred the egg.
The Metropolitan on London’s Park Lane used to be on fire. Everyone who was anyone hung out at the Met Bar, we couldn’t get enough of the sleek white rooms, and not a day went by without us fantasizing about eating at Nobu one day.
These days, the scene is a little quieter. But yesterday the hotel actually caught fire, causing the evacuation of 180 guests, 120 staff and needing 40 firefighters to battle the flames.Luckily, nobody was hurt, and it looks like there wasn’t a huge amount of damage.
There are hands on hotel General Managers, and then there are hands on hotel General Managers.
The new GM of the London Marriott Park Lane, Nicolas Kipper, is one of the latter.
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Raising the temperature in the Amber Suite
What to do when you’re a five star hotel in an egregiously expensive city which is one of the centers of the banking world which caused the global financial crisis, and your prices are such that only rich people and celebrities (because celebrities are all over your hotel) can afford to stay there?
You put on a play about wealth and complacency and capitalism and guilt… in one of your top suites.
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What to do on a weekend in London? Some might say, quite a lot. But in case you’re tired of
life what’s on offer in the capital, Brown’s Hotel has something else up its sleeve for you: an art tour.
Brown’s premise is that Mayfair’s solid gallery scene is being laid siege to by the all the posh shops and fashion brands moving in; so it’s introducing the tours to remind us what Mayfair should be about.
Each week, a different director from a participating gallery will whisk guests off and around the area, showing off their favorite shows and spaces – not just the obvious ones, but hidden galleries that open by appointment only in private offices.
The updates on The Beaumont, Corbin and King’s first hotel in London’s Mayfair, keep rolling in: earlier this summer we saw sculpture “ROOM” by Antony Gormley for the first time and found a series of interior renderings on the refreshed website.
Today, we have live online reservations from October 9 with an opening date that could be even earlier, details of room categories and prices, and actual images. Above is a Premier Room, though we were told this might not be the complete finished product as decoration (art, furniture, fine-tuning) is still in progress.
It gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect nonetheless, which in the Premier Room is 35 sq m (377 sq ft) of space with views over Mayfair through windows that actually open, something we love. Bathrooms are described as “mosaic marble” with underfloor heating and in some cases, bathtubs. Toiletries are by D R Harris. All rooms have complimentary WiFi and access to a car service for local travel.
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When we walked by Corbin and King’s upcoming The Beaumont hotel earlier this year, the white 1920s Art Deco former parking garage was gleaming in the pale February sun, except for one part of the hotel’s southern façade still obscured by scaffolding.
No more today, as you can see above: this is “ROOM”, a three-story sculpture of a crouching man by Antony Gormley, commissioned for the hotel. But “ROOM” is not “just” a piece of art; it's doing double duty as the bedroom – lined with fumed oak – of one of the hotel’s suites. There will be a total of 50 rooms, 13 studios, and 10 suites inside The Beaumont, and along with the unveiling of “ROOM”, we have a first few renderings of what the interiors will look like.