SW1X 7RL Travel Guide
There is an additional reason to make it over to the top floor of London’s The Berkeley Hotel these days. Yes, there is the rare rooftop pool (synchronized swimming anyone?) and quiet courtyard garden (for winter cinemas), but now also a brand new Bamford Haybarn Spa.
We swung by to see how the original Cotswolds health retreat translates to a central London location and liked a lot of what we saw. This isn’t a glitz-filled space with marble and gold everywhere that you may expect in many of the city’s high-end spas. Broad wooden planks painted white and grey tones line the walls, with potted lavender bringing bright pops of green and purple. Products are from the Bamford Body Collection, with skincare by British company Oskia. Options range from individual treatments (say, a 55-minute de-stress massage at £100/$160) to a full-day spa experience, including five treatments, lunch, and a gift certificate, at £570/$920 (a figure that does make us gulp a bit).
While we've been busy tracking the new hotels opening in London for the Olympics, we've completely forgot about what the existing hotels will be doing when the Games are in town. However, The Berkeley has commandeered our attention with their latest Olympic-inspired offerings--synchronized swimming lessons.
The hotel has partnered up with Aquabatix, an award-winning synchronized swimming team who will host a weekly master class during July and August in the hotel's open-air pool. The lessons will be available both to hotel guests and the general public.
Learning key movements of the sport, such as the “egg beater kick” and “sculling,” those enjoying the fun and athletic class will be able to perform a complete routine following the 90-minute lesson. The session is completed with a choreographed routine set to accompanying music and attendees are special given Berkeley swimming caps to take home.
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One of London's ongoing summer events, a Rooftop Film Club hosted at a popular Hoxton bar, inspired something of a cult-like fervor among local film buffs. Piggybacking on Londoners' love of all things cinema and all things, uh, rooftop, is the Berkeley hotel, who is transplanting the concept from East to West and taking full advantage of their posh terrace climes (not to mention outdoor lamp heaters).
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As Fashion Week migrates from New York to London, Team Hotel Chatter thought it an appropriate time to sample The Berkeley Hotel's kitschy, but undeniably cute, Prêt-à-Portea. The sartorially themed tea is inspired by major designers from London and beyond, with attempts made to capture their aesthetic in the form of twee cookies and cakes.
The Berkeley is drawing people to its gym, and not for its treadmills. The Knightsbridge hotel transformed its gym and spa's terrace into a lush British countryside, complete with birch trees and lavender, in the middle of the city.
And instead of burning calories on the elliptical, you can order from a picnic menu, which includes blanket-friendly fare like iced tea and strawberries and cream, while you pop a squat on the secret rooftop garden.
There's a rather shiny new present waiting under the tree at The Berkeley Hotel in London*--Jaguar's C-X75 supercar which was just unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this past fall. The superfast jet-powered car is hanging out at the hotel through New Year's Eve.
The C-X75 is capable of performing the 0-60mph run in 3.4 seconds and top speeds of more than 200mph. Its electric motors are backed up by range-extending mini gas turbines.
Sleeping in the house of this Shaguar will cost about £490.00 a night next week, before New Year's Eve. Sadly, the hotel does not have any Jaguar car service for you to tool around in. However, there are several chauffeur-driven Mercedes on hand for airport transfers. Those services start at £97 for a smooth ride in the E-Class Mercedes. But someday, that Jaguar will be ours. Oh yes, it will be ours.
*We know, these Christmas puns are getting old.
While his protégé Gordon Ramsay isn’t doing so well, non-celeb-but-actual chef Pierre Koffman has just opened his new restaurant at the Berkeley to much fanfare from Londoners (we saw it written up in about three different places during our trip the other week.)
It’s a little late – the place was originally scheduled for a June opening – but we guess fine tuning the meun of pigs’ trotters and internal organs took a little longer than expected.
Anyway, the restaurant is simply called Koffman’s, it has 120 seats and although the menu does have some of his “classic” dishes such as braised pig’s trotter with morels (um, yum?), apparently he has “adopted a more relaxed, informal style while still incorporating his classic, provincial French culinary roots”.
We're having one of those days where, utterly sick of all the hotel hype and hotel delays going on in the hotel world, we've decided to seek out something more stable. And we're doing it by admiring the luggage tags of The Berkeley Hotel in London.
The hotel sent us some paper versions of the luggage tags designs that have been circulated since 1934 (the hotel actually opened long before that at the turn of the 19th century.) Each tag includes the hotel's logo design from a particular era, which was not only used on the luggage tags but throughout the hotel. On the backside of the tag, the year of the design is listed.
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Not all guests, mind – because not all guests are created equal. The iPads will only go for the richies staying in the suites, and only specific suites – the Conservatory, Berkeley or Chelsea suites.
if you are one of those richies, though, you’ll get access to your own iPad for your entire stay, on which you can read the paper at breakfast (jammy fingers + iPad = disaster waiting to happen, surely), check out tips from the concierge and play pre-loaded games.
Posh food alert at The Berkeley Hotel in London, and it’s a pretty big coup they’ve pulled off. Chef Pierre Koffman will be opening an eponymous restaurant (ie Koffman's) at the hotel in June, and while you may not have heard of him before (apart from surmising that he’s French, obvs), it’s a big deal.
Koffman used to run La Tante Claire, which was one of the few restaurants in the UK to earn three Michelin stars – but he closed it in 2004, and the only return to the scene since then was a pop-up restaurant on the roof of Selfridges for 10 days last year.
The restaurant will go where the Boxwood Café (closing this month) is at the moment, and according to the press release:
This new venture will see Koffmann move away from his much applauded haute cuisine menu, and into a more relaxed, informal style while still embracing his classic, provincial, French culinary roots.
Ladies: can you afford to blow hundreds (or thousands) on couture? Can you fit into straight-from-the-runway sample sizes? If your answer to one or both of these questions is a resounding hells no, the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge (London) has an answer for you: the Pret-a-Portea afternoon tea service in the hotel's Caramel Room serves edible versions of this season's designer collections. Seriously.
The current menu, updated every six months, currently features "cakes and fancies" that are sugary replicas of designs by Christian Dior, Jimmy Choo and Alexander McQueen. The hotel's pastry chefs hit the fashion shows every season and come up with inventive ways to incorporate runway looks into the sweets for Pret-a-Portea, which you can then stuff in your mouth for £35 per person.
Can someone please tell us why "Sex and the City: The Movie" premiered in London and not New York? Especially after the lengths New York hotels went to to promote the film with all sorts of packages for the Carrie and Co. wannabes?
To the best of our knowledge, London was only able to come up with one Sex and the City-themed package, at The Berkeley, which can be booked on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights through December.
For $807 per night (including VAT), the stay includes access to the complete box set of SATC DVDs, in-room cocktails and lots of goodies, like chocolate handbags, iced shoe cookies and cupcakes; plus, New York "beauty essentials" and a SATC book. Each guest also gets a Jimmy Choo handbag compact with invites to hang in the Sloane Street Jimmy Choo's VIP area.
Which is great and all, but can London give us a tour of filming locations on a double-decker bus? Or treat us to treats at Magnolia Bakery? We didn't think so. Which is why the decision to debut the movie in London over New York will forever confuse us more than SJP's choice of headwear at the premiere.