6/16/08

London for Honeymoon couples!

Subject: LONDON'S CALLING – Shopping and TravelWhen it comes to excitement, choice of entertainment and a vibrant multi cultural environment, very few places can top the vast, intriguing city of London. If you don’t want to lie on a beach for your honeymoon, and would rather an active, action packed trip, then London could be the spot for you. On a recent trip shooting a fashion story for Confetti, I checked out what’s on offer for honeymooning couples this time of year. First bonus for picking London as your destination is the short plane ride. London is less than an hour from Dublin with a great selection of airports to choose from.I found staying in a central part of the city was essential. Considering the astronomical taxi prices in London, I chose to spend my extra cash on a good hotel room in the heart of the city. I splashed out and stayed in the Langham Hotel www.langhamhotels.com situated in Portland row, just off Regent st. I lounged around my room late into the morning, safe in the knowledge that I was just a quick stroll away from the shopping heartland.If you really want to make it a special honeymoon, you can book their luxury Infinity suite – one of the priciest penthouse suits in London. The infinity suite is a beautiful, lavish collection of rooms with the ultimate in luxury - an infinity bath with controlled mood lighting. I moved from the Langham Hotel to The Portobello Hotel for the second part of my stay. This really is a ‘unique boutique’ hotel experience. Each room has a different theme from Moroccan to oriental, so enjoy a hedonistic escape by moving from room to room each night! Check out the exquisite round bed room if you get the chance. This hotel wont break the bank and will definitely spice up any honeymoon!!www.portobellohotel.com for a full list of rooms and price list. Another highly recommended hotel is The Gore Hotel. www.gorehotel.co.uk . Situated in Queen’s Gate in fashionable Kensington its my own personal favourite Hotel in London. It’s tiny as hotels go, but the vintage décor and ornate styled rooms are so authentic it takes you back to days gone by, without suffering any of the hardships. The owner has a passionate interest in collecting art and antiques and the atmosphere is a cross between a slightly decadent, gentleman’s club and a Parisian brassiere. Too chic and kitsch for words.Who says you cant shop on your honeymoon? Head for Carnaby street off Regent st. (Behind Liberties) Despite the unhealthy amount of surfing shops, there are some little gems within this area. Check out Kingly Court – an outdoor shopping courtyard just off Carnaby Street where young upcoming designers show their collections.

Check out www.visitbritain.ie Their London shopping guide written in association with Lonely Planet helped me navigate my way through the maze of London streets and find some nuggets of style in an otherwise crowded commercial city.Covent Garden / West End is still my favourite area to hang out.
One of my favourite shoe shops is on Marmouth st (just off the seven dial) - Post Mistress - the best in stylish shoes! The wonderful Coco de le Mer is also along this street.There are some really cool one offs around this area like All Saints and the Adidas Store next door so my advise is to wander around each area and expect the unexpected! Around every corner there will be a cute little boutique or at worst, another H&M!!
An area I wasn’t familiar with, but was recommended to me for shopping is Draycott Ave which runs parallel to Sloane Ave ( Paul Smith, Kenzo & Bliss Spa in addition to the usual designer suspects) Draycott Ave itself hosts Jimmy Choo, Jean Paul Gaultier & Betsy Johnson among others. Of course, by Slone sq you’ll find Manolo Blahnik 49-51 Old Church St and Philip Treacy 69 Elizabeth St for the best in designer accessories.If you’re lucky enough to incorporate a weekend into your stay, then you’re spoilt for choice for markets. Camden, Brick Lane, Greenwich, Petticoat Lane and Portobello. All worth a stroll on a Saturday or Sunday. London’s night life is varied. There are so many great places to suit romantic cocktailed evenings. My first recommendation is Rockwell @ The Trafalgar Hotel, Trafalgar Square. For remarkable cocktails and swish surroundings , it’s a cool kind of place playing a mix of baleric beats to lounge to house music. Tsars @ The Langham hotel (formerly Langam Hilton) Regent St. is heaven on earth for vodka drinkers everywhere. Lush, five star surroundings with intimate, private candle lit plush seating. I could have stayed here all night sipping on the largest vodka menu I’ve ever witnessed!Absolute Ice Bar 31-33 Heddon St London w1b 4bn is another uber cool spot. The walls, bar, tables, and even your own personal glass with a vodka cocktail is made out of the purest ice. It’s operated in 40 minute time slots Entrance fee 12 GBP (15 GBP Thu,Fri,Sat evenings), but you get your Designer thermal cape to keep you warm on entry ,Personal ice glass- Choice of Vodka cocktail in your ice glassBooking is highly recommended due to current demand. You can book a 40 min visit to ABSOLUT ICEBAR LONDON on it's own or you can combine it with a booking for lunch, dinner or just drinks in Below Zero the adjacent warm lounge/restaurant - Below Zero. Well worth a visit.My top spot at the moment has to be Lounge Lovers in Liverpool st. Owned by the same people who brought us Les Trois Garcons restaurant in the same area. It’s funky, flash and a somewhere to spend an great evening lounging and style spotting.
Of course there is always 1940’s inspired Pigalle – Vince Powers beautifully styled supper Club in Picadilly. There is entertainment there every night with a special kind of cabaret show on Saturdays. It’s quite a unique place to have dinner as it’s the west end without any of the tackiness. The Gilt Champagne Lounge, which opened its doors at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel is another great spot to enjoy a bit of decadence. Set in the heart of Knightsbridge it’s a champagne bar with style and a cool relaxed atmosphere. +44 (0) 1483 222 676.A friend of mine lives on the waterfront, near Butlers Warf, Tower Bridge so I took a stroll along the promenade and was encouraged to see these old areas of London being developed to such high standards. The famous Le Pont De La Tour restaurant is here, (36d Shad Thames Butlers Wharf London SE1 2YE ph 020 74038403) where Clinton and Blair had lunch. All a little rich for my blood, I went back towards town and enjoyed lunch at 202 Café - at Nicole Farhi 202 Westbourne Grove. This place has all the essential elements: brilliant for celeb spotting, positively dripping in London cool and no bookings: serve Fish & Chips & Tuna Burgers. Another great spot is the small but chic Tartine. South Kensington 0207 589 4981 - They serve everything from prawns, steak, roasted veg, pate . . .whatever is simple to serve on a thin toasted slice of Poilane Bread (a tartine) with great individual house salads, (Around £10 for both)Tartine is the kind of place where you would see Liz Hurley having a 'Tartine' with no bread! Ah the magic of London! I really felt there was something new and fresh about London after my latest visit. When I spoke to friends who have been living in the city for years about this new sensation they agreed that there is an unprecedented vibrancy in the city at the moment. London is a great place to visit and maybe even a great place to live. There was definitely something in the air In London & I came home looking forward to my next visit, maybe my own honeymoon!

Essential numbers:
Visit Britain18 19 College GreenDublin 2Tel 00 353 1 646 1817Mobile 00 353 87 9077656www.visitbritain.ie Entertainment listings:Time Out London www.timeout.com/london
Restaurant Booking ServiceTop Table - jump the queue and special offers 020 7821 8454www.toptable.co.uk Places to stay five starLangham Hotel LondonPortland PlaceRegent StLondon W1B 1JAT ++44 (0)207 636 1000www.langhamhotels.com
The Portobello Hotel22 Stanley GardensLondonW11 2NGTel ++ 44 (0)20 7727 2777www.portobello-hotel.co.uk
The Gore Hotel - 190 Queen's Gate, Lon don SW7 5EX, Tel ++ 44 (0) 20 7584 6601, www.gorehotel.co.uk

Ten of the best shops in London
Agent Provocateur16 Pont STREET sw1020 7235 02296 Broadwick St W10207439 0229(lingerie) Alexander Mc Queen4-5 Old Bond St W1020 7355 0088(Designer)Concrete35 Marshall st W1020 7434 4333(designer: Preen, Robert Cary-Williams)Gina189 Slone Square SW1020 7235 29329 Old Bond street W1020 7409 7090(shoes)Labour of love192 Upper streetIslington N1020 7354 1316(independent designers collective)Preen5 Portobello Green281 Portobello Rd W10020 8968 1542(designer)Patrick Cox129 Slone Street SW1020 7730 8886(shoes)Question Air229 Westbourne Grove W11020 7221 816385 Dulwich Village SE21020 8299 425286 Church Road Barnes Sw13020 87481772(designer: Joseph,Vivian Westwood,ghost,Paul Smith etc) Tatty Devine236 Brick Lane E2020 7739 900957b Brewer St W1020 7434 2257(Art gallery ,Independent designer) Vivian Westwood6 Davies St W144 Conduit St W1430 Kings Road SW10020 7352 6551(designer) Club: SO UKTeatro Club & restaurant93 - 107 Shaftsbury Ave, London W1D SDY Tel ++44 (0) 2074943040www.teatrosoho.co.uk Lonsdale48 Lonsdale rd W11020 7228 1517Glamorous hip cocktail barOpen til midnight mon-satSketch9 Conduit stW10870 777 44882x bars, 2x restaurants, club. wall to wall glamour.Swarovski crystal bathrooms!

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