Sari’s Family Getaway – Part 1: London
By Sari Freeman
This was our first ever girl’s only trip! When Alissa (my youngest,), graduated from high school, I was determined to have quality time with my now, grown up daughters (Jenny is the eldest). As luck would have it, their “mum” has connections in London!! With two fabulous hotels St. James Hotel & Club and Flemings Mayfair, accompanied by our new “Destination Experience”: Chauffeur Drive Britain, I put a wonderful visit to together!
Upon arrival, we were met in style by Chauffeur Drive Britain with a Mercedes S Class! We were whisked to The Flemings Mayfair where Branca, (Guest Relations Manager and secret weapon) welcomed us with open arms! We immediately felt the love! I hadn’t stayed since their gorgeous redo. The new Lobby is far more chic and welcoming! Arriving early, we took a stroll around Mayfair, while they finished preparing our amazing two bedroom apartment! This was an ideal set up for us, staying three nights, we were able to spread out, unpack and repack after a few purchases!! What you really must know about Flemings’ is that it is one of the only hotels that boasts apartments and there are ten, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with kitchens and luxurious spaces.
There were several things we needed to do (aside from shopping): Visit the Tate Modern, see a show, experience the Eye and a traditional afternoon tea. We were in town 4 nights so had the time to do them all! Alissa, the most passionate about musicals, wanted to see Kinky Boots and it was great fun and as they say in England “well done!!”
We set out to conquer the town! The first day we were on our own and did a lot of walking! We found a lovely restaurant in the Shepherds Market area a few short blocks away, called Al Sultan. This little Lebanese restaurant was ideal for a light dinner where we shared all the wonderful appetizers. The next morning, we had a gorgeous breakfast at Flemings in their new Ormer restaurant where both Henrik Muehle, our remarkable General Manager and Colin Exton, our fabulous Director of Sales & Marketing welcomed us! They made us feel right at home! We loved the breakfast, it was scrumptious and the next day, our server, remembered our names, likes and dislikes. Now that is service!
Chauffeur Drive Britain sent Gary to pick us up along with Pepe the guide who was amazing!! I had requested a trip out to Windsor Castle and due to restrictions that only their guides can take you through. Pepe prepped us while in the car on the way. We loved it and after the tour, we dined at The Crown, a wonderful restaurant in an historic building in nearby Bray. Then we had originally planned to go to Oxford but the girls talked Pepe and they decided on the spot to return to London to do a bit of touring there instead. So Pepe gave us a brief “Jack the Ripper” and a bit of a “street art” tour too! He was excellent and wonderful with young travelers. Afterward, we went to a very cool restaurant: www.dishoom.com. It was very good but it gets very busy so you really must go early to avoid a long line!
For our last night, we moved over to the St. James’s Hotel & Club, our quintessentially British Five-Star boutique hotel., They had just completed a beautiful soft goods refurbishment. The new fabrics were a combination of wool, silk and velvet, in lovely muted tones with a pop of blue and green giving the hotel a fresher more inviting look! Jeroen Suijker, our wonderful DOS, along with Madeleine Calon, our fabulous head concierge (first female concierge in the UK) and VP of the Concierge Society in England greeted us at reception! Anjana Pandya, our General Manager was traveling, but left some lovely gifts for the girls and welcome goodies!! They escorted us up to the penthouse (with exclusive elevator access) to the Westminster Suite that features a stunning terrace (the largest of 10) with gorgeous landscaping, where we proceeded to open our bottle of champagne and made a toast to the skyline of London!
Our trip was outstanding and London is a truly fabulous destination for culture, history, theater, dining and of course, shopping!