October 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Remember the “Tarantula and Scorpion Cocktail" we told you about? You know- the one infused with oven-baked tarantula and scorpion to add woodsy notes to the Courvoisier punch? Well it doesn't stop there. Alex Kratena, the award-winning mixologist at the Langham London's Artesian bar, keeps outdoing himself. His latest concoction for Halloween? Kratena took the classic Vieux Carré Cocktail, originally created in 1938 by bartender Walter Bergeron at NOLA's legendary Monteleone Hotel, and added something positively ghoulish: a side of toasted Colombian giant ants and Mopani worms. Artesian’s creepy-crawly Vieux Carré is made with the finest cognac and rye whiskey aged with infused vermouth, bitters and herbal liqueur, served over a crystal clear ice ball. Available at the Langham London through the entire month of October 2011 for £16.50.
October 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
2012 will be a big year for Britain, says Travel Agent Magazine. London is prepping for a series of blockbuster events, starting with the Queen's Jubilee in June, honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne (can we say gigantic flotilla on the Thames?) If you're eager to get in on the action, and also partake in Olympic fever, it's best to book your hotel room ASAP. The USA Today reports that "hotels are expected to fill about 92% of their rooms, which will mean many sold-out nights"-- according to a new forecast from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. "And that's despite a number of new hotels that have opened, including Dorchester Collection's tony 45 Park Lane in Mayfair and Starwood's trendy W in the heart of Leicester Square."
Looking for a hotel in London or the surrounding area? Five Star Alliance has a number of recommendations- whether you want a family-friendly boutique hotel or an opulent palace on the Thames. There are also a slew of four-star hotels available.
Pictured: The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments.
September 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
When The Savoy opened its gilded gates in London last year after a staggering £220 million restoration project, London couldn't stop talking about it. (And when we dropped by for a visit earlier this year, there was an impressive line of visitors gawking at the famous bars and lobby.) A lot of ink has been spilled about the "most ambitious hotel restoration in British history"-- but did you know that it was also an eco-friendly one? (Fairmont-- who manages the hotel-- gets serious props for its green programs.) The Savoy is all about sustainable luxury, having installed the latest in green technology in the hotel, and having launched various sustainable initiatives. To show guests the green side of London, the hotel has launched "The Savoy Elements Package." Here's what it includes:
* Overnight accommodation
* Return transfers in a luxury hybrid vehicle from a London airport or station
* A “Savoy Green Butler” to assist with requests such as packing and making travel arrangements as well as advising on green initiatives within the hotel and places of interest around London
* Welcome green gift on arrival
* Choice of inspirational 3-hour walking green tour of London
* Complimentary valet car parking if arriving by hybrid vehicle
* Complimentary use of a BMW bicycle with helmet provided
* An organic, 3-course dinner in either the River Restaurant with a pre-dinner, biodynamic cocktail
* Organic breakfast with selected organic juices
* A one-day travelcard allowing free use of London's public transport network
* A donation of £10 to London charity Thames 21, on behalf of the guest
* An organic, gourmet picnic hamper and blanket can be arranged at an additional cost
* Details of outdoor activities, including heritage sites, nature walks, cycle and jogging routes, wildlife centres, conservation programmes and community projects for volunteering are available through the Concierge
Rates from £825 per night, based on double occupancy and subject to availability.
September 22, 2011
By: Christopher Roney
Claridge's and children go together like a horse and carriage. Claridge's Mayfair Hotel is offering a new child-friendly package of toys and games to keep your kids entertained while you enjoy their fine dining or luxury spa options or just want to lie down and have a nap. The kit includes an adventure checklist of things to do around the hotel or in the room, like riding the escalator or brushing your teeth, a card game called “I Insist,” wind-up flying butterflies, and a Make Your Own Hotel kit that allows you to, well, make your own hotel with the cunning use of stickers.
And in case you’re a fan of reality tv, Claridge’s can entertain you, too, when you dine at Gordon Ramsay, the restaurant imagined by the new Chef/Reality Star. Starting a new series where he investigates and fixes mismanaged hotels, Gordon Ramsay will be traveling the world to examine poor hotel properties. At this fine dinig experience, you can judge for yourself how he stacks up against his own image as hotel aficionado.
Departing from the traditional model of a business hotel, Claridge’s Mayfair Hotel is making itself a great destination for families as well.