Category Archives: Hotels

Ockenden Manor Hotel and Spa: serious pampering

Walking into a really gorgeous hotel room can be such a bittersweet moment.

There is the initial reaction of ‘Wow! This is really, really nice….!’ and delight that this is actually all yours for the next 20 hours or so.

Then there is the sudden realisation of ‘Oh, but then I’m actually going to have to leave here and go home…’

Followed by: ‘Why can’t I live here forever?’

Such is the effect of walking into a room at Ockenden Manor Hotel and Spa, a 17th century old country house set in nine acres of land, which has recently invested millions in its new luxury spa facility neighbouring the hotel.

ockenden manor hotel and spa
Ockenden Manor – the spa building is a separate building a short walk away

While the rooms in the hotel itself are older and more traditional, I was staying in ‘Clara’, one of the newly-done up rooms above the spa itself. The room instantly gave off a feeling of impeccable luxury, but in a nice, comfortable, relaxing way, rather than a starchy, soulless, hotel sort of a way. Continue reading Ockenden Manor Hotel and Spa: serious pampering

Holborn Dining Room review: adds class to commuterville

The traffic-and-commuter-saturated High Holborn usually has little to recommend it, being full of gridlocked buses and office workers doing the twice-daily rat run to and from the tube.

But an grand oasis of opulent charm and fine dining has just arrived and is well worth putting off the journey home for.

Holborn Dining Room, which opened just a few weeks ago, is located the old Pearl Assurance building, so it has all the high-ceiling’d formal grandeur of a former financial institution complete with marbled pillars.

Holborn Dining Room
An improvement on an insurer’s offices, the building on High Holborn is 100 years old this year

In the far corner is the Holborn Delicatessen, open during the day for coffee, pastries and high-end deliciousnesses, while in the restaurant itself is a deli-style counter complete with hanging salamis and people busily slicing away at hunks of cured meat. Continue reading Holborn Dining Room review: adds class to commuterville

Cannizaro House Wimbledon: a country retreat in the city

Cannizaro House Wimbledon
Cannizaro House in Wimbledon. Sadly that isn’t my car.

There is something rather delightful about packing to spend the weekend in a hotel just four miles from your home.

It yields all the excitement and anticipation of a trip away without any of the angst and despair caused by realising you have to drive across London in the rush hour and then get snarled up on the Hammersmith flyover.

And the journey home! Many a relaxing weekend away has been ruined by roadworks on the M1, a lane closure on the A3, the sheer awfulness of driving through Wandsworth on a Sunday evening.

So to do away with all that unnecessary travelling seems to me to be utterly sensible.

Some would not agree. I recently had lunch with a tour operator who maintained that half the fun of a holiday is the fact you have to travel to get there, thus giving you a sense of achievement and new territories gained when you arrived at your destination.

To which I merely said ‘the journey home’ and ‘the South Circular’ and he paled and said I might have a point. Continue reading Cannizaro House Wimbledon: a country retreat in the city

New hotel for The Arts Club

It was off to the rather fabulous private members’ club The Arts Club  on Wednesday evening and the launch party for its new hotel. Sadly the hotel itself, with its 16 rooms and suites, will not be open for guests until 2015, but pictures and an explanatory talk by its designers, Sagrada, certainly whetted the appetite.

The opulently-appointed rooms, which will be on the second, third and fourth floors of the Georgian building, will be designed in a early 1900s-Europe style, with lashings of marble, stretched fabrics, hand-tufted rugs and ‘eglomise’ mirror panels (where the glass is gilded on the back with gold or metal leaf).

arts-club-mayfair-hotel

However the main draw is likely to be the superb location just off Piccadilly within a cocktail olive’s throw of the Ritz, Langans and the Wolseley, not to mention a free run of all that The Arts Club has to offer, including three restaurants of its own, a garden and a stunning bar and nightclub.

While launch party guests might have to wait a while for their chance to stay in what The Arts Club’s Alice Chadwyck-Healey  described as ‘high-quality, glamorous and discreet’ suites, the goodie bags of champagne, chocolates and a scented candle at least gave them the chance to enjoy a little bit of luxury at home. Possibly without the eglomise mirrors.

arts-club-mayfair-hotel

The Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4NP
020 7499 8581
www.theartsclub.co.uk

Sun, sea and romance on a Club Mark Warner singles holiday in Kos

Mark Warner holiday Kos
Mark Warner’s hotel in Latikira, Kos, Greece

Take dozens of single people, put them in a beach resort for a week, add sun and alcohol, and it’s simply a matter of time before holiday romances start to flourish.

It was just a couple of days into my Mark Warner holiday on the Greek island of Kos when the first newly-formed couple could be spotted. Walking hand-in-hand towards the beach, they looked happy, self-conscious and smug all at the same time. The rest of us were very happy for them – even if we did think that the holding hands thing was a bit twee – but we didn’t think the relationship would last much beyond the baggage carousel.
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For latest deals and prices click here markwarner.co.uk or call 0844 2730 426
Check out the Club Mark Warner weeks here: Club Mark Warner
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It didn’t even make it that far, as it turned out. A row one night over whether to go into town for late-night drinks meant that, what had started off so brightly had, in the way these things do, crashed and burned before the week was out. Still, no matter, there was more dancing and drinking to be done. Continue reading Sun, sea and romance on a Club Mark Warner singles holiday in Kos