Luxury in the capital: London’s best summer getaways
Luxury travel writer Ashley Pearson looks at some London’s best summer getaways.
Airport delays, long security queues, baggage strikes –not everything that summer brings is delightful. And for some of us leading busy lives, the ideal getaway involves something far simpler and closer to home.
If you’re looking for wonderful home-grown alternatives, look no further. We have ascended the heights of this historic city to offer you the ultimate views, impeccable service and a nearby getaway in every sense of the word.
Sitting right next to the Tower of London, Cheval Three Quays is a striking collection of luxury serviced apartments which prides itself on being more than just a place to stay. The spacious and elegant one, two and three-bedroom apartments all have dramatic floor to ceiling windows, offering up breath-taking, unobscured views of the Thames with glass and steel balconies on which to savour the spectacular sight of the Tower of London, City Hall and the Shard.
Here, every detail has been carefully considered to create the ultimate luxury experience, from the textured chenille, velvet and silk rugs to the avant-garde inspired Gaggenau appliances and Italian Dada kitchens. Discrete cupboards have been installed to allow housekeeping to remove bins and deliver a daily paper with minimal disruption. And although it feels like an apartment – there is still hotel service. A dedicated concierge service is on hand who will make personal travel arrangements, take care of laundry, or book front row theatre seats at the latest West End show. They also work closely with Supper London, an online food delivery service connected to some of London’s finest restaurants if you want to eat in and soak up the views.
It’s certainly luxe but also ideal for families. We loved the decadent welcome hamper full of gourmet crackers and biscuits, coffees and teas and everything we might need for breakfast including milk in the fridge. There is also a Children’s Package – upon arrival, children are given a ‘his’ or ‘hers’ gym-bag containing an activity book, colouring pencils and a puzzle, along with a balloon and little sweet treats in their room. Mini-sized bathrobes and slippers are also provided along with luxury children’s toiletries by Childsfarm, and a ‘Bedtime Turndown. Pricing: A River View Luxury One Bedroom Apartment (sleeps 2) – approx. size 570 sq ft – 700 sqft – starts from £229 per night.
Best for a romantic overnight
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat the Shangri-La hotel at The Shard, for a sexy, easy to get to get away with the one you love. Perched up on levels 34 to 52 of The Shard, is without doubt one of London’s most stylish and exciting check-ins. The first thing you notice is the view. It is the kind of thing you want to sit and stare at. It is utterly spectacular. Our room, with its triple aspect views, was like a glass box suspended high in the sky with the best of London surrounding on all sides. With binoculars provided in every room, we enjoyed our morning cup of tea in bed with an incredible panorama laid out at our feet. It’s nearly impossible not to be transfixed – The Gherkin, Alexandra Palace, Tower Bridge, The London Eye, Primrose Hill, Canary Wharf all with a glistening Thames elegantly snaking its way through all.
The beds are enormous as are the marble baths, both of which sit proudly in front of a glass walled view. The marble-clad bathrooms have heated floors (and loo seats) and, when the sun gets too much, automatic shields are activated to protect against the glare. The hotel’s show-stoppers include London’s highest infinity pool and highest champagne bar both nicely set the stage for a rather decadent and utterly lovely escape. There are 202 rooms, including 17 suites. Rooms cost from £450 a night and each of them will feature a unique layout and design thanks to The Shard’s spiral shape.
As part of your getaway, however – I can’t recommend enough booking dinner at the hotel’s restaurant Oblix. Located on the 32nd floor of the Shard, with panoramic views across the London skyline, it’s buzzing, stylish and very, very sexy. The wood fired oven, charcoal grill and spit roast are on display as you walk through the glass kitchen to take your seat at one of the smart looking tables by the window, gazing out onto the bright lights of London. Run by famed restauranteur Rainer Becker, known for his iconic Japanese restaurants, Zuma and Roka. The presentation here feels like Zuma, but the menu is pure New York grill.
We opted for mouth-watering warm truffle flat bread, succulent grilled diver scallops, zingy crab cakes, a perfectly grilled whole sea bass, uber tender Wagyu beef with a side of gourmet mac & cheese followed by proper New York Cheescake. It was beyond perfect. And the ideal way to begin our romantic evening at the Shangri-La.