We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. With a time change of seven hours and a journey of over twelve, the ride was a bit of a blur.
Then it was a short hop via black cab to The Gore Hotel, situated between Knightsbridge and Kensington, in SW7.
At the front door, we were greeted by a handsome toad. I appreciate hotels with a sense of humor. They remind me of home.
Feeling as if our legs could do with a stretch, Luca and I voted to take the stairs to our room. The walls are crowded with a fabulous collection of art, most of them featuring Queen Victoria.
I took this photo especially for Style Court in deference to her remarkable series on how to frame art.
In moments, we were there. Room 211.
We always request this room because the bed leaves us speechless. According to the hotel, it once belonged to Dorothy herself.
I have posted on this room before, but seeing it again made me realize that my camera had gotten the wall color wrong last time. It isn't dark pewter, it's a stunning blue black.
Fortunately, this time I had my Farrow and Ball paint swatch brochure with me. The color was immediately apparent: Hague Blue (the one on the bottom right).
You have to love a hotel which provides you with a selection of friends in every room. I know I do.
That night, we joined The Divine Italian downstairs at the hotel restaurant (called "Bistro"). This room makes my pulse quicken. It somehow manages to be both glittering and cozy, elegant and friendly, embodying as it does that quintessentially English style of "tradition with a twist." Plus, the light is very flattering, a not inconsiderable benefit when you're waging a battle with jet lag.
The food was delicious. I had parsnip soup, Piero had moules and The Little Prince was initiated into the divinity of sticky toffee pudding...a singular success, as you can imagine.
The next morning, Luca and I awoke at at the crack of noon and managed to heave ourselves out the door by 1:30pm, feeling a trifle guilty but very well-rested. The weather was glorious and remained that way during our entire stay.
Everywhere we looked, Victorian London rose up to greet us.
Gloucester Road was our local tube station. Designed by Leslie Green in 1868, it's a classic example of the Arts and Crafts style. I love the green tiled sign with its distinctive type font.
As the train pulled into the station, I realized that our adventure had officially begun.
Next Stops: Liverpool Street/Tower Hill/Piccadilly Circus.