Monday, January 14, 2013

You. Me. London. Snap.

Upon arrival at Heathrow, we head straight for the nearest coffee bar. You have to admire a cappuccino that comes with a weather report.
(All photos by LBG.)

Yes, it's raining. But really, who cares? We duck into a taxi cab and hurtle instantly into the heady atmosphere of a city that wears its centuries as seamlessly as a Savile Row suit. 

Regent Street is aglow and so are our spirits.
(Heading north on Regent Street.)

My heart is thumping as we pull up to our hotel. I've been wanting to stay here for as long as I can remember. 

It surpasses every expectation. 



"Why yes, I think I will sit down."

I would be perfectly content to curl up in bed and watch "The Great British Bake Off" but Piero and Luca are antsy. We drop our bags and head back out.

We plunge into Piccadilly Circus...

...stumble onto a cheeky tribute to the power of rock and roll on Carnaby Street...

...and meander through the labyrinthine streets of Soho. We pass by Andrew Edmunds, the Tom Thumb-sized Hogarthian restaurant that I wrote about here. It's one of those hush-hush cult haunts (no website, reservations a must) that its patrons want to keep to themselves -- the food is incredible, the prices are good and the atmosphere is nothing less than incandescent.

We take a stroll around Covent Garden. St. Paul's is looking mighty robust for a building that's been wowing people since 1633, don't you think?

And then it's back to the hotel. We have been given a room designed by David Linley and it's a vision of creamy elegance with high ceilings and a curtain treatment that makes me want to take a bow. (Watch David talk about the project here.)


I become a bit fixated with the wall sconces -- love the modern update on the classic "sheaves of wheat" motif.  

And I really don't think you can improve upon these knobs.

In the entry foyer, the framed photograph by Lord Snowdon (David's father) and the red leather umbrella stand give a modern punch to a traditional space.

The bathroom is so perfectly black-and-white that for a brief moment I wonder if my retinas have reverted to monochrome. It's only when I spot the moss green Bamford toiletries that I realize it's just a stunning illusion.

What makes staying at Claridges even more magical is that we're here with a group of friends. On New Year's Eve, we eat dinner at Rules in Covent Garden and the maitre 'd seats the adults at one booth... 
(From L to R: Jeanne Tripplehorn, David Netto, Liz Netto, Leland Orser, Piero Giramonti.)

...and the children at a table around the corner. It's perfect. The children feel liberated and grown-up -- and so do we!

Rules' menu is a marvel of traditional English fare: potted shrimp, oysters from Cornwall, furred and feathered game like hare, venison, partridge and pheasant, and time-honored desserts like sticky toffee pudding with sauce boats of steaming custard.

The next few days rush by. Among the highlights are a trip to the actual Harry Potter Studios which leaves the children, all avid J.K. Rowling fans, gobsmacked...

...a delicious lunch at Daylesford Organic, a favorite of David's, whose slogan is "Straight from our farm to your fork"...


...afternoon tea at Home House, a private members club with 18th century interiors by Robert Adams, with Mary Henley Magill...


...and a tour of Kensington Palace which is fantastic...

...apart from the spooky Princess Diana wallpaper.

And everywhere we turn, gloriously, rivetingly, irrefutably...London.




36 comments:

Klever Girl said...

I love how dreamy you make this city be. I have friends who live there and never thought of this city to be as enchanting as you describe it. I can't wait to visit some day!

www.houseofhemingway.com

somepinkflowers said...

{{ oh oh
how simply perfect !!

wellll
that wallpaper
WAS rather creepy
but
how wonderful of you
to share it
from
afar }}

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

I lived in London for years Lisa, and haven't missed it a bit until I read this! We were in Foubert's Place behind Liberty's and it was magical.

Beautiful Things said...

Thanks for this post. I often work in central London, round these locations so it's just normal for me but this has reminded me that it's actually a really beautiful city. I must remember to look around me. x

Modern Traditionalist said...

I want to comment on this but I can't find any words....it's transcendent!!

MT

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Lucky Duck to stay at Claridges! Looks like a magical trip :-)

Janelle said...

stunning as always...you take people on your journeys 100%...superb photography. love it. x j

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Makes me feel lucky to live in London!

Those wall sconces are from Porta Romana which I am in love with and on my wishlist - they do other great ones!

PS they might have told you but they were on a 3 part docuseries on the BBC just before XMas and it was rather good - you should check it out if you haven't already.

Diane James Home said...

What a magical trip to London! You've written about David Netto before and his name seemed so familiar - that's when I realized that he is helping my mother Diane with ideas for redecorating the beach club in East Hampton - a small world indeed. We hope your New Year has started out as well as 2012 ended. XO, Cynthia

donna baker said...

Claridge's? I wish. Jeanne Tripplehorn, a fellow Oklahoman, and in London... I only wish I could have known where to go in London. We stayed in Belgravia, but after tear sheets and copius notes, I forgot to look at them and wandered around London unawares of 'the' places to go.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Best city in the world!
xoxo

Nadia said...

You make me miss London with this post and I love that! You capture it all so perfectly with your photos ;) And Claridges looks splendid - who wouldn't want to stay there!?!

Julie said...

O. M. G.

Jemimagold said...

Loved ALL your photos but especially the ones of Claridges. I, too, have been wanting to stay there forever with The Connaught being a close second.

I'm also a huge fan of the Daylesford shop in Pimlico and was here in Nov. Everything there is so wonderful in perfect. If you get a chance, visit the Daylesford mother ship in Kingston (in the Cotswold). You will not ever want to leave. It is perfection spread out over 4-5 buildings all decorated in creamy understated perfection.

Thank you again!

Tabitha said...

Oh how funny, I got up at 5.00am to take the exact same pictures of Claridge's when I was staying in December. The Fumoir is my favourite bar in the world and I make a yearly trip to the most stylish grande dame in the world. She will lure you back!

miss b said...

Living just a couple of hours away gives me the opportunity to visit London regularly and I never tire of this wonderful city. Claridges is on my 'list' and funnily enough, I have recently been reading about Daylesford and it seemed like our kind of place. Your photos are exquisite and I thoroughly enjoyed following along on this little tour!
http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

Emily said...

Your travel posts are the best Lisa! I will be printing this one off and putting in my travel files. Really, the best information, and better than any research I could do on the web or at a library.

Angie Muresan said...

Gorgeous. All of it.

quintessence said...

I also have always wanted to stay at Claridges but going with you is the next best thing! And what a fun group. Your photos, as always, are beautiful and yet also evocative! Traveling with you is a total treat!

angela said...

What great adventures in London you had! Claridges looks amazing, and lucky you got to have tea at a private club!

Aunt Snow said...

I just came back from there, right there where you are. Regent Street, Oxford Street. I had some pear cider inside that pub with the lovely gilt angels at the door.

You are very near to an amazing place called Gordon's Wine Bar, on Villiers Street just up from the Embankment tube stop. I wrote about it on my blog.

Found your blog via "The French Sampler" and via "Une Femme D'un Certain Age."

kim at northerncalstyle. said...

Loved this Lisa and your wonderful photography. I'm going to London this Summer and can't wait. Love all your travel posts. I hope I can take my sons to see the Harry Potter tour too.

Kim

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Sarah Greenman said...

Your photos are astounding and I'm going to dream of London tonight. Thanks for this glorious post!

noreen said...

harry potter would have me gobsmacked, together with my children. also claridges. your photos are really exceptional! joy to you.

Terra said...

Count me in, this trip sounds like grand fun. I would love to visit these places in London; it's been a long time since our visit. The Tate was a favorite place. Your photos make it look magical.

vicki archer said...

I love your view of London Lisa... ( and of Rome) the perfect tour.. and a very belated congratulations on your upcoming book... Can't wait to read it...
Enjoy the weekend... xv

shari said...

Visual perfection... I was transported. Descriptively elegant as well!

Jason Murphy said...

When I visited this blog, I feel a nostalgia which I want to talk about. On the other hand, looking forward to read more your post.

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Linn said...

You've found wonderful places in London. And those palace-style interiors, and that cafe! I cannot tell which photo I love the most.

Jason Murphy said...

Thanks for sharing these London pictures. The city has a lot of beautiful places to offer, though, in winter its very cold there and snow fall is very thick.

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champagnemoods.com said...

Beautiful pictures - I love London!

Rebecca and Lori said...

Gorgeous pics- thanks for the peek inside your hotel room: simply amazing! I love London; it is my favorite city. Your pics really serve as a reminder and a justification as to why!
~Lori

kellypea said...

Loved everything about this -- truly magical. I would go back to London again and again. I love it and you've captured so much that is special about it.

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