Taking a Well-Earned Break; Work Getting on Top of You? Fancy an Escape into Luxury? with the Current Fears about Air Travel, Jetsetters Are Looking Closer to Home for a Well-Earned Break, and London Offers as Much as Most Major World Cities. Travel Editor Lisa Piddington Takes Her Pick of the Top Hotels

The Birmingham Post (England), November 14, 2001 | Go to article overview

Taking a Well-Earned Break; Work Getting on Top of You? Fancy an Escape into Luxury? with the Current Fears about Air Travel, Jetsetters Are Looking Closer to Home for a Well-Earned Break, and London Offers as Much as Most Major World Cities. Travel Editor Lisa Piddington Takes Her Pick of the Top Hotels


Byline: Lisa Piddington

If, like many, world events have made you anxious about venturing too far afield but you still want to experience culture, world class dining and bright nightlife then it may be time to visit London.

Despite world events, tourist attractions remain open, there are fewer queues and hotels remain as efficient as ever, cosseting you in the lap of luxury.

It's the perfect place at the moment for Christmas shopping because there simply aren't the crowds in the shops, so you can peruse in relative calm.

Many tourists, particularly Americans, are avoiding the capital. The British Tourist Authority is predicting a drop of around pounds 2.5 billion in expenditure this year from tourism in this country - and around half those visitors would have gone to London.

So if you want to book a swish hotel in the capital for a couple of nights or the weekend, it's likely you'll get good deals and it is worth shopping around.

Staying in a luxurious hotel for a weekend you can live like a king, wallowing in champagne, being pampered in a beauty salon or taking a swim in an uncrowded pool - and there are plenty of places to choose from.

The Berkeley Hotel, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge: Long recognised as one of London's finest hotels, this is for those who want timeless elegance coupled with a spot of retail therapy. Harvey Nicks, Harrods and the like are all within a few minutes - in fact the hotel offers a shopping map for the well-known stores as well as hidden gems off the beaten track as a fun way to keep fit - a sort of lose pounds as you spend pounds tour.

The Berkeley's Blue Bar offers the perfect spot to unwind after all that and it is rumoured to be a favourite of Madonna's because the light is so flattering. Not too sure if the light really works, but the cocktails certainly will.

Get rid of all that work-related stress with a post-breakfast massage treatment in the hotel's spa or try out the open air pool - just gorgeous.

Travel Facts: For details and bookings phone 020 7235 6000, or see the website www.savoy-group.co.uk.

The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Knightsbridge: Every so often we deserve a big treat - whether it's an anniversary, landmark birthday or just the need to be good to yourself.

The place we choose is very important. After all, if you're searching for the kind of therapy that involves towelling bathrobes, chocolates on your pillow and marble bathrooms (with baths that could rival an Olympic swimming pool), not just any hotel will do.

London's famous Mandarin Oriental is definitely the right kind of place. From the welcoming smile of the top-hatted doormen to the Jo Malone bathroom products, this is the ultimate in luxury - although it's a luxury that doesn't come cheap (don't expect too much change from pounds 500).

Last year, the hotel underwent a pounds 45 million facelift, bringing what was traditionally the Grande Dame of London's hotels racing into the 21st century. All 200 rooms and suites have been redesigned, two new restaurants created, along with the launch of the stunning Mandarin Bar and cigar divan and the pampering spa which opened this summer.

The hotel's entrance hall is the first sign of the luxury on offer - huge vases of flowers, marble pillars, original plasterwork and red-carpeted stairs leading to the check-in desk.

Much has been written about the stylish Mandarin Bar and it's easy to see why it has grabbed the headlines - the 'Catwalk' bar with frosted glass shadow is quite impressive.

From here, you can take dinner in the equally stunning Foliage restaurant with its huge floor to ceiling windows looking straight out on to Hyde Park. …

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Taking a Well-Earned Break; Work Getting on Top of You? Fancy an Escape into Luxury? with the Current Fears about Air Travel, Jetsetters Are Looking Closer to Home for a Well-Earned Break, and London Offers as Much as Most Major World Cities. Travel Editor Lisa Piddington Takes Her Pick of the Top Hotels
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