My first solo trip was to London. I was 22ish and I booked it on a Saturday and left on a Sunday (I wasn’t completely alone, I was staying with friends in Bounds Green for the week) planning my trip on the 8-hour plane ride over.
New to the city, I visited as many massive museums (VA, Natural History) as I could. Now, after being a seasoned visitor, I’m partial to finding the art in the everyday and I love taking it to the streets to find out what’s new. Here’s are a few of my fine finds….
Stay: The Hoxton Shoreditch
This Shoreditch boutique hotel is the original Hoxton property in London. Situated around several restaurants/bars, the hotel is a quick 5-minute walk to the Old Bridge Station. The lobby is a busy communal space with people connecting over cocktails or coffee where the adjacent Hoxton Grill serves up a mean NY 10 oz. Strip and other American comfort food favourites. I appreciated starting my morning off right with the daily breakfast bag delivered to my door as well as the ironing room to get my outfits pressed and ready for a day of discovery.
Eat: LIDO, At The Curtain Hotel and Members Club https://thecurtain.com/eat-drink/lido/
Warning: Dining on the seasonal Mediterranean menu while overlooking the Moroccan-inspired pool will leave you with strong vacation vibes! Become a Curtain member or stay at the hotel (What hotel do you know, has rotating drink carts for guests?) and enjoy the LIDO’s atmosphere all year round with the retractable glass roof. Open for brunch and nightly eats, the terrace offers a relaxing oasis in the middle of Shoreditch.
Eat/Work: Mortimer House
Art deco inspired interiors from the stylish NY architect firm AvroKO, Mortimer House is the answer to your work/play dilemma when travelling. Why stay cooped up in a hotel room or an overcrowded café when you can visit a Maslow inspired space? Yes, that’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While use of the meeting rooms are reserved for members only – the restaurant, Mortimer House Kitchen is open for the public serving a detectable Mediterranean menu.
Eat/See: Sky Garden https://skygarden.london/sky-garden
Overlooking the Thames, Sky Garden is a picturesque addition to London’s skyline and dining scene. As well as being the capital’s highest public garden, there are three new food and drink concepts: The Fenchurch Restaurant, Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Terrace. The SkyGarden is designed by award winning landscape architect firm Gillespies. The different themed terraces ranging from a prehistoric forest to mountain ravine are installed by Willerby Landscapes.
Drink/Eat: PRESS https://press-london.com
Eating healthy is probably the last thing on your mind while on vacation. And while London is overflowing with opportunities to indulge in rich delicacies and it takes companies like PRESS, to add convenience to compete. Freshly pressed juice, soups and energy bars can be found in at the St. Paul’s and Soho stores as well as a few stock lists all over London, including Harvey Nichols and the Mondrian Hotel.
Eat: Blondies Kitchen https://www.blondieskitchen.co.uk
I passed this cookies & milk kiosk in Old Street station too many times not to sample the fare for myself. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of Regular Milk, Almond Milk or Coco Pops Cereal Milk to help you wash down your large chewy cookie/s. For an extra indulgence try the Crunchie Mousse Cookie Sandwich.
Do: Ginstitute https://www.theginstitute.com
This is a must-do for any gin-fanatic. Even if you are not, there is a certain pleasure of going home with your own full sized bottle of your own signature gin. Want more? Don’t worry – your recipe is kept on file to reorder in the future. The class runs small so you have plenty of opportunity to ask questions about the history, sample ingredients and take photos.
Do: DryBy http://dryby.co.uk
Hair. Nails. Wine. Really, where could you go wrong? This posh salon offers it all in a stylish Fitzrovia location. I was impressed with the expertise of my sophisticated CND nail art. Check out the cool collaboration with UK Glamour beauty director Alessandra Steinherr.
Do: Blow LTD https://www.blowltd.com/
Blow LTD UK’s answer to US mobile services like GLAMSQUAD and Blushington. Whether it’s a hot date at the Tate or a lazy Sunday stroll around Marylebone Farmers’ Market, book the following on-demand services online: Blow-dry, nails, makeup, waxing, massage, lashes. There are several artists available on standby to take last minute appointments if plans change.
Shop: With Nothing Underneath https://www.withnothingunderneath.com
Designed in London, shop online for these menswear inspired button down shirts. A quality versatile button down can take you from the office to a night out with a quick change of accessories. I’m partial to the stripped white and blue shirt myself. With worldwide shipping, you can easily fill your closet with these wardrobe cotton poplin staples.
Shop: SELF-PORTRAIT http://www.self-portrait-studio.com
Malaysian-born designer Han Chong opened his first flagship last month on Albermarle Street in Mayfair. The graduate from the prestigious Central Saint Martins, houses his full collection of feminine apparel in a bright modern space perfect for even the most discerning fashionista.