The Beaumont Hotel

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On a rainy Saturday afternoon in October I visited The Beaumont for a special staycation. It was such a treat and I relished the opportunity to stay in and make good use of the facilities. Of the 73 rooms there are 23 studios and suites and we found ourselves in the lavish Roosevelt suite on the top floor. With numerous rooms and a huge balcony overlooking London, it took us almost an hour to explore, marvelling at every thoughtful detail.

The hotel has an obvious art deco theme, harking back to the decade in which it was built, with stylish furniture and lighting, elegant handpicked artwork and indulgent amenities.

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All of the room types feel spacious yet cosy, fully equipped with King-sized beds, beautiful bathrooms with underfloor heating and bespoke D R Harris toiletries. I loved the personality in our suite: carefully chosen books sat on the bedside tables, freshly made macarons were temptingly place in the dining room and in the living room there were games like Scrabble and Monopoly, perfect for Saturday nights in by the fire. The owners, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King are involved in every aspect of the hotel, and this personal insight and dedication adds so much to the guest’s experience at The Beaumont.

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For a unique experience book yourself in to the Antony Gormley suite, with a wonderfully immersive sculptural bedroom and a pure white marble bathroom concealed by a dramatic black velvet curtain. It certainly won’t be a night’s sleep you forget in a hurry.

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The Beaumont’s in house restaurant, The Colony Grill Room has become a popular destination in its own right. The American-style classic dishes and relaxed, sophisticated dining room make this restaurant a lovely place to spend time with friends and enjoy the finest quality comfort food. Specialities like the Lobster a la Russe are particularly decadent, or you can opt for a simpler Caesar Salad topped with shavings of parmesan and crunchy croutons.

The star of the show though is the steaks, which are utterly delicious. Silky rich meat is cooked to perfection, with a charred smokiness and served with french fries and a sauce of your choice.

For dessert I chose the fabulously child-friendly Colony Club Sundae, which you can customise with a little form at the table. For some high drama, try the Bananas Foster which is cooked Table Side, much to the amazement of the neighbouring diners.

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Breakfast is equally divine, and we chose to enjoy it in our suite. Beautiful plates of food arrived promptly in the morning, alongside strong coffee, the sweetest fresh juice and just-baked viennoiserie.

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Before leaving the hotel I had just enough time to visit the heavenly spa. This white mosaic-ed oasis is instantly welcoming and calming. I couldn’t resist sampling the speciality haman treatment, a refreshing and cleansing treatment which exfoliates and cleans the body before a moisterising and relaxing massage. The therapist listened to my requests before commencing with the wonderful treatment. I felt my body has been nourished and revitalising ready for the cold winter ahead.

Moments away from Selfridges, in the centre of the town, I cannot think of a more special place to stay in London in the run up to the festive season.

More information and book a stay at The Beaumont Hotel here.

Prohibition Afternoon Tea, Quaglino’s, Mayfair

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It feels like every hotel and every restaurant in London has an afternoon tea offering, in fact it is the most searched thing to do in the capital on Google. Needless to say I had begun to get a little bored of the usual format. And then last week I experienced a mysteriously magical tea unlike any other.

Renowned Mayfair venue Quaglino’s has recently undergone an exciting renovation and is looking more glamorous and glitzy than ever before. This restaurant and bar has always been iconic but now feels even more exclusive and prestigious. Beyond the front door the walls are decorated in a dynamic geometric pattern, it is a vision of black and gold.

We followed the staircase down to the main room, which unfolded like a scene from the Great Gatsby. Staff wear sophisticated dresses and tuxedos, and I felt annoyed with myself that I hadn’t got out a vintage dress for the occasion. On a Saturday afternoon the venue was quiet and we had a choice of any table. We settled into a space in the bar area, sinking into the plush velvet banquettes and sipping our cups of tea.

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This afternoon tea is decadent and delicious, perfect for a girls’ celebration or party. We chose the Cocktail Tea (priced at £29.50) though there is also an option with champagne. I adored my ‘Scofflaw Twist’ cocktail which was made with Bulleit Bourbon, lime juice, orange juice, orgeat syrup and Pedro Ximenez. The complex mix of ingredients worked well together to create a balanced and smooth drink with woody undertones. For a lighter and more refreshing drink, opt for the Draft of an Angel, a creamy texture with Green Chartreuse and plenty of fresh mint.

The food is the perfect selection for the ultimate sweet-toothed addict – a beautiful array from macaroons to marquise, frangipane tart to coffee choux. Each sweet mouthful was balanced carefully on the circular stand. I loved the savoury treats too, the freshest smoked salmon rosti and delicious cured ham grissini. The sandwich on offer was chicken and basil – simple but classic. I was a little disappointed with the scones, which were a bit dry and lacking in currents.

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For just £29.50 a person (including a cocktail) I think this characterful afternoon tea is one of the best I’ve tried in London. And with private rooms that can host private parties of up to 30 people, the Prohibition tea will really make an afternoon tea experience feel like a special occasion.

The Prohibition Tea continues until 30th September. More information and book here.

NAC, Mayfair

It was the delectable photos I spied on Instagram that first alerted me to NAC. North Audley Cantine, as it is more formally known is moments from Oxford Street, a French style bistro with delicious food, an enjoyable ambience and a trendy new cocktail bar downstairs. The restaurant was founded in 2013 by the insightful and enthusiastic young Frenchmen David Bellaiche and two childhood friends, Gabriel Cohen-Elia and Jeremy Coste.

The menu is a cunning collection of simple but innovative dishes, served bistro-style in petite portions on pretty plates. Intrigue led me to choose the entire cauliflower, roasted and torched, seasoned with just sea salt and olive oil. Concealed in a baking paper case, I unwrapped it to discover a wonderfully soft and flavoursome charred vegetable. We also sampled the Squid Carbonara with egg yolk, bacon and chives. This unusual invention creates a super thin spaghetti with shredded squid topped with a creamy yellow yolk and salty bacon. It is an acquired taste and texture but no one can deny this is a clever take on the Italian classic.

Main courses use big flavours but are prepared in a refined way. I tried the Grilled Free-range Chicken with Cajun spices which had a freshness that reminded me of the Provencal markets I am so fond of. Dry-aged Scottish Hanger Steak with pepper sauce was tasty too, though the meat was slightly chewy. We enjoyed the creamy spicy pepper sauce for chip dunking.

I was like a child in a sweetshop when it came to choosing desserts: overexcited and indecisive. Our quiet but kind waiter surprised us with a selection of three, the very same trio I had been debating about. A thoughtful but fattening gesture!  This is the section in which NAC really excel. The pastry skills in the kitchen were illustrated in the three plates in front of us: exquisite churros with chocolate sauce and popping candy, French toast with berries and Salted Caramel Profiteroles with ice-cream. It was a luxurious display of sweet treats, and we loved every mouthful.

A cursive neon red sign notifies guests of the ‘Chez Chow’ cocktail den downstairs. A lavish and opulent room, with dimmed warm lighting and comfortable velvet armchairs, it would be easy to while away a whole evening here. I highly recommend the Popcorn Sazerac, a smoky bourbon based drink with a buttery nutty hint. It was one of my favourite cocktails I have tried in a while.

A hidden haven for bistro food and delightful cocktails, I don’t know how this place stayed unknown to me for so long… the perfect pit-stop after a Selfridges spree.

More information and book a table here: