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Punting the river Cam in Cambridge just got a whole lot fancier thanks to the DoubleTree by Hilton in Cambridge. Only a 50-minute train ride from Kings Cross Station to Cambridge, then a quick $7 taxi ride, and you’re at the hotel in the scenic countryside. In a partnership with Veuve Cliquot, this exceptional punting adventure whisks guests to a special Veuve-inspired punting boat, pre-packed with a picnic basket overflowing with such local favorites as pork pies, cherry bottom tarts, strawberries with cream and chocolate sauce and, of course, a large bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne. For relaxed leaf-peeping, take the path to Grantchester and stop for afternoon tea at the Orchard — just like the poet Rupert Brooke and novelist Virginia Woolf did in their heyday.
Granta Place, Mill Lane
+44 (0)12 2325 9988
You can’t put a price on impeccable attention. The Dorchester has maintained a masterful art of flawless service for decades, welcoming figures from literary, political, and arts circles in an effortless waltz since opening its doors in 1931. The ’30s witnessed the birth of the famous Foyles Literary Luncheons. Queen Elizabeth attended a dinner party at The Dorchester the day before her engagement was announced on July 10, 1947. Danny Kaye originally appeared in a cabaret at the hotel for £50 a week, and then became a lifelong regular guest. Elizabeth Taylor regularly occupied a suite (and lived here when she started shooting Cleopatra). Alfred Hitchcock viewed the hotel as ideal for a murder given the scope of burying bodies in Hyde Park across Park Lane. More recent guests have included Woody Allen, Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Glenn Close, Karl Lagerfeld, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
+44 (0)20 7629 8888
After a busy day of sightseeing, order a glass of wine on a gold leather sofa by the 66-foot-long pool at the Haymarket Hotel and you’ll think you’re in a James Bond movie. Take in the hypnotic lighting (one moment red, then blue, then yellow), the well-stocked, floor-to ceiling library, and the expansive pewter bar. The bedrooms are surprisingly large, designed by Kit Kemp with an eye for an eclectic mix of charming country-style furnishings and modern pieces. Bright pink — on a sofa, chair, or even a simple pillow or wall coloring — is Kit’s favorite color and one of her brand signatures. The bathrooms are spacious and sleekly decked out with granite, oak, glass, double basins and flat-screen TVs. Confidential Tip: If you want to swim outside the pool’s standard operating hours (7 a.m. to 10 p.m.), just ask. All guests are treated like VIPs.
1 Suffolk Place, London
+44 (0)20 7470 4000
If there’s one thing you can say about The Soho Hotel, it’s that a very fat cat in the lobby will greet you. She’s so big that when the building was under construction she was brought in first — and there’s no way to get her out without breaking down the walls. The “fat cats” are everywhere at this luxury hotel, enjoying the clever designs by Kit Kemp. Beyond the big kitty, the big bedrooms with a luxury-industrial edge will delight your senses.
4 Richmond Mews
+44 0(20) 7559 3003
Among the chain hotels near Victoria Station is the Best Western Corona. Sleep here. Luxuriate elsewhere. Okay, it’s basic, and from the inside it doesn’t look all that fancy, but the price is right and the location is convenient. There’s easy access to tube stations at Victoria and the much less-crowded Pimlico.
85-89 Belgrave Rd.
Victoria SW1V 2BQ
+44 (0)20 7828 9279
Don’t be fooled by the austere, Georgian-like exterior, The Halkin Hotel is all looks on the inside. Courtesy of Laboratorio Associati of Milan, this tribute to high-end contemporary design exudes Italian chic: combed-wood paneled corridors in black, curved ceilings, and a barrel-vaulted roof emit a sculptural feel, while the Valentino Vago skyscape ceiling mural is a work of art in itself. Added proof that this 41-room Belgravia hotel is fashionable: The entire staff is swathed in Armani.
5-6 Halkin St.
+44 (0)20 7333 1000
Money saver: Stay at the Imperial College London in South Kensington when school’s out. The standard rooms have shared bathrooms, so be sure to ask for a room with “en suite,” if that’s what you want. Available late June to September.
Southside Hall (has en suites), Garden Hall (shared bathrooms)
Princes Gardens, South Kensington, SW7
+44 (0)20 7594 9507/11
Located on a quiet street a couple of walkable blocks from Paddington Station, the Rhodes Hotel feeds you a nice English breakfast. You can watch Greek TV in your room if you like (British TV, too). And the hotel offers free in-room broadband Internet. But there is no elevator, so be ready for the stairs. The en suite bathrooms have recently been enlarged and upgraded showers added. Guests will love longtime owners Chris and Maria. Uncommercial and comfy.
195 Sussex Gardens
Hyde Park W2 2RJ
+44 (0)870 870 7577
For convenient shopping on Oxford Street, there’s the four-star Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch. The fixtures and fittings here are very Final Frontier, after the reported $80,000-per-room makeover in 2004. Everyone raves about the lobby. Stylish and artistic, the Cumberland makes a statement.
Great Cumberland Place
Marble Arch W1A 4RF
+44 (0)20 7423 8871, In USA 1 866 763 4553
Not (yet) well known, the Victoria is a perfect get-away-from-it-all hotel. Known as “a restaurant and bar with bedrooms,” you’ll need a London cabbie to find it. Top chef, quiet location, not your average stay in the city. The hotel has all the modern conveniences and is just a short walk from Richmond Park.
10 West Temple Sheen
+44 (0)20 8876 4238
By Paula Conway
My last-minute trip to Louisville was also my very first — guaranteeing one delightful surprise after another.
As a neophyte, I was urged by a friend to try a Hot Brown (an open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in cheese, with bacon), to sample a Derby Pie (a cookie stuffed with chocolate chips, walnuts, hot fudge, [...]
RUMBAR, inside The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, lays claims to being Miami’s only live Latin music venue. On weekends, a four-piece band in white dinner jackets will take you back to Old Havana with rhythms of vintage Cuba. Order a rum flight for a vertical tasting of Miami’s largest selection of rums from Trinidad, Barbados, [...]Read More