How to book the ultimate luxury London weekend
While London might be in the midst of one of Europe’s most enduring recessions, it’s still ironically a top destination for total luxury.
Alongside a string of new venues offering the most indulgent London tea experiences ever conceived, the city has countless options for shopping, hotels and dining for the dedicated (and cashed up) bon viveur.
Here are the venues to book for a London luxury weekend.
Stay: South Place Hotel
This 80-room retreat is London’s newest luxury hotel. It's located in the financial district, just a 10-minute walk from the shops and bars in Spitalfields and Shoreditch.
Each room has cashmere wrapped mattresses, art from the nearby Hoxton Art Gallery and toiletries dubbed Oranges and Lemons Say The Bells Of St. Clements for added London authenticity.
Costing £1,000 ($1,514) a night, the huge 1,270-square-foot (118 square-meter) Suite 610 takes in the entire top floor and has staggering views across the London skyline. The suite also comes with a free-standing glass bathtub and three Bang & Olufsen TVs.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, London; +44 20 3503 0000; from £230 ($348) per night
Drink: Long Bar
This white, minimal space with a kooky design (the painted eyeballs get especially terrifying after a few strong ones) is one of the city’s prime cocktail spots.
The Long Bar serves stunning drinks, such as the Black Bison, with bison grass vodka, blackberries, lime and brown sugar. The Luna, by Luna and Curious, is made with gin, orange compote, lemon, honey water and grapefruit bitters.
Long Bar, Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners St.;+44 20 7300 5588
Dinner: Alain Ducasse
As one of only two three-star Michelin restaurants in London (the other is Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, owned by the tempestuous TV chef), Alain Ducasse’s Dorchester restaurant serves impressive French cuisine way beyond the grim, tourist-packed “steak houses” dotting central London.
A three-course set menu will set you back £85 ($129).
Recommended: the amazing tasting menu with seven courses, including Dorset crab, lobster, venison and cheeses for £120 ($182).
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, The Dorchester, Park Lane; +44 20 7629 8866
Brunch: Riding House Café
The Riding House Cafe is a great, relaxed spot to ease into the day, with comfy leather seats and a bar serving what may be the fieriest bloody Mary in the world.
The breakfast is none too shabby, with glorious kedgeree and eggs Hussard, featuring ham, spinach and an ox heart tomato with plummy hollandaise.
Avocado on toast and house-made muesli give the menu a healthy twist.
Riding House Cafe, 43-51 Great Titchfield St.; +44 20 7927 0840
At Selfridges luxury department store, there’s a dedicated personal shopping suite for trying on new luxury fashions, with multilingual staff on hand to help shoppers from around the globe.
It even has a bar and library for kicking back after all the grueling shopping.
Consultations are free and last two hours. There’s just one condition: customers need to spend at least £2,000 ($3,029).
Personal shopping at Selfridges, 400 Oxford St.; +44 20 7318 3536
Entertainment: Royal Opera House
In recent years, The Royal Opera House has made itself a much more inviting place for out-of-towners.
Tickets can be picked up for as little as £12 ($18), but a true luxury musical experience at one of the world’s leading opera theaters requires at least £175 ($265).
The upcharge gets you stage-level views, magnificent acoustics and a chance to rub shoulders with the city's dolled up A-listers.
Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden; +44 20 7304 4000
Spa: Mandarin Oriental
While the menu is extensive, the Oriental Harmony treatment at the Mandarin Oriental spa is the choice for travelers looking to unwind.
Two therapists provide a foot bath, scrub and back massage, before moving onto a simultaneous head and foot rub.
Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge; +44 20 7838 9888; treatments from £125 ($187)