Article: Christopher George
Martinis will never go out of fashion. And they come in many different guises. So check our tried and tested guide to both the traditional and more experimental places, to sample the gin based concoctions. It was hard but someone had to do it! Dirty, Porn Star, Classic, Espresso, Twisted – the choice is yours.
Thank us in the morning. Or maybe after lunch!
THE ARTESIAN BAR, PORTLAND PLACE Hotel bars don’t get more impressive than The Artesian at The Langham. Set in the stunning setting of this internationally acclaimed hotel, you know you are going to be presented with a superior cocktail list, and that is why it’s won ‘The World’s Best Bar’ for four consecutive years from Drinks International Magazine.
The martinis here are designed to your personal preference. Using Tanqueray No. Ten, along with one of five different handmade vermouths- including green tea, or more traditional rhubarb and elderflower. Mixed to your desire and served in silver goblets no less, the drinks are served cool, and you are left looking ultra cool!
Find it: The Langham Hotel, Portland Place, W1B 1JA
THE ST PANCRAS RENAISSANCE LONDON HOTEL, is a luxury five-star property with distinctive character- offering a truly unique place to stay, meet, eat, relax and be a busy fashionista!
If you want to feel like a Princess when you arrive at a hotel, the grand entrance to the Renaissance will certainly tick any unfulfilled childhood Disney fantasies.
A mere sashay, away from Kings Cross Station (parts of the hotel are even above it), the location of this historical building could not be more central. A grand cobbled driveway leads you away from the city’s hustle and bustle, and if you can ignore the gridlocked Euston Road, you could almost be doing a George and Amal Clooney on their visits to romantic Lake Como.
As a contrast to the impressive period exterior, the lobby is modern luxe. Filled with light from the incredibly high ceilings and skylights, this grand-dame is reassuringly elegant with a hint of eccentricity.
Yet when you take a closer look, the Victorian history is preserved with up to date twists on the original features; From the Chambers Club to the long, silent corridors, the Neo-Gothic hints are less subtle, more sledgehammer; If you’ve ever wanted to know what it must feel like to be in a period drama I imagine this is a pretty good place to start. It has also been the setting for 1o2 Dalmatians, Batman and Richard III. And the infamous platform 9 and ¾ brought to life by Harry Potter is accessible through the Booking Room.
The original hotel was designed by architect George Gilbert Scott in 1873, and although it has been carefully re-modelled to take on 21st century incarnation, the sheer vastness and history means that it is one of London’s original gems.
One of the most dramatic features is the Grand Staircase. Imposing as it is impressive, the stairs loop and swoop, and exude romance, drama, and a sense of losing a glass slipper! The fact that this also featured in the Spice Girls movie, is enough of a draw for tourists to stop by for afternoon tea. Millennials get more pleasure in knowing it’s where Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik filmed the video for “Don’t wanna live together” for the soundtrack to 2017’s ’50 Shades Darker’.
Inside my junior chambers suite, I didn’t want to leave. The split-level room had original wooden panelling, 20foot high windows with super thick velvet curtains, so all noise and light from the buzzing main road was eliminated. The mint green eiderdown matched the walls, and a beautiful marble fireplace, with giant starburst mirror made me feel like I was on a film set for Victoria. Although I am not sure what she would have thought of my sartorial choices… No floor length bustles or corsets for me- far too unflattering!
However, my glad rags did fit in well in the Chambers Club (a private drinking den, for guest staying in the Chambers wing). Not exactly buzzing, it was more reserved, with lone travellers tapping away on their laptops and couples enjoying a tea and cake, when I checked in to check it out. I took advantage of the complimentary afternoon tea, with wine (natch!) on my arrival, and would have returned for breakfast (served until 10.30) until my guest convinced me to have breakfast in bed. I’m glad we did, as the Room Service breakfast menu was as impressive as the location, and we were still able to place our order when we got in at 1am!