In the mind of the average Russian, the image of Great Britain is still limited to such stereotypes as “Big Ben”, “Oatmeal, sir” (Sherlock Holmes), “the country of traditions and haunted castles”. But there are already those who know about such wonderful places as Bray-on-Thames. Or even not only knows, but also been there (upd .: here is my review about this gastronomic place). First of all, for Russians, Great Britain is, of course, London. Everyone considers it their duty to go here. Russians are simply drawn here, I noticed … And in general, to England. What exactly attracts Russians in England? I think that this is how our desire to fall back to aristocratic roots, to see “how it really happens” is manifested. Indeed, in Russia, where at the beginning of the last century all traditions were broken, we do not have such an opportunity. Here we are going to take communion.
The best place to stay in London is, of course, Knightsbridge. Or in The Goring. Or maybe at The Sanderson (if your specialty is design, or, for example, a spa). But first things first.
London is most often defined as a “prim” city. To me, this definition seems rather one-sided, but if you really want to maintain this feeling and understanding of London for yourself, then these are just the first two of the hotels I mentioned. Let’s start with Knightsbridge.
An old (true English and yes, quite prim!) building near Harrods and very close to Sloane Street and Brompton Cross (women who know a lot about shopping will understand). Near Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are must-see places for purely English walks. The hotel is tucked away in the quiet Beaufort Garden, among pleasant white mansions.
Inside, light colors predominate, everything is conducive to rest and relaxation. Indispensable fireplaces in the living rooms (which is the rule for London) and, which is rather a pleasant surprise for London, large windows. Another advantage that a Russian traveler will especially appreciate is wide and soft beds. And, as I remember now, next to the bed is a reliable bottle of lavender extract. Which, when sprinkled on the pillow, superbly lulls! Also worth noting are such nice bonuses as Molton Brown cosmetics in the bathroom and a welcome box of handmade chocolates. The largest (and most expensive) room is the Knightsbridge Suite (£450). Recommend.
Knightsbridge, like many other London hotels, doesn’t have a restaurant, but that’s no problem. In the room, I immediately found a detailed catalog of restaurants and other catering, for the quality and reliability of which Knightsbridge is ready to vouch for. The places closest to the hotel are marked. But in addition, there is a 24-hour room service, which, for example, I have always used with great pleasure. In the evening I left an order for breakfast and always received it to the nearest minute at the time indicated on the order.
But there is a good alternative to this hotel. I think this The Goring. It is more serious and snobbish than Knightsbridge, but just as pleasant… However, if you are a snob, then you will definitely like it here (sic! “Russian snobs are the most infamous snobs in the world,” said the great Russian poet Georgy Ivanov).
A 17th-century building near Buckingham Palace was turned into a hotel in 1910. Then it was a kind of continuation of Buckingham Palace. People of royal blood and impeccable reputations spent the night there. Only. This is a hotel of real English traditions, in the royal sense of the word. Everything is very decorous and festive, and a traditional cozy sheep is on duty in every room …
Separately, I note an excellent garden. This option is especially relevant for Balcony Suite and Garden View Deluxe rooms. I can also praise the service of this hotel in every possible way. And, of course, a restaurant. Which, by the way, is recognized by some authoritative publications as “the best British restaurant.”
We will return to London restaurants in one of the next posts, but for now the third of the hotels I recommend: The Sanderson. This is a completely different story than the two previous hotels. Another world. A world of English paradox and nonsense… Imagine the office building that housed the Sanderson textile office in the 1960s. The building is protected by the state as an example of mid-century architecture. The creators of the hotel (one of them, by the way, the legendary designer Philippe Starck) forbade anything to be done here. They even had to take the name Sanderson for the reason that the sign above the main entrance cannot be removed either. The rooms do not have internal walls. These are offices.
Bathrooms and cabinets are green glass cubes. The hotel is loved by stars: Robbie Williams, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss and others chose it as their location. Including because the hotel has an excellent spa – Agua Spa. Specializing in anti-aging programs. I will not tell all the chips and reveal the cards: I will only say that in Sandersen you will find a lot of surprises and surprises. Sometimes pleasant, sometimes eccentric, but in general – you will not be bored. This is such a reverse side of the legendary English traditionalism. After all, one of the main traditions of England is the tradition of making fun of traditions. With the most serious face.