Christmas is for family – a time to bring all generations together, to listen to stories about the old times, delight in the little ones laughing happily, spoilt by Santa… The New Year, however is all yours. A new page, a new you. January to cocoon, the remaining 11 months to dream of new projects. And London sure can make your eyes sparkle!
Relax and get your Zen back
London luxurious hotels often have a stunning spa: pure escapism, without having to step outside! Think beauty treatments to be radiant for your NYE party, massages to get rid of the stress (hectic shopping and wrapping, visiting family all over the place…) from the previous week just minutes away from your room.
We love One Aldwych’s luxurious treatments from the Spanish skincare specialist, Natura Bissé and the British skincare brand, OSKIA. But the real treat there is the swimming pool: chlorine free, soft mood lighting, underwater music… and dream like videos projected on the wall, transporting you in a different world.
The Connaught’s Aman’s Spa offers a Malaysian beach vibe with signature treatments inspired by China, India, Thailand, even Navajo techniques… Don’t miss the black tiled swimming pool, with its own waterfall. The Mandarin Oriental is similarly Asian inspired, with Buddha statuettes on display and scents of frankincense, mandarin, ginger. Expect a holistic journey tailored to your needs – whether that is a caviar scrub or a four-hand massage. If the weather’s mild, choose make a detour via The Berkeley’s rooftop. Right on the 7th floor is a secret oasis with a pool and glorious panoramic views over London’s skyline. It might even call for a glass of champagne rather than a healthy smoothie.
Want to be more wowed still? Try the Corinthia. Their spa features a nail studio, an indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, an amphitheatre sauna, an ice fountain, marble heated loungers and private sleep pods… Further than massages and beauty treatments, they offer acupuncture, physiotherapy, help to find mindful sleep or develop your brain power. You will be ready to take on the world in 2017!
Add a little sparkle to the day
Start with a Michelin star brunch – after all, you’re worth it! You simply do not want to miss The Chiltern Firehouse’s crab stuffed donuts, foie gras terrine with burnt meringue, figs and pecan or even their lobster omelette. The Landmark’s champagne brunch also is famous for its extraordinary buffet, live music and free-flowing fizz. Bubbly time guaranteed.
London always has a little magic going on and January is not only about the sales. The amazing lantern festival in Chiswick Gardens was so successful last year that it is coming back (Jan. 19-Feb. 26), inspired by the Silk Road this time. Imagine fairy tale like installations through the park: a 15-metre wide lantern of London’s Houses of Parliament, illuminated sphinx and camels, a lantern version of the Colosseum, a life size replica of a ship… Chinatown will also celebrate the year of the Rooster on January 29, with a dragon parade visiting all the shops and music celebrations on Trafalgar Square.
If you’re looking for a fun evening, try Queens: bowling, ice skating and cocktails in the same place… or The Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop, complete with a Viking themed wigwam, a long boat, fire pits, driftwood sculptures and a plenty of drinking horns. Alternatively, for a touch of romance, slide elegantly on the Somerset House’s gorgeous ice rink, nestled between historical buildings and lit in lilac from dusk. They are planning a few evenings with a DJ this month to put you in a festive mood!
Raise your glass to the New Year
London may be famous for its afternoon teas but the city counts some of the best mixologists in the world. It all started at The Savoy, who introduced England to the cocktail tradition… The perfect place still to sip on beautifully mastered classics in an art deco atmosphere! The Scarfes Bar at The Rosewood Hotel offers a gentleman’s club atmosphere and often has live jazz in the evening. Order their Sipping with Churchill creation (Remy Martin VSOP Mature Cask, Martini Gran Lusso Mario’s Plum Shrubs, Lemon Juice, Dry Curacao) and relax: time simply seems to stop there.
The Langham’s Artesian bar is, in contrast, driven by innovation and, to quote them, surrealism. Expect mind wowing elixirs like Spring drifting into summer, bringing together Ketel One vodka, Shochu, artichoke, coffee, yuzu, coriander an passionfruit or even Death of the hipster with coffee, jasmine, tonic, oak smoke, elderflower. Dandelyan, at The Mondrian, has created a Hunter, gatherer, shaman and explorer cocktail menu focusing on botanicals from around the world. Ingredients include the intriguing pistachio orgeat, a homemade pollen vermouth, pine cone, coconut kefir. Drinkable poetry to say the least!
The Cherry on the cake
Luxury can come with extra rewards. At least, it does with the Diners Club Card!
Why do we love it? The membership costs a mere £50 a year and allows you to collect 1 reward point per £5 spent, which can then be turned into vouchers (Amazon, Virgin, Ticketmaster, Selfridges…). So you really can make the most of going round the sales this year. Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Liberty, Burberry, guilt free.
Then come the privileges. Take the hotels mentioned above, for example. Being a Diners Club member gives you an immediate elite status, coming with flexible check-in and checkout times, room upgrades… One Aldwych comes with free breakfast, a fruit basket in your room, a free meal at their Indigo restaurant. The Berkeley and the Langham with free breakfast and spa credit and so on. Talk about a return on investment!
To make your life simpler, Diners Club has developed an app. This comes with an ATM locator, a tipping and currency converter, an airport lounge guide. Even better – simply connect and it will feature on the map the privileges listed where you are. The best way to make the most of your card within seconds and add a little extra to your trip! And if travel for business a lot, there is an extra treat: easy access to 700 airport lounges around the world…