The Ned, London’s new £200m hotel, opened its doors earlier this year within the former grade 1-listed 11-storey Midland Bank headquarters, designed in 1924 by Sir Edwin ‘Ned’ Lutyens, located adjacent to the Bank of England. I’ve been walking past The Ned on my commute for the past few months and have wanted to pop in, but a recent opportunity to stay was something I leapt at the chance to experience having heard many marvellous things about the place.
In case you haven’t worked it out, we are rapidly approaching summer, y’know that hot yellow thing in the sky that makes us rush out to our BBQs, green open spaces and the alcohol aisles in the nearest supermarket. For us Londoners, this means, where beer gardens are at a bit of a premium, it’s time to head to the roof and get drinking!
Rooftop bars are very much on-trend right now no matter what the weather and fortunately London is blessed with many of them; who doesn’t love a gorgeous view over a tasty beverage or two? Now, I’ve been a top sport and have
drank my way around researched London’s top rooftop hotspots to share my favourites with you, you good people. It was tough, but somebody had to do it.
I’ve been on a bit of a roll with hotel reviews of late; my latest London stay, snazzy-boutique CitizenM Tower Bridge is perhaps the most exciting out of all of them. With it’s supposed free-flowing interiors, cool and contemporary style, lively art, efficiency, kitsch style and ultra-practicality, it sounded like it was right up my street – y’know, as the modern suburban man that I am…
Only a couple of posts back we reviewed The Grand Hotel in Brighton, a highly acclaimed property of times gone by with a luxurious and romantic reputation spanning decades – over a century, in fact; sadly, what we found didn’t quite hit the mark.
It was with much anticipation therefore that I booked a night at The Grosvenor Hotel in central London, another much romanticised Victorian-era property, oozing French Renaissance flair. Would The Grosvenor live up to it’s reputation, or would it fall disappointingly short?
The Grand is a highly luxurious property that I was hugely excited about staying in, up against personal 5* experiences at the Fairmont Dubai, Kempinski Budapest, Ritz-Carlton in Singapore, not to mention most-excellent stays at The Beach at Bude boutique hotel and the Excellence Playa Mujeres resort in Mexico. However, The Grand is perhaps the most iconic and well known amongst it’s more modern aforementioned contemporaries, romanticised as a hallmark for service and Victorian-era suave sophistication and charm.
I was keen to see whether The Grand would live up to it’s reputation, looking to enjoy the sights and sounds of Brighton from a plush and comfortable stay along the seafront.
Regular visitors to Two Men About Town will be familiar with my penchant for opulence and luxury, where my wallet allows; whether it’s the demanding inner-diva in me (probably) or just a desire to be spoilt, I love beautifully designed items, attentive service and experiencing something that’s just a little bit special. Call me Mariah.
This desire for luxury is no different when it comes to travel, where I’ve been fortunate through leisure and corporate pursuits to have stayed in some beautiful hotels around the world such as the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore, The Grand in Brighton, Kempinski in Budapest and Excellence Playa Mujeres in Mexico, all hallmarks of memorable service and pure luxury.
It’s against a tough backdrop of comparison then that the Fairmont Dubai finds itself, up against some of the finest properties in the world; but how does it stack up?
I’m a big fan of the city break. Whilst I’m partial to a bit of sun, glorious white sandy beaches and cocktails in a tropical paradise, European cities make for a lovely (and affordable!) short stay. I’m not sure whether it’s experiencing the differences in culture, language, entertainment or food separated by just a couple of hundred miles across the continent, but I’ve had fabulous stays in cities such as Budapest, Berlin and Barcelona. All of them have been pleasantly memorable and beautifully eccentric in their own ways after peeling back the touristy-veneer.
I am not ashamed to admit that I am a bit of a travel snob, with a huge taste for the finer things in life; so much so that my idea of ‘roughing it’ during a round-the-world trip was a Hilton on Waikiki Beach(!). For real. Whether I’m travelling abroad to destinations such as Dubai, Mexico or a little closer to home, I’m all about the luxury.. well, as much as my wallet will realistically allow.
So you can therefore imagine my desire to find a comfortable and luxurious boutique hotel in North Cornwall for a recent short visit to Bude – did I find this in The Beach at Bude?
Skiiing is fun, don’t get me wrong. But Canada is big. Really, really, really big and it’s got so much more going on in every season that doesn’t involve strapping yourself onto two giant lolly sticks and pushing yourself off the side of a mountain. So if you’re a little overwhelmed with the place, need a few suggestions about what to do and where to go that isn’t skiing and that won’t disappoint, take a look at a few of these tips from Mrs P and I. They certainly aren’t exhaustive but you can be damn sure you won’t regret doing them.
Have you ever been somewhere that looked like a postcard from a faraway tropical paradise? I hadn’t. That is, I hadn’t until I arrived at Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico.
In dire need of a break owing to a big promotion at work and having tackled a whole host of stressful life changing events, I booked my fortnight trip to Excellence Paya Mujeres via Thomson – I figured a few weeks away in the sunshine was just what I needed. Having previously treated myself to a week in Dubai, I opted for Mexico and Excellence Playa Mujeres based on the endless photos of golden sandy beaches, all-inclusive luxury and the promise of lots of sunshine. Oh, and the cocktails. Definitely lots and lots of cocktails.
I’ll put it out there, I love Dubai.
I visited for eight nights and was utterly blown away, concluding fairly quickly that there really isn’t anywhere like it that I’ve been to before.
Whether you consider yourself a bit of a thrill-seeker, enjoy getting off the beaten-track to soak up a bit of heritage, or yearn to be pampered to high heaven amongst absolutely stunning surroundings, I’d say Dubai truly has something for everybody.