London: Top Attractions
|Live like a royal (Digital Stock)|
St. Martin's Lane
This cutting-edge, chic joint was hip designer Ian Schrager's first creation outside the U.S. Fresh and fun, it's ultra-modern and swanky to the max. To whit, even though rooms are all white, special lighting allows you to choose your hue. Floor-to-ceiling windows in every room offer panoramic London views. The bathrooms are huge, the pillows soft, the cool factor sky high. You can just imagine Madonna, along with loads of other famous folk, sleeping here.
Actress Anouska Hempel's fantasy creation that is Blakes is such a surreal, one-of-a-kind experience, you might think you dreamed it. An Arabian Nights atmosphere dominates, and each elaborately outfitted room is a work of art. Sleep in a funeral barge from ancient Egypt or a Venetian boudoir straight out of the 16th century. From the imported Indian British Raj-era furniture in the lobby to rooms with cloth-covered walls and marble baths, this hotel is remarkable.
Blakes London: +44.207.370.6701, www.blakeshotel.com
One of London's top hotels, The Dorchester has a façade of reinforced concrete and terrazzo slabs that is just plain inspired. Inside you'll find 1930s décor, including a gilded-cage promenade and giant floral arrangements. Rooms are stylish and modern with Irish-linen sheets, large marble bathrooms, cherry-wood furnishings, and four-poster beds. Some rooms peer down on Hyde Park.
Royal Opera House
Home of the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet, this magnificent, renovated theater boasts spectacularly grand public areas fit for, well, royalty. Dine at the rooftop restaurant before a show, or check out the shops and bars inside the complex. The Royal Ballet is one of the world's top companies, featuring principal and guest luminaries like Jonathan Cope and Sylvie Guillem.
Royal Opera House: +44.207.304.4000, www.royalopera.org
Presenting the crème de la crème in live theater, the National is simply one of world's finest stage companies. With at least six different performances offered at any one time, patrons might enjoy anything from award-winning new plays and musicals to classical dramas and comedies. The complex features a fantastic array of bars, restaurants, exhibitions, and shops. Performances take place on three distinct stages.
National Theatre: +44.207.452.3000, www.nt-online.org
Royal Shakespeare Company
The world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company performs its London turn of the Bard's greatest works at the Barbican Theatre. Although the focus is on Shakespeare's plays, the company also presents original creations on two stages. The 2,000-seat main auditorium offers unparalleled sight lines and a distinctive modern style. The small studio, known as the Pit, showcases the company's new work.
Royal Shakespeare Company: +44.1789.403.444, www.rsc.org.uk
Stella's designer creations garner rave reviews on catwalks from Milan to New York, and at her funky London salon, clients can peruse about 50 concept illustrations for men's and women's pants, suits, skirts, and coats (among other wares). Each piece is custom designed, and every stage of the process personally approved by rock-and-roll legend Paul McCartney's daughter. The salon itself is inviting, with a modern, rock-out, slightly edgy vibe.
Stella McCartney: +44.207.518.3100, www.stellamccartney.com
Jimmy Choo Couture
Row upon row of dazzling shoes are on display at Choo's dainty boutique near Marble Arch. From colorful stilettos to classy boots, these couture art works come in all shapes, styles, and sizes. Famous for blending comfort and style, somehow Choo makes a four-inch-spiked heel walkable and the widest foot look slim. Although Choo sold his ready-to-wear line in 2001, he devotes his time these days to designing these boutique creations.
Jimmy Choo Couture: +44.207.262.6888, www.jimmychoo.com
Haji & White
Vintage designs,1970s West German ceramics, emerging artists' abstract paintings, and handheld old-school video games are all for sale at this colorfully chaotic, one-of-a-kind boutique. The brainchild of art-school alums Rumina Haji and Simon White, the place feels more like a gallery than a shop. This eclectic boutique is a fabulous standout in a city known for world-class shopping.
Haji & White: +44.207.377.9319, www.hajiandwhite.com
Fitness Gallery at the Savoy
London's premier spa and fitness center boasts one of the two rooftop swimming pools in the city. Manicures and pedicures, self-tanning and bronzing treatments, and facials are all on the menu, as are aromatherapy, deep-tissue, and Swedish massages. If you've just gotten off a transatlantic flight, stop by for the Jet-Lag Recovery massage, which is ideal for travel remnants of stinging eyes, sleep deprivation, and headaches.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication