Hotels

International-and-London-Hotel-Restaurants

I’ve been to Belgraves Hotel a few times for drinks but never to eat. Having met the gorgeous chef Sophie Michell a couple of times, I’ve always been meaning to. Her bubbly personality and warmth are infectious and as soon as I was invited to review her restaurant, Pont St, I leapt at the chance. Pont Street

The evening started with The Belgraves Breeze, a signature vodka cocktail with blackberries and cinnamon liquor for me and …

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

… a vodka martini for him.

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

Together the OH and I enjoyed the crudités …

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel… crispy squid …

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

… and seabass ceviche. Fresh ingredients in abundance, perfectly seasoned, we felt we chose well with the starters.

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

The OH and I both ordered a glass of Sancerre.

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

I sipped mine with my slow roasted pork belly, poached quince and savoy cabbage, which I had with …

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel… truffle & parmesan hand-cut chips.

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

The OH had the coconut fish curry with hake, squid, mussels and prawns that came with some rice and coconut & chilli sambel.

Pont Street Belgraves Hotel

We were at Pont St on a Sunday evening. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I think the diners around us were staying at the hotel. But Pont St doesn’t look like it’s just for hotel guests, not least because I know locals pop into the bar upstairs too. If you’re looking for somewhere good to eat that is away from the sometimes chaos of Knightsbridge or if you’re simply looking for somewhere off Sloane Street to try then Pont St is a good spot – especially if you love fish.

Disclaimer: The evening was complimentary for the purpose of the review and hand on heart, this hasn’t swayed my opinion. I have seen a not so tasteful review online which was written a year and a half ago and all I can say is that since Pont St was first reviewed the restaurant has most probably upped its game. After all, another review from the same publication gives Pont St 7/10.

Pont St, 20 Chesham Place, London, SW1X 8HQ

Chelsea Girl

Last week I paid a visit to One Aldwych, a five star luxury hotel located minutes away from Covent Garden …

OSKIA facial at One Aldwych

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

OSKIA facial at One Aldwych

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

The reason for my visit was to enjoy a dip in this very lovely pool with its underwater sounds and uber-relaxing visuals and …

… it was to try the 75-minute signature glow facial from OSKIA, which I absolutely loved for many reasons.

Firstly, the nutritional value of the OSKIA products really impressed me. Whilst I’m not a beauty expert I do know what my skin likes and the more natural the product, the happier my face is.

The basis for OSKIA’s skincare are natural ingredients with the healing value of sulphur being an influencing factor in the starting up of this brand. And when my skin was being cleansed, steamed, treated and massaged, the entire experience felt soothing and very relaxing – so much so I felt like a brand new person stepping out of the hotel.

OSKIA facial at One Aldwych

Image courtesy of One Aldwych

Sometimes when you have a facial you feel the tingly sensation of the ingredients working on your skin. In the case of the OSKIA facial, you feel like your skin is being nourished and brought back to life. I actually mentioned during the facial that I felt my face was getting more nutrition than the rest of my body has been for a long while. It was 75-minutes of absolute bliss and not because it was me being horizontal for over an hour without my two-year old jumping on me.

After the facial, I stepped back into this gorgeous lift and headed upstairs to the bar. But of course. 😉

One Aldwych Bar

In fact, there were plenty of gorgeous details in this hotel and whilst I haven’t seen the bedrooms – I’m a sucker for beautiful flowers.

One Aldwych Bar

In the bar …

One Aldwych Bar

… where I took time out to check my phone as I waited to meet up with blogger pal Mayfair Office Girl, somewhere else in Covent Garden …

One Aldwych Bar

… I thoroughly enjoyed the vodka-based cocktail called Rose de Mei, which was inspired by the OSKIA facial I’d just had. Throughout the facial the aroma of rose lingered, which I loved. So to savour one of my favourite scents in a cocktail glass moments later was heavenly. A couple of the other ingredients included Coco Kanu coconut rum and lemon. With layers of different flavours, this was a great cocktail.
One Aldwych Bar

One Aldwych’s Sip & Spa ticks all the boxes for me. It was a wonderfully indulgent time out and I left the hotel feeling a million dollars. My skin was very very happy too.

Disclaimer: My experience at One Aldwych was complimentary for the purpose of the review. But if you know my blog, you’ll also know that I like to think I know what a good cocktail is. As for the facial, my face was truly glowing and that is why I recommend it. 

Chelsea Girl

Yesterday’s non-stop rain reminded me of the last time we saw such a persistent downpour. I’d spent the afternoon at No.11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel which some of you may know I love. I also reviewed the hotel’s restaurant last year and as a result I was so pleased to be spending a rainy afternoon in such a gorgeous setting a few weeks ago. This place is really one of my favourite gems in Chelsea.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelFiona from London Unattached kindly invited me along to review No.11’s afternoon tea which had been originally set up in the room above but for the sake of getting a good photo, we moved into the conservatory area instead. Still, as usual with this place, I couldn’t resist snapping away because the details of each room are a great reason to enjoy the hotel.

Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelCouldn’t you spend an afternoon lounging on this sofa?

Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

As for the afternoon tea, No.11 offers a reasonably priced menu that can include a glass of Champagne if you’d like to add some sparkles to your day.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

And for me the highlight of the afternoon tea has to be No.11’s crème brûlée which I really enjoyed.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

These moist and delicious cakes were also quite something. As Fiona mentioned in her review, it was certainly a refreshing change to be given slices of real cakes which added to the sense of indulgence, along with sipping Champagne as the rain beat down on the glass roof of the hotel’s conservatory. A great way to spend an afternoon.Afternoon Tea at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

No.11’s afternoon tea allows you to enjoy a sumptuous nook in the hotel or to expand the experience to include a group of friends in another room or corner. For me, the surroundings were as delicious as the crème brûlée that I still remember.

No.11 Cadogan Gardens, London SW3 2RJ. Disclaimer: Fiona and I were guests of the hotel. 
Chelsea Girl

This week started the best way it could – with afternoon tea at Corinthia Hotel London. Fiona from London Unattached had invited me to try their new Childhood Memories afternoon tea menu which is the creation of the hotel’s new head pastry chef Sarah Barber and which is designed to turn back the clocks to remind us of our favourite childhood treats.
Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

And I can’t think of a more luxurious setting for such a wonderful idea.
Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

When Fiona arrived we were served a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé each. You also have the choice of Laurent-Perrier Brut or no Champagne with your afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

But for me, I was thinking pink with all the fun cakes on their way. Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

The Childhood Memories afternoon tea started with a selection of sandwiches that included: Loch Var smoked salmon, cream cheese and chive coronation chicken; egg mayonnaise and watercress; Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and piccalilli roast beef and creamed horseradish; as well as Severn and Wye Smoked Trout and Cucumber. All of the finger sandwiches were very good; the fillings tasty.

Afternoon Tea, Corinthia Hotel London

As for the scones, faultless. And whilst I normally enjoy clotted cream and jam on my scones, I don’t think I have ever tried afternoon tea where I decided to abandon any guilt of indulgence as much as I did on Monday because the clotted cream was divine. Normally one spoonful is enough but in this case I felt the need to keep my scone topped up.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

After the scones, we moved onto the cakes which included a Snickers slice with peanut mousse, tanariva and aerated salted caramel; a Crunchy Toffee Cream; and a Strawberries & Cream tart with wild strawberry mousseline and lemon curd.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

On the other plate there was the BFG cake which was a chocolate cherry gateaux with kirsch chantilly and kirsch cherries; a Jaffa Cake; a Rose Choquette with raspberry lychee cremeux, rose choux bun, and crystallised roses; as well as a Bubblegum Macaron covered in hundreds and thousands.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel LondonAll of the English Tea Fancies were divine, so much so it would have been a sin to not try every single one of them. The Snickers (formerly known as a Marathon bar) was sublime; light in texture and wholly reminiscent of what it is supposed to taste like. The Bubblegum Macaroon truly tastes like bubblegum sparking nostalgia in a most enjoyable way. And as for the BFG? Anything with a slice of Roald Dahl gets my vote and especially if it tastes as delicious as this.

As for my pot of tea, I enjoyed the Dragon Phoenix Pearl Falls which is a jasmine tea blended with jasmine flower. Wonderful!

Overall the Childhood Memories afternoon tea is very similar to the hotel it is served in. There is a real pleasure in looking at it; time stands still to allow you to savour every detail; and by the time you walk away, you know you’ve just experienced one of the best. And I have no reservations in recommending this fantastic menu.

Childhood Memories Afternoon Tea is served in The Lobby Lounge at the hotel until 31st August and is priced from £50. For further information please visit Corinthia Hotel London’s website.

Disclaimer: Fiona and I were guests of Corinthia Hotel London and I would like to thank them for an exceptional afternoon tea as well as a fantastic start to the week.

How many days until Christmas? Someone is counting somewhere. I’ve seen evidence on Twitter. It’s exciting and it’ll be amazing how, before we know it, we’ll be running around on Christmas Eve buying last-minute presents.

Surely that’s not just me? I’m quite the last minute shopper and when it comes down to Christmas and except for perhaps a holiday, anything to organise I tend to go with the flow. But the other week, I went along to a *drumroll* Christmas afternoon tea with a few bloggers. I say a few but there were quite a lot of us. So much so, I didn’t get to say hi to everyone. Both Selena from Oh, the places we will go! (I have to ask Selena next time I see her if her blog is reference to Dr. Seuss’s awe-inspiring read.) and Melanie from Sunny in London, did such a great job organising a fantastic afternoon tea that has raised the bar for me.

The location was Conrad London St. James, which you might have known as the formerly named Intercontinental London Westminster.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

The setting was Christmas afternoon tea with bubbles.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

Our price included a glass but a few of us couldn’t resist a couple more. It was very easy to get in the mood, especially given our airy and light surroundings as a harpist entertained us. (We had a room all to ourselves, it was really quite fantastic.)

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

The pastries and sandwiches all had a festive twist. And whilst I was particularly impressed with the venison bite in puff pastry, the brussel sprout palate cleanser truly surprised me because it was very pleasant and easy to enjoy.

Along with the sandwiches, which included smoked salmon & lemon crème fraîche, cured gammon & mustard as well as beetroot & spinach, I also really enjoyed the scones which arrived with clotted cream, home-made strawberry jam and blackberry curd.

And as we ate, drank and talked away, I thought the afternoon’s delights were what I saw before me. What I didn’t know – or any of us knew – was that the Christmas Snow Scene afternoon tea also included more treats. Many more treats.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

These …

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James Hotel

A closer look below. Don’t they look scrumptious? They included, a winter berry Christmas tree, a chocolate orange Battenberg present, a snowflake macaroon, a white forest yule log, Christmas postcard marshmallows, mini meringue snowmen and edible snow. Amazing.

My favourite was definitely the winter berry Christmas tree which turned out to be a mousse when you cut into it. So light and tasty, I’d left the tree until the end and ended up wishing that I had started with it.

Christmas Afternoon Tea and Conrad London St. James HotelAs far as afternoon teas go, this one exercised both imagination and great craft. And when it comes to Christmas treats, I think this would be difficult to beat. An all-round wonderful experience with great company. Win, win.

Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway, London,SW1H 0BH. 

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