Your Ultimate Guide to London
Planning a trip to London? You NEED this guide. We teamed up with Rachel Zoe to bring you the best places to eat, drink and sleep, plus what to see and do in the Big Smoke now.
The Beaumont Hotel
A couple of blocks from Bond Street, this sultry sleep pairs old world glamour and cutting-edge art. The 1920s facade features an Antony Gormley-designed robot sculpture that doubles as a one-bedroom suite (checking into an inhabitable work of art earns serious travel bragging rights). Inside it's a high society hideaway with glam Art Deco interiors, a lauded restaurant that serves American classics, and a Turkish bath in the basement.
The London EDITION
Any project involving names like hotelier Ian Schrager and chef Jason Atherton is bound to make a scene—and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the EDITION, in a landmark Georgian building just off Oxford Street. The design is expectedly edgy: a giant stainless steel egg hovers over the theatrical, column-flanked lobby, fitted with Dalí-inspired lamps, green velvet sofas, and Art Deco flair. At Atherton’s much-lauded Berners Tavern, arguably the hotel’s beating heart, London’s style set dig in to contemporary British fare before heading to the reservations-only Punch Room for live music or the see-and-be-seen basement club. Those looking to stay awhile retreat upstairs, where 170 slick rooms—faux fur throws; walnut paneling; white muslin drapes—are quiet, lavish escapes from the din below.
Living out one’s Notting Hill fairytale might be best spent at this home-away-from-home, a 51-room charmer occupying five connected Victorian townhouses within walking distance of Portobello Road. Inside, paperbacks on bedside table, clustered artwork on the gray walls, and a full library (stocking tomes on art and design) give it that lived-in feel, while roaming cocktail cart and public space that transforms from a coffee shop to a bar to a gallery and back again keeps things fresh.
RELATED: Hidden London
For summer in London, pack your wood soled sandals to explore the markets and vintages fairs during the sunnier days. In the later hours, get ready for an evening on the town and style your look with a sexy pump and serious cat-eye.
Rachel Zoe Christianne Paisley Romper
This paisley-printed silk number can transition from day to night with just the switch of some shoes and the addition of a top knot.
Rachel Zoe Kate Ring
Pavé accented gold rings are the way to go. Throw them on to effortlessly (and glamorously) compliment any wardrobe choice.
Rachel Zoe Kate Drop Earring
These eye-catching beauties combine gold and crystal detailing. If you ask us – earrings this chic call for a dramatic smoky eye and a fun night out.
Rachel Zoe Viv Sandal
This classic heel is lent a subtle sexiness thanks to its head turning gold leather silhouette. Super versatile and sleek, pair them down with a simple white T and jeans, or just as easily up with a cocktail dress.
Fashion and Textile Museum
In a bright orange converted warehouse on Bermondsey High Street, the Fashion and Textile Museum is a lesser-known alternative to the V&A. Founded by flamboyant designer Zandra Rhodes, this textile treasure trove hosts a series of temporary exhibitions and workshops throughout the year and stocks a curated selection of fashionable gifts in its colorful shop.
Institute of Contemporary Arts
It may have a super central location between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace but this cultural arts center is often overlooked. The ICA champions radical art and hosts regular exhibitions, lectures, gigs, films and late-night events. Day entrance is a steal at just £1 and includes access to all exhibitions.
RELATED: 13 New Museums to See Now
This Mayfair hotspot brings together big guns from the worlds of art and fashion under one giant sparkly gold roof (the hand-printed ceiling is by Vanity Fair's Style Editor, Michael Roberts). The glitzy revamp of this former bank on Berkley Square reputedly cost £15 million and the interiors feature artworks by Damien Hirst and Frank Gehry. Asian fish dishes including seafood of the sexy variety (oysters, caviar, lobster) are served until 2 a.m. and a resident DJ spins all week long.
Rumpus Room at Mondrian London
For kick-ass views and killer cocktails, head to the Rumpus Room, a sumptuous bar on the 12th floor of the Mondrian London. Conceived by British design guru Tom Dixon, it's a glam take on a cruise ship ballroom with red velvet seats, marble tables, dandelion chandeliers and a brushed gold bar. Shoot the breeze on the balcony overlooking the river Thames with a potent Long Island Old Fashioned.
This Mexican-themed celebration of all things kitsch stays true to its Spanish name (translation: nonsense). Take a seat in a hammock and watch the silliness unfold on the dance floor: expect latex-clad fire-eaters, live lucha libre wresting and tequila shots delivered by a toy train. It's owned by Prince Harry's best mate and the prince reputedly has his own private entrance.
RELATED: London's Best 'Hood for Foodies
Bob Bob Ricard
The good times definitely roll at this ostentatious but outrageously fun restaurant in Soho. Anywhere that features booths fitted with 'press for champagne' buzzers gets our vote. The menu is an eclectic mash up of British and Russian comfort food: Start with borscht, move onto Beef Wellington and leave room for vodka-spiked sorbets. The Great Gatsby-meets-Grand Brasserie interiors evoke the roaring '20s with velvet curtains, lamp lights and plenty of gold trim.
Caravan King's Cross
In a former grain warehouse in King's Cross, Caravan is an industrial-chic restaurant with a brunch menu designed to combat avocado apathy. Choose from dishes like jalapeño corn bread, sweet potato waffles topped with mango, and barbecue beans on toast with mojo verde. Order a coffee from the on-site roastery and take a seat at the sociable sharing table. One of the world's best fashion colleges, Central Saint Martins, is just next door so you might spy a sartorial star or two.
East London Liquor Company
The bearded and the beautiful flock to this former glue factory turned bar at the edge of Victoria Park to sip spirits made in the on-site distillery. Gin is the star of the show but vodka and whisky are distilled here too, and Demerara rum from Guyana also makes an appearance. Swing by for artisan cocktails or to swat up on your botanicals with a tour and tasting.
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